Soaking a turkey for hours in a mixture of salt, water, other seasonings, brown sugar, and herbs results in a tender, juicy, flavorful meat. It may take a little pre-planning, but it’s simple and the results are well worth it.
1 turkey (10 to 12 pounds), rinsed with giblets removed
4 cups boiling water
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar, not packed
2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
12 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups ice
Place turkey in a large plastic bag or large container that will hold the whole turkey submerged in the brine solution.
Add salt to boiled water and stir until all of the salt is dissolved.
Stir in the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary, and thyme.
Add ice to cool down solution and stir until ice melts.
Add enough cool water to the solution to make 1 gallon of brine.
Pour brine over turkey making sure the liquid covers the whole bird. Close bag or container and let marinate in the refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours.
Remove turkey from brine and rinse well. Place in a strainer to drain and pat dry inside and out using paper towels. Move the bird to a pan in the refrigerator to allow more drying before cooking. This causes the skin to brown better. Cook turkey as desired.
I put my bird in a large plastic Tupperware container that has a secure top. To make sure the turkey stays emersed in the water I use a small pot lid to weigh it down in the liquid. The container’s plastic top holds the lid in place when securely closed. A large pot can be used instead of a plastic container.
When using a large plastic bag, secure it with a wire tie even if the bag has a ziplock in order to keep the bird submerged in the brine.
This recipe can be easily increased when using a larger bird.