Brine - The Big Salt Bath
Any brine time is better than no brine time– even just a few hours will reduce cooking time, impart moisture and result in more evenly-cooked bird.
The salt “cooks” the meat before it actually cooks.
The salt also allows more moisture into the meat.
Thanksgiving Turkey Brine
– 1 gal water (16 cups)
– 1 cup of kosher salt
– ¾ cup granulated sugar
– 10 springs of thyme
– 2 lemons, halved or quartered
– 4 bay leaves
– 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Stir to ensure salt and sugar dissolve completely. Once dissolved, remove from heat and let stand for 30 min. Remove lemons and discard. In small batches, blend the brine (either transfer to an upright blender or use an immersion stick) for half a minute, just until all ingredients are fully mixed. Place your turkey in a large tub or cleaned cooler and cover with cooled brine (make sure turkey stays completely submerged; if necessary, weigh the turkey down with a few clean dinner plates.) Place the brining turkey in your refrigerator, or in a large cooler in the coldest part of your garage or screened in porch if it’ll stay below 40 day and night. A turkey can go down to 26 degrees before it freezes. Allow to brine for 24-48 hours, but remember any brine time is better than no brine time. Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry, and allow to come up to room temperature before cooking (will take a few hours.)