ULTIMATE BRINE FOR TURKEY
1 1/2 cups, Kosher salt**
**See notes below regarding amount of salt
1 1/4 cups, brown sugar
10 whole cloves
3 teaspoons, black peppercorns
1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) apple juice or cider (non-alcoholic)
the peel from one orange or one tangerine (colored part only – not white pith)
[optional: 3 teaspoons, dried thyme and/or 3 teaspoons, dried sage]
Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot, bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (partly covered). Allow brine to cool completely.
Rinse turkey under cool running water, inside and out (remove giblets from body cavity). Pat turkey dry with paper towels, then immerse turkey in cooled brine.* Turkey should be completely submerged in liquid (place a plate on top of the bird if necessary to keep it covered with the liquid).
Cover the pot and refrigerate for 8-10 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove turkey, rinse, pat dry, and roast as usual. [See note under “basic technique” for extra step to get crispiest skin.]
*Be sure the container used for brining turkey is non-reactive: use enamel, glass or crockery or stainless steel – never cast iron or aluminum. The pot should be just large enough to contain the turkey (so the brine will be sufficient to cover the bird).
** NOTE REGARDING THE AMOUNT OF SALT IN BRINE: A milder brine may be made, which may have a less flavorful result – but if salt is a concern (the entire turkey will absorb only 10-15% of the brine) the amount of salt may be reduced. For the desired chemical effect to take place, however, the proportions cannot be less than 2/3 to 1 cup of salt per gallon (4 quarts) of water or other liquid.
**TYPES OF SALT: Kosher salt is the ONLY type of salt to be used in making brine (it is sweeter and more pure than ordinary table salt). Kosher salt is available in two varieties. The most common is flaked salt (example: Morton Kosher Salt) which has been pressed into flakes by rollers. The other type is a four-sided crystal (example: Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt). The crystal-shaped salt measures differently because of its shape. Use about 25% (one quarter) MORE crystal salt than flaked salt when measuring for brine or other recipes. The formula is: 1 tablespoon of regular table salt is equivalent to 1 ½ tablespoons flaked kosher salt, or 2 tablespoons, diamond crystal kosher salt.
❤ Jeannine Childs