Finally, a super moist, perfectly cooked turkey using an old school technique – Brining

I know what you are thinking? A how to cook and awesome turkey post on January 3rd? Well I apologize I have to put these things out as I find them out myself and didn’t want to hold onto this recipe until next thanksgiving.

Along with smoking, I would guess that salt is probably one of the oldest forms of food preservation. In the old days people would keep their meat in large 50 gallon barrels layered between salt, and thus keep their meat stored through the winter.

When you salt meat you draw out the blood from the meat and dehydrates it. This process is more commonly known as curing.

Brining is a method of preserving where you soak your meat in water saturated with salt. This is also called pickling, which almost everyone is familiar with. Brining does not preserve your meat nearly as long as salt curing, however what it does do is make your turkey and chicken taste wonderful and retain much moisture.

Over the years I had pretty much accepted that turkey was dry and in need of copious amounts of gravy to become palatable, however during some research on food preservation I came across the promise of brining to deliver a moist and succulent turkey. Once I discovered it was endorsed by Alton Brown I knew I had a winner.

I differed my brine recipe a from Alton’s just because I would prefer to make my own stock as opposed to using stock from the grocery store.

  • In a large stock pot add two gallons of water
  • Add 3/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of salt
  • Add a mire pouix which is a fancy french word for carrots, celery, and onions. I diced mine and added about a handful of each. Your going to toss stock so feel free to not bother peeling the onions or carrots
  • Then add whatever other herbs you would like. I took a few pieces of garlic and crushed them with my knife and also tossed in a bunch of whole pepper corns
  • Bring the brine to a full boil
  • Reduce to a simmer for about 1 hour to really extract the flavor from the veggies
  • Cool your brine to room temperature. I added a ton of ice to it to speed up this process
  • Take a 5 gallon bucket and put in your thawed, room temperature, turkey
  • Fill the bucket with the brine, making sure it si 100% submerged. Add weights if necessary.
  • Keep the turkey refrigerated, in my case I put it out on my sun porch due to it being winter.
  • I brined my turkey for about 18 hours, however I have read online that you can go up to 3 days for maximum effect.
  • For cooking the turkey I used Alton’s method exactly

My Review?
Awesome! The turkey was ridiculously moist and perfectly cooked. Oh brine! Where have you been all my life. So many thanksgivings gone by without you!

Also Alton’s method cooked my 22lb turkey SUPER fast which is awesome. I was completely convinced that my meat thermometer had to be wrong, however I double checked it against my instant read thermometer and it was on the money.

Here is the link: Alton Brown Good Eats Roast Turkey

Author: Nick-LaDieu

Webmaster of Budding skill enthusiast and modern survivalist. When nick isn't plotting his next project he is probably running with his dogs, riding his mountain bike, or fiddling with his home theater.