Good Morning Gentle Readers,
We used to do the huge family Thanksgiving dinner with all the in-laws and such that we could muster out, but that tradition has seen livelier days.
The Boy is off to the desert for the weekend with friends and I must say that offering up a manly hug and and a wish for a happy Thanksgiving left me feeling somewhat peculiar. [shrugs] That leaves just three of us, The House Blond, Mrs TWC, and moi and calls for a small turkey, which TWC plans to grill over a low temperature mesquite fire.
That said, this brine works nicely for our smallish turkey and it will also do the trick for a bird large enough to feed a houseful.
The brine is simple to make.
- Two cups brown sugar
- Two cups Kosher salt
- One quart apple cider
- One quart water
- Five cloves garlic
- Five tablespoons fresh rosemary or two tablespoons dried rosemary
- Orange zest from two oranges or four ounces of orange juice
- Combine the first four ingredients in a large non-reactive pot and simmer on the stove top until the sugar and salt is dissolved
- Dice the garlic and rosemary and add to the pot
- Set aside to cool
- Once cooled, add the turkey to the liquid inside the stockpot
- Add a 50/50 mix of apple cider and water to the pot so that the turkey is almost completely submerged
- Cover and refrigerate for at least twelve hours. A full day is better
- Rinse the turkey thoroughly before cooking
I use a large stockpot, but that may not be large enough for a big turkey. Any large container that won't react to the sugar/salt/cider mixture is fine.
By adjusting a shelf in the fridge, my stockpot will fit. If yours won't, stick it in an ice chest. Pot in first, then surround it with ice.
If you live in the cold climes, put the pot in the garage or shed. Make sure it doesn't freeze, but don't let it get warmer than forty degrees.
For those who aren't familiar with brining, the sugar and salt tenderize the meat and enhance the flavor without leaving your turkey tasting more like sweet, salty apples than turkey. You must still season the turkey exactly as you always do.