My Sweet & Savory Turkey Brine Recipe
I've made my holiday turkey many different ways, often with a different recipe each year, just for some variety, as well as my attempt at achieving the perfect roasted turkey. This year I made a brine for the first time, and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with the pro-briners out there. I have previously been on the anti-brining side of the tracks, but after tasting the flavors infused in every part of the turkey meat, I take back every negative thing I've ever said about brining. This sweet and savory orange-spice brine added so much flavor throughout the turkey. I didn't expect the cinnamon and citrus to shine through, but it did, and the result was so delicious.
The most important ingredients in the brine are the sugar and salt with the water solution to help the turkey retain more moisture. For the flavor, you can add any number of things like orange juice, apple juice, molasses, maple syrup, sliced fruit, herbs and spices. Though I'm quite partial to my recipe below.
*enough to soak a 15-20 lb turkey
- gallon of water to boil
- gallon of ice water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 sliced orange
- 1 bunch fresh sage
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp crushed black peppercorn
- 1/2 c salt
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
I used a a deep roasting pan to soak the turkey in the brine, though you could also use a bucket or brining bag. I started by filling the pan up with the gallon of ice water.
Then I brought all of the other ingredients to a boil. I let mine simmer for a good 15 minutes to really bring out the flavors in the orange slices, herbs, and cinnamon sticks.
Let cool then add to the ice water and place the turkey in the brine. I let it soak in the brine on one side for the day, then flipped it over before bedtime and let it continue to soak overnight. It's great if you can let it soak for 24 hours.
Rinse and pat dry before roasting according to your usual recipe. *My full recipe is going in my cookbook. Sorry, but it turned out so good, I want to keep it under wraps for the book. It's Top Secret stuff!
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