I got this from my local newspaper. I personally swear by Williams-Sonoma’s dry brine – oh. my. word. But this is a WET brine alternative that would be good to have in your back pocket in case they get sold out, which they don’t.
Staff epicure Lorraine Eaton tried brining a turkey a couple of years ago, and the result was a revelation. She describes it this way: “A first bite of brined bird is akin to taking that inaugural sip of quality coffee — nothing else will ever do.” I couldn’t agree more. The turkey gets a long soak in water infused with sea or kosher salt and a variety of spices, and the meat comes out juicy and robust. You can make a brine yourself (the recipe follows), but I’ve been hooked on one made by The Spice Hunter, which can be found at local Farm Fresh stores. After brining, roast your bird in a 325-degree oven, about 12 minutes per pound. It’s done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If you’re using a turkey with one of those pop-up indicators, don’t wait for it to tell you the bird is done; if you do, you’ll overcook it.
Source: Chef Greg Burroughs, Culinary Institute of Virginia
for a turkey up to 14 pounds
1 cup kosher (or sea) salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 gallons water
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp. allspice berries
1 bay leaf
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove from heat and cool.
Submerge the turkey (if it was frozen, make sure it’s thawed) in the brine overnight, or about 1 hour per pound of meat. Be sure to keep refrigerated; the temperature should not rise above 41 degrees.
Remove bird from brine, discard the brine, and cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. It’s best to roast a brined bird, but it can be cooked in a bag.