Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alton Brown's Turkey Brine

Brine after chilling in the fridge 24 hours.

I prepared my first ever roast turkey last year using a fresh young turkey and Alton Brown's Turkey Brine -- it turned out wonderfully. This year, I'm going to do it again, though I bought a frozen young turkey.

While I don't plan on showing the roasting part, I'll do a pictorial on the brine-making process and will report back on how the bird turned out.

Normally I would go to completion with the pictorial, but I'm bringing the brining bird over to my brother's house and with all the stuff I'll have to remember (like strapping the bird/brine down well enough so it doesn't spill over and roll around in the bed of the truck), I'm not going to stress over the camera. Besides, it's Thanksgiving, and as much as I like to image food, I'd much rather enjoy the company of friends and family.

Click the link below to check out Alton's original recipe at the Food Network:

Good Eats Roast Turkey Brine

1 c kosher salt
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 gal vegetable stock (or 1 gallon of water and some Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock)
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp allspice berries
1 1/2 tsp chopped (or not) candied ginger

Candied ginger is located in the produce section, vegetable stock in the soup aisle, and everything else dry in the baking aisle.

2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38°F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.

Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Easier than pie.

  • kosher salt: $1
  • vegetable stock: $4.99/8 oz  
  • allspice berries: $3.99/0.75 oz
  • candied ginger: $4.99/6 oz 
Total: $14.97.  I didn't count the pepper or sugar, but I didn't break the cost down of everything else to the portions used either. And there's lots of everything left.

The actual amount of time to prepare this was less than 2 hours, not including the refrigeration time before adding turkey, and most of that is spent waiting for the stuff to boil and cool.  Near zero effort!