brine for turkey…or chicken

If you are anything like me, I am sure you have heard of… or watch Food Network. This time of year they go crazy… because Thanksgiving is a FOOD holiday, and they are the FOOD network.  I am sure even people that don’t cook tend to tune in during this time of year-if anything for inspiration and to just figure out what to do.

Years ago, I saw the “Good Eats” episode with the brined turkey.

It made total sense.

I love Alton.

He’s my “Mr. Wizard” of food.

So, for years, I made HIS recipe. After a few years, I got ballsy. I made my own.


It’s a little like his and a lot like mine…

Sometimes I bring it all to a boil, sometimes I don’t.

It’s not an exact thing to me.  Is that bad? I mean, do you HAVE to boil it? I don’t.  I just make the brine early enough to allow time to dissolve all the salt and sugar.

The mixture I make works for a turkey up to 15 lbs. I never have made one of those 22 pounders. Maybe when I have lots of grand-babies, I will.

There’s salt, pepper, rosemary, fresh garlic, red chili pepper, sage and thyme…oooo and brown sugar.

I topped it with a gallon of veggie stock.

I dissolved the salt by either waiting and stirring or bringing to a boil. To tell the truth, each works for me.

And, to tell the truth… I am not sure why Alton boils it … to just add ice water later. I need to watch the episode again.


Here’s The Domestic Mama’s brine:

1 and 1/2 c kosher salt

3/4 c brown sugar

5 cloves garlic, smashed/diced

2 sprigs rosemary leaves (removed from the stem)

4 whole sage leaves, fresh.

2 tbs crushed red chilies, (optional)

3 tbs black peppercorns

1- 12 oz can of beer

4- 32 oz cartons of vegetable stock

combine all in a stockpot, either bring to a boil OR allow to dissolve by agitation and time.

Place turkey (12-16lbs) in a clean 5 gallon bucket with brine (room temp) and add cold water to just cover.  Place in the fridge, (I know this may call for removing shelves..)

Soak overnight (at least 12 hrs) turning every 6 hours.

Remove and roast whatever your usual way is…

To use as a chicken brine, cut recipe in half.

I do mine on a rack with potatoes, carrots, celery and onions, some of the broth/brine also….then I make a gravy with that. The gravy is a whole new post, though. Let’s worry about the bird, first.


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