Good Eats Turkey Brine

Sorry, I don’t have a beautiful picture of a roast turkey. I had my Mom and Grandma over for a Turkey dinner last night and didn’t really get the time to take pictures of the turkey breast after it came out of the oven.

The only proper way to cook a turkey is by brining it. We watched Alton Brown do it on his show one year, and we’ve never cooked a turkey a different way since. This recipe on Food Netowrk has over 3,000 reviews for it! That tells you it’s good, right there.

Brining reminds me of another method of marinating. You soak the turkey for a day in the fridge with water, salt, and whatever spices/herbs you chose to add in there. It makes the best juiciest turkey ever. It’s also a healthy way of cooking a turkey, instead of slathering a ton of butter all over the outside of the turkey. I’m not really sure how to calculate the points for this since it’s just marinade and some of the salt/juices ends up not coating the whole entire chicken, so Sorry about that. For a turkey breast you cook the turkey at 325/350 for 20 minutes. For every pound add on an extra 20 minutes.

Ingredients from Alton Brown

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Directions

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

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Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

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