As we prepare to process the last of (and bulk of) our turkeys this year, it reminds me to also finalize our Thanksgiving menu. We have a pretty traditional menu that doesn’t change much from year to year, but somehow I often forget to brine the turkey. I’m not quite sure how or why – possibly because we have processed the birds much earlier in years past and they were frozen. I had a hard time remembering to defrost the turkey the weekend prior… it just seems so early to start preparing for Thanksgiving on Thursday.
This year, we are going for fresh though – processing turkeys on Tuesday, which gives us just enough time to chill Tuesday night and brine Wednesday morning.
Here is our recipe for the Best Turkey Brine:
Course: Main Course
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 gallons cold water add enough to cover turkey
- 2 cups brown sugar make your own using organic evaporated cane juice and molasses!
- 1 1⁄2 cups salt we use Real salt by Redmond
- 8 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 inches ginger sliced
- 4 peals of oranges just add the peals, not the orange itself
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 6 whole bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons pepper corns
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole allspice
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- Pour water and cider into large stock pot and bring to a boil.
- Take off heat and add salt and brown sugar – stir till dissolved.
- Add remaining ingredients and allow to cool.
- If you do not have the time to let the brine sit and cool, substitute one gallon of water with up to 10 cups of ice – heat the liquid with a little less water, add ingredients, then add ice to cool.
- Once brine is cool, place turkey in large pot, bucket, or brining bag and pour liquid over top of turkey. If liquid does not cover turkey fully, add cold water and agitate slightly to mix with the brine.
- Leave turkey in brine for 12-24+ hours (closer to 24 is ideal). Refrigerate if possible, leave outside if cold enough, or consider a large cooler if necessary.
- When ready to roast, grill, smoke, or deep fry turkey – remove from brine and rinse prior to preparing.
I hope to be back between now and Thanksgiving with some more of our favorite recipes…
For now – I figured I’d add in this quick reference for turkey roasting times since this is one of the things I have to look up every time I make a turkey.
Turkey Cooking Times
As a general rule, you can plan on cooking the bird for about 15 minutes per pound in a 350°F oven.
Weight Cooking Time
10-14lbs ———— 2.5-3.5 hours
14-18lbs ———— 3.5-4.5 hours
18-22lbs ———– 4.5-5.5 hours
22-26lbs ———– 5.5-6.5 hours
26-30+lbs ——— 6.5-7.5 hours
The goal is for the internal temperature of the bird to reach 165°F.
You will also need to take into consideration how the turkey is stuffed. The more stuffing in the turkey, the longer it will take to fully cook.
Let us know if you try the brine and how you like it.