turkey brine

Are you a bit nervous about making your Thanksgiving Turkey?
Brining is your ticket to a juicy, full-flavored turkey, even if you’re not feeling totally confident about your roasting skills.
If you’re nervous about overcooking your turkey and winding up with a platter of dry turkey meat on your table, think of brining as your insurance.

Brining is essentially the process of soaking a turkey in a salt and liquid solution for at least a day prior to roasting, grilling or frying. This adds flavor and moisture and helps the turkey retain flavor during cooking.

What kind of turkey to choose?
Choose a pasture raised turkey for many reasons. Many conventional turkeys are essentially pre-brined with a vegetable soy protein solution. Do not use turkeys labeled as “kosher,” “enhanced,” or “self-basting” for brining. These turkeys have already been enhanced with salt and probably not real salt in some way and brining would result in an over-salted turkey.
Pastured turkeys, especially those from a local farm, won’t have this added solution to increase the moisture in the finished product but you can add it in an even more delicious (and healthy) way by brining.

Why Brine Your Turkey?
Turkey is a relatively lean bird, particularly the breast meat, meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of fat to help keep the meat from becoming dry and tough. It needs some help if we want to avoid the kind of turkey situation that makes us sad and mopey on Thanksgiving.
This is where brining comes in. A brine is a very basic solution of water and salt, and by giving our turkey a long and luxurious dunk in this solution, we can actually coax a bit more moisture and flavor into our meal.

During brining, the turkey absorbs extra moisture, which in turn helps it stay more moist and juicy both during and after cooking. Since the turkey absorbs salt along with the water, it also gets nicely seasoned from the inside out. You want to make sure you use real salt like Himalayan, Celtic or Real Salt. Even better, the salt breaks down some of the turkey’s muscle proteins, which helps with the overall moisture absorption and also prevents the meat from toughing up quite so much during cooking.

Turkey Brining Essentials for Brining

  • Large Pot and room in the fridge. I once used an ice cooler because I wasn’t prepared with the right container. The turkey was huge and would only fit in an ice cooler.
  • Liquid of some kind: Water works but I like to add apple cider and bone broth for added flavor.
  • Salt: The common amount is 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup per gallon of water.
  • Spices: Add any spices of choice. I like to add bay leaf, cracked peppercorn, and thyme. I also like to add two lemons and one orange, both zested and sliced.

You can customize the ingredients to suit your own taste and in a pinch, just use water, salt and any spices you like.

The process of brining a turkey is much easier than the process of roasting one. It also makes the roasting process faster and the finished product more delicious.

You can put a frozen turkey in the brine in the fridge two days before Thanksgiving in a 5-gallon food grade bucket. It defrostes and brines all in one.

How & Why to Brine Turkey
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Start with a pasture raised turkey that has been treated humanely. Consciously better for the animal and better for your health. Use brining to break down the protein to make this lean meat into a juicy one.
How & Why to Brine Turkey
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Start with a pasture raised turkey that has been treated humanely. Consciously better for the animal and better for your health. Use brining to break down the protein to make this lean meat into a juicy one.
  1. Prepare the equipment: 1 large pot or bucket with a lid, measuring cups and spoons, paper towels. Make room in the fridge.
  2. Cut little slits all over the turkey and put butter and garlic in it
  3. Dissolve the salt in the warm water.
  4. Add water, apple cider, spices, garlic, lemons and orange and stir to combine.
  5. Place the turkey (breast down) in whatever non conductive container you will use for brining (stockpot or a 5-gallon bucket) and add brine.
  6. Cover or seal tightly and leave in fridge for at least 24 hours. Most sites advise no more than 48 before your planned cook time. I have a friend who swears by brining 3 days in advance
  7. Rinse the turkey in cool water and pat dry with paper towel. Clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to avoid cross-contamination.
  8. I recommend rubbing skin with butter and adding spices before roasting.
  9. Roast breast side down and stuff with 1 apple (cut), 1 lemon (whole with skin), 1 orange (whole with skin) and 1 onion (peeled and quartered), 2 celery stalk (cut in pieces), 2 large carrots (cut in pieces), 1 small bunch of Italian parsley (cut or not). Roast uncovered at 450 for 45 minutes and then cover and reduce to 325 until done. Tip: Estimate cooking time to be 13-15 minutes/lb. Use meat thermometer to check internal temperature to gauge if the Turkey is done. Inside temperature should be around 165 degrees.
  10. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good. Enjoy!

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To Your Health,

All BareFood recipes are Corn Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free, Pork Free, Agave Free, Refined Sugar Free, Peanut Free, GMO Free, & Gluten Free. Promoting only organic ingredients, pastured raised/grass-fed/grass-finished meat and poultry, pasture raised organic dairy and eggs, healthy unrefined fats/oils.



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