Turkey is a mild-flavored meat that easily dries out during cooking. Brining a turkey basically, bathing it in salt waterseasons the bird and infuses moisture, particularly helpful with long-duration cooking, such as roasting and smoking. A brine consists of water, salt, and sometimes sweeteners (like sugar or molasses) and aromatics (like herbs, spices, citrus or garlic). Kosher and treated turkeys (such as many supermarket varieties) have been through a process that can produce overly salty results. Whatever the brining method, wash off the brine before cooking.
Makes: 1 servings
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 quarts cold water
- 1 12 - 14 pound turkey (neck and giblets removed and reserved, bird rinsed inside and out)
- In a brining bucket or container large enough to hold the turkey inside the refrigerator, combine 1 cup salt, 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns. Add 6 quarts cold water and whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Submerge one 12- to 14-pound turkey (neck and giblets removed and reserved, bird rinsed inside and out) into the brine; if the water does not cover the bird, add up to 2 quarts more water. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the turkey and weigh down the turkey with a heavy plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate the bucket overnight or up to 18 hours. One hour before cooking, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well. Pat dry and let come to room temperature.