Brining A Turkey

Brining a Turkey 101

Years ago I discovered the process of brining a turkey and I was immediately hooked! A brined turkey makes a luscious, juicy bird when cooked and once you go down that path you just don’t want to go back! Strangely I’ve never tried this with a chicken, though it’s supposed to work just as well.

Anyway, up until this year I’ve always used a big bucket. The only problem with this method is that you’re basically taking up half your fridge with a big bucket for 12 to 24 hours and that can be a long time to tie up the fridge when you’re trying to prepare for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago I came across the notion of a brining bag from the Pioneer Woman Cooks and decided to try that method instead.

I thought briefly for a moment today I might have to go back to the bucket method. I ordered brining bags from Williams Sonoma several weeks ago, but they were back ordered. I received an email earlier this week saying they had shipped and would be here in time for Thanksgiving, BUT the UPS man came and went this morning with no bags and it turns out though WS claims they were shipped via 2-day shipping to arrive in time, UPS claims that they haven’t received them yet! So what’s a girl to do?

I finally found some very large sealable bags at the store and I am using one of them instead. So whether you use a bucket or a bag, I highly recommend brining a turkey! You can’t go wrong with this method, and you’ll have a delicious turkey that you’ll love!

What You’ll Need:
1 bucket or very large brining bag
1 turkey (Our turkey this year is 22 pounds)
2 cups of sea salt
Water
Sage
Bay leaves
Black peppercorns
Rosemary
Citrus (Note: Lemons, limes, oranges and/or grapefruit, etc. all work fine.)

In the bucket or large brining bag dissolve 2 cups of salt in some water. Add turkey. Add fresh herbs, citrus of your choice and peppercorns.

If you are using a bucket cover the turkey with water. If you’re using a bag, cover fill the bag to where the turkey is half covered. In a bucket the turkey is submerged, so you don’t have to do anything. In the bag, you’ll need to flip your turkey ever 2-3 hours.

Place in the fridge. Let brine 12-24 hours. Remove from brining solution and discard. Cook turkey as you normally would.

Brining a Turkey 101

Cook turkey as you normally would.

Notes: My version of brining involves cold brining in that I never heat the brining solution. I’ve seen it done both ways, but I prefer cold brining. Any herb or seasoning you want to toss into the mix will work. Sea salt works better for this solution over table salt. If you’re using table salt cut back to 1/2-3/4 a cup as it’s a different consistency than sea salt.

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