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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Best Brined Turkey

We Americans were inundated with Thanksgiving advice on brineing a Turkey. Wet? Dry? And a million different ways to brine the bird.  I've been brining Turkey's, Pork Loins, fresh Ham's, Shrimp for a few years. And I just found out a Prime Rib Roast! I have to admit, last years Turkey was not so hot, so I did allot of research this year, and found my mistake.  I didn't do two things: 1. I didn't wash the brine off the bird when I pulled it out. 2. I didn't let the bird dry. In addition, there evidently is a controversy regarding how long should the bird brine.  I found everything from three days to no more than 10-12 hours...even less.  I went with the argument that any more than 10-12 hours the fibers in the meat break down. (There's some science behind it.) But I did find some science in the drying of a brined bird. Dry a brined bird in the fridge for 8-10 hours....uncovered. (Removing any food that could be contaminated.) Science says that a process called pellicle occurs.  The bottom line result of that is a crisper skin. OK....I'm game, lets go!  This Turkey came out perfect! Moist, with a crispy skin. And the flavor was wonderful.  The picture of it was when I moved the turkey from the oven to my giant gas grill to make room for all the other dishes being made.

Brined Roasted Turkey


7 quarts of water
1 quart of apple cider
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1 head of garlic, cut in half diagonally
1/2 bunch of fresh cut rosemary
1/2 bunch of fresh sage
6 bay leaves
1 14-20 pound turkey

Herb Crust

1 bunch of finely chopped rosemary
1 bunch of finely chopped sage
3 sticks of butter

To Brine the Turkey:

Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey, (all the innards removed) and let it brine in the fridge. I put mine in two white plastic bags with brine, and then in a large pot.  I turned my turkey after 5 hours. Brine for a total of 12 hours.

Prepare the Turkey

Pre-Heat oven to 450.  Remove the turkey from the brine the night before cooking and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the Herb Crust mixture in a small bowl, and season with S&P to taste.  Work the mixture under the skin of the bird and all over the top too.  Tie up the legs and wings to keep it moist during cooking.

Cooking the Turkey

Put two cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Roast the turkey in the preheated oven till its the skin gets really brown.  About 40 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 degrees for the remainder  of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so with the drippings and add more stock if needed.  Cook about 17 minutes per pound.  Tent the top breast of the turkey when it gets to the color you want, and keep it from burning.  Make your favorite gravy from the pan drippings.  Mine is Giblet Gravy!

Stuffing/Dressing:  Your on your own on this one.  I like a sausage type dressing or oyster dressing!



  1. Hello Jimmy,
    I will have to try this out! Brined pork and beef before so I know it's going to be good! Thanks.

    1. Well hello Mr. Ivan! Yes indeed try brining. It's getting to be a big deal here in the states. In fact, I have another blog friend that brined a Prime Rib. The science makes sense. And you can custom make a brine to complement and enhance the protein. As you can see in my blog I brined shrimp! Give it a try! Your meat pie has been savoring in my mind all day!

  2. Hello. I just found your blog at Ivan's (above). I love to cook and have learned a lot of basics from my mother when I was a child.
    To be honest I have not heard of a brined turkey and this process does make a lot of sense to guarantee a tender succulent turkey.

    Good to meet you Jimmy.


    1. Nice to meet you too Mr. Jim. I really enjoy your peaceful...I yearn for the Ocean. I'm from the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia. I love the oysters from your part of Canada and get them every chance I get! Brining is so simple....look it up and give it a try!