In the past I’ve made a few different turkeys for Thanksgiving. I’ve bought a turkey already smoked, so all you do is heat it up. One year I bought the basic 14 pound turkey at the supermarket, I seasoned it and cooked it, but it took FOREVER to cook! It tasted good with the seasonings, but I felt something was still missing. I was never too big of a turkey fan, the side dishes were always where the yummy goodness was at! But for leftovers I loved turkey sandwiches with stuffing, and I always love making a turkey soup with the leftover turkey. But last year I brined my turkey, and oh wow! Definitely a huge difference! Brining helps the turkey to stay moist through the cooking process, it’s similar to marinating your steak before you grill it. The meat is tastier, and absolutely not dry! Now, last year after brining my turkey, I cooked it in an oven bag. While it was absolutely delicious and one of the best turkey’s I’ve ever had, the meat was so tender it was literally falling off the bone. So I’m considering not using the oven bag since brining keeps it pretty moist as it is. I’m still undecided which method I’ll be using, but I wanted to share the brining recipe for those last minute folks that may need it today. My day will be spent doing all my baking first, and the prep of the turkey in the brine as well as the prep work for most of the sides. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
- 1 gallon vegetable broth
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 tablespoon crushed, dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 gallon ice water
- In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- When the broth mixture is cool, pour into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
- Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you remove the innards. Place the turkey, breast side down into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.**
- Remove the turkey carefully and drain off excess brine. Pat dry. Discard remaining brine.
- Cook the turkey as desired, keeping in mind brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge!