The secret to making the perfect holiday turkey is brine! Find out how to brine your bird just in time for the holidays. Brining meat is flavoring by soaking in a salt water solution. Brining locks in moisture and makes the meat tender. This will ensure your turkey is always moist, savory and flavorful.
Chances are the space in your refrigerator will be taken up with other food, considering the time of year. Real estate in the fridge is very valuable around the holidays. You will need to keep turkey cold for 5-8 hours. Either buy brining bags or use a large cooler that is large enough to hold the bird and brine solution.
When purchasing your bird, check the label to make sure it has not been pre-brined. If the turkey is frozen, make sure to thoroughly thaw it before brining and always do this at a safe rate. Remove all leg ties and discard giblets from neck and body cavity. Trim any extra fat and cut off the tail. Rinse the bird with cold water inside and out. Then pat dry the interior and exterior with paper towels.
The next step is figuring out how much cold water solution is needed to brine turkey. Add the turkey to a large cooler (make sure cooler has been thoroughly cleaned) and pour enough cold water to completely cover the turkey. Remove turkey from the water and measure the water that remains in the cooler.
To make brine solution add the following ingredients per gallon of cold water.
- ¾ cup coarse kosher salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper.
Add the salt and sugar to the boiling water, mix to combine. Cool the mixture in the fridge overnight. Pour the mixture into the cold water and add pepper. Stir to combine. Add savory flavor add 5 crushed garlic cloves and a tablespoon of cracked black peppercorns. Stir the mixture once again.
Place the turkey back in the cooler. The bird and brine will need to be cooled for 5-8 hours. Place several re-sealable bags of ice into the cooler. Every couple of hours check cooler to see if the bags of ice need to be refreshed. Also mix contents when checking on bags of ice.
Proceed with cooking the turkey as usual. Keep in mind that a brined turkey will cook faster, therefore use a meat thermometer and check meat frequently! Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Brining your turkey will guarantee that your bird will be moist and flavorful. Enjoy your holiday dinner!