My Favorite Turkey Brine
To brine or not to brine.
That is the question a lot of you may ask. But, I’m telling you – brining is definitely the way to go if you want a moist & succulent bird! There are a lot of different recipes out there, but this is the one I use each & every time. It’s passed the test of time – and the taste buds agree that it’s a winner!
You can use either a turkey or a chicken here, this brine works great for both. The measurements in this recipe accommodate a 16-21 pound turkey – but it can be easily adjusted for a smaller turkey or a roasting chicken.
Here’s what you need:
Into a large pot, combine the apple cider, salt, bay leaves, brown sugar, rosemary leaves, minced garlic, orange peel, & black pepper.
Isn’t that beautiful?? And it smells even better than it looks!
Let’s take a closer look. It’s just so pretty! And fragrant! Seriously, you could get some aromatherapy with this stuff! 😉
Bring the brine to a boil on the stove top. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat & allow to cool. I usually pop mine in the fridge once it’s cool enough to handle to speed up the cooling process. But, I’m inpatient like that…
When the brine is cool or at least room temperature, lower in your turkey or chicken. Or, if your pot is not large enough to hold the turkey – place the turkey in a food safe 5 gallon bucket, a cooler, or a large brining bag, and pour the brine on top.
Refrigerate, & let the bird sit in the brine for 16-24 hours. Once the soaking process is over, drain off the brine & soak the turkey (or chicken) in water for 15 minutes.
Remove it from the water. Dry the bird inside & out with paper towels.
Your bird is ready to roast!
Coming up next – Roasting your turkey!
My Favorite Brine
- ½ gallon apple cider (apple juice will work too)
- 1 gallon plus ¾ of a gallon water
- 5 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 1.5 cups salt
- 2 heaping cups brown sugar
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons black pepper (freshly ground is great!)
- 5 bay leaves
- the peel from 3 large oranges (or 5 small oranges)
- Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir until the sugar & salt dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat & allow to cool.
- Once the brine has cooled completely or at least to room temperature, lower in your turkey (or chicken). Or, if your bird is too large to fit in your pot – pour the brine into a 5 gallon food safe bucket, a cooler, or a large brining bag. Refrigerate for 16-24 hours.
- Discard the brine, & soak the turkey in cold water for 15 minutes. Then, dry the turkey inside & out. Roast as normal.
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