I have been experimenting with brining turkeys for several years now. I have tried several but this one consistently produces moist and juicy turkey meat.
This is a recipe that a friend, of a friend, of a sister’s friend, gave me a few years ago. I have made a few changes but it’s originally from the Vancouver Sun.
Adapted from Chef Patrick Dore’s Turkey Brine (Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Vancouver, BC)
- 2 gallons (7 – 8 litres) water
- 1 1/4 cups (236 gr) Kosher Salt
- 2 cups (474 gr) Brown Sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) Honey
- 2 Heads of Garlic cut in half
- 2 Lemons cut in Half
- 1 Tbsp. (20 ml) peppercorns
- 6 bay leaves
- Large bundle of fresh sage, thyme and rosemary
Method: Put all of the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Allow to cool completely. When this brine is cold, submerge the turkey ensuring that it is totally covered. Leave overnight in your fridge or even your garage if it’s unheated in the cold winter months. I let it brine for no more than 12 hours.
Heat the oven to 325F (165C). Remove the turkey from the brine and towel the turkey dry. Discard the brine.
Brush the turkey with melted butter and roast in a large roasting pan until the juice in the leg run clear when tested with a fork, or internal temperature of 180F (82C).
Ensure that your brine is cold before the turkey goes in.
Use a fresh turkey, not a kosher or Butterball turkey, which are already been seasoned.
Let your turkey spend one hour warming to room temperature before roasting.
Pat your turkey dry inside and out before placing it in the oven. Roasting is a dry process; you want to avoid moisture that will turn to steam.
Some recipes suggest washing off the brine. I do not rinse the brine off the bird as the salt and sugar help the skin brown.
Cook your stuffing in a separate roasting pan. I no longer cook stuffing inside a turkey. The stuffing will create unwanted steam. Also it is difficult to heat the stuffing to a safe temperature inside the bird.