The turkey battle at my house around Thanksgiving is serious. It is an event that starts 48 hours leading up to The Day. No matter who ends up cooking the turkey for that year, culinary smack talk is evident at the dinner table. This yearly tradition started about 10 years ago during our Thanksgiving prep session. My sister and I stumbled across a recipe for a turkey brine, decided to be adventurous, and since then have been absolutely hooked. Brining back then was not nearly as popular as it is now. Markets and specialty stores stock up with dozens and dozens of their perfected brines, and some carry a pretty hefty price tag. Ladies, you can make delicious brine from scratch. It takes no time, and the mess factor is minimal. Promise.
The happiness that my tummy felt after that 1st year of experimenting has continued to feel joy for the juicy, tender, moist, and flavorful turkey breast that graces my dinner plate this time of year.
Turkey breast lovers, if you have ever run into the problem with a dry breast, this is a great remedy. And, the turkey stock that it produces is extremely flavorful and results in awesome gravy. The only things that are necessary for your perfect brine are the following components. As long as these are incorporated, you can spice your bird to your heart’s content. Below is my family’s go-to recipe:
WATER: 1 gallon, iced
SALT: 1 cup, Kosher Salt
SUGAR: 1/2 cup
ACID: Apple cider vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, & white wine.
HERBS: Rosemary, sage, apple, onion, peppercorns, & cinnamon.
- Bring water, salt, sugar, and herbs to a boil until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Line a container that you will be placing the turkey in with a LARGE brining bag, add the turkey (breast side down), boiled solution, acid, water, and remaining solid ingredients.
- Make sure the turkey is fully covered, if not, use a weight. Tie up the bag and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the turkey once halfway.
- Remove turkey from brining solution an hour before you’re ready to roast. RINSE, then pat dry inside and out. This is a really important step. Otherwise, your turkey is going to taste like the Atlantic Ocean.
- Continue to season the outside and inside of the bird as you normally would.
- Enjoy the awesomeness.
**If time is of the essence, Urban Accents, World Market, Sur La Table, and Williams-Sonoma all make excellent retail variations**