One of our team members shares this recipe for brined turkey, a specialty of his that we’ve all had the opportunity to sample and heartily endorse. Brining apparently works its magic by inducing a chemical reaction that adds flavor to the meat while also tenderizing it. We can attest that the result is a savory, mouth-watering rendition of a perpetual favorite!
Medium-size turkey (13 – 17 lbs.)
For the brine:
Salt – The amount varies depending on type of salt used. Our team member recommends 1-1/2 cups of sea salt.
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 cans (14 oz.) vegetable stock
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper or peppercorns.
5 gallon stock pot, plastic container or other food grade storage container. Please note that the container must be large enough to hold the turkey and brine but small enough to fit into your refrigerator! It’s extremely important that the turkey be kept refrigerated at all times prior to roasting.
If you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, thaw prior to brining. This can take up to 4 days depending on the temperature in your refrigerator so plan accordingly. Allow 5 hours per pound as a general rule of thumb.
In large stock pot or dutch oven, combine vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, and black pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve solids. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and refrigerate until cold.
On the evening prior to your meal, place the thawed turkey, breast-side down, into the 5 gallon container. Add brine and enough cold water to cover the turkey. It may be necessary to ladle the brine mixture into the turkey cavity to keep it submerged. Place in refrigerator for 8 to 20 hours.
Prior to roasting, remove turkey from brine solution and thoroughly rinse twice, inside and out. Discard brine mixture.
If you plan to stuff the turkey, do that now per your normal recipe. Alternatively, you can add diced apples, a small sliced onion, a cinnamon stick, and rosemary and sage to the cavity.
Coat the skin of the turkey with unsalted butter or cooking oil then place in oven that has been pre-heated to 325 degrees. Roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until a thermometer placed in the thigh reaches 180 degrees.
When done, remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes prior to carving.
Serve and enjoy!