I love brining poultry! It’s an ancient process that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. I say no Holiday bird is complete without first bathing in a brine! It’s a great way to eliminate the impurities, and infuse flavors into the bird, and it makes for the most tender, juicy, “TV magic” perfect turkey.
Some Quick Tips for Brining:
- Start with a defrosted turkey. Allow turkey to thaw in the fridge for at least 24 hours before dunking it into the brine.
- Allow plenty of time for the poultry to bath in the brine mixture. Recommendation: 24 to 48 hours.
- Do not reuse the brine afterwards–it should be discarded because it pulls the impurities from the meat.
- The bird can be removed from the brine, rinsed off and kept in the fridge for a day or two before roasting.
Wild Turkey Gone Wild! Turkey Brine
I’ve updated my turkey brine recipe, and put a new spin on it for this Thanksgiving – Wild Turkey Gone Wild! My original poultry brine recipe is available in a previous post, as is an instructional how-to video. This is an excellent recipe using common ingredients like citrus, cranberries, salt and sugar, and white wine. This year, I wanted to kick it up a notch, and add in a few new ingredients.
This recipe is designed for a 20-pound bird, but you can downsize it for smaller turkeys, or perhaps just the breast, which is what I will be serving this year. The bin for brining doesn’t need to be fancy–just clean and able to hold water. A cooler makes a great container for brining, if you have one large enough. It needs to hold the turkey, a large amount of liquid, and 5 pounds of ice. The temperature must stay below 40 degrees to prevent the growth of bacteria.
For extra flavor, you could also add essential oils to the brine. I suggest a Thyme or Rosemary oil. Rosemary is great for digestion, and what better day to get a little help with that “stuffed” feeling! Additional essential oil suggestions are Lemon and Black Pepper oils.
Turkey Brine Recipe
I’ve added pink peppercorns and Wild Turkey Bourbon to my brine recipe. Any Wild Turkey Bourbon will work, but I’m partial to the Wild Turkey American Honey. The light sweetness compliments the turkey well. If you’re partial to other bourbons or whiskeys, feel free to substitute as you see fit! “Jack up” your turkey with Jack Daniels, or “Beam it up” with a little Jim Beam. Make the recipe your own!
*This recipe is gluten free when made with gluten free alcohol. For those with severe gluten allergies, bourbons and whiskeys are typically not considered 100% safe. I would suggest swapping the bourbon for a certified gluten free white wine.
Pink Peppercorn Turkey Gravy
I also updated my turkey gravy recipe to include pink peppercorns, and modified it to be gluten free using my handmade gluten free flour blend. Nothing tops the perfect turkey like a great gravy, and this one is so delicious, no one will even know it’s gluten free!