You know what I want for Thanksgiving? A succulent, extra juicy, flavorful turkey. Oh, and when I bring the beautiful bird to the table, it would be really nice if all the people would gasp, ooh and aah and when they taste the turkey I’d like them to burst into spontaneous applause. You too? Then let’s do this Diva style. We’re going to brine our turkey!
Whenever I talk about brine I get the impression most people think it’s really complicated. Not true. It’s easy peasy, you just have to plan ahead. Brine is a simple salt and sugar solution in which you soak the turkey for an incredibly juicy and tender bird. Of course, you can add whatever herbs you want for even more flavor.
We have 6 days to the big day so there’s time to do this right. First, acquire a turkey. Make note of the turkey’s weight to calculate cook time. Allow enough time (about 5 hours per pound) for said turkey to defrost in the fridge.
You’ll need a container large enough to hold your turkey submerged in about a gallon and a half of brine and enough space in the fridge to hold this container.
If that’s not possible you can use a very clean insulated cooler and lots of ice. Some people use their crisper drawer in the fridge, emptied and thoroughly cleaned. If you use a cooler or drawer; place the turkey and brine in a bag like a roasting bag or a large plastic bag. You’ll need about 8 cups of ice. Time wise, you’ll need to allow at least one hour per pound of turkey in the brine. I leave my turkey in brine for up to 3 days.
Diva’s Easy Turkey Brine on a Dime
What You’ll Need: 1 gallon water, ¾ cup Kosher salt OR ½ cup table salt, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns OR 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, ¾ cup soy sauce, 3 cloves garlic, smashed – optional, 8 cups ice.
Combine the water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, soy and garlic in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and cool brine completely. Add the ice, and then immerse the turkey. Place the brine and turkey in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to roast, remove the turkey and rinse it thoroughly. Discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels inside and out and roast as usual.
For delicious roast turkey I recommend a basting bag. If you continuously open the oven to baste your turkey, it can literally add an hour or two to your cooking time.
Pop your turkey in the oven at 325°F and set the timer for 20 minutes per pound and walk away.
The turkey is done is when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads between 175-180°F. Be sure to let the turkey rest loosely tented with foil for 20-30 minutes before carving.
This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving and a juicier bird.
Here’s wishing you a Happy and Diva-licious Thanksgiving.