Turkey Brine Recipe: Favorite Food for Christmas Eve Dinner

How to Cook the Perfect Christmas Turkey
Credit: Matthew Eisman / Stringer/ Getty

Everyone loves a good turkey meal for Christmas Eve dinner. And with Christmas 2016 approaching, there is no better way to ensure the perfect turkey dinner than with a great turkey brine recipe. Check it out!

Christmas Eve Dinner: The Perfect Turkey Brine Recipe

Turkey Brine

Ingredients

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  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage
  • 1 Tbsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp dried savory
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 gallon ice water

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, rosemary, sage, thyme, sea salt, and savory. Bring this to a boil and stir frequently to ensure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Then stir in the ice water.
  3. Wash and dry your turkey. Ensure you’ve removed the innards. Place the turkey with breast facing down into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Then place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Remove the turkey, while carefully draining off the excess brine, and then pat dry. Discard the excess brine.
  5. Cook the turkey as desired while reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so make sure you watch the temperature gauge. Bon appétit!

One of the best reasons to brine your turkey is that it makes it much juicier. Brining also adds more flavor because more liquid is absorbed while it’s cooking. It makes the turkey both saltier and tastier and, well, you can’t say no to that. Here is another recipe for turkey brine:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup table salt
  • Small handfuls of flavorings like garlic, onion, cloves, thyme sprigs, celery, whole peppercorns, lemon, and bay leaves
  • If desired, orange zest or apple cider can be added

Directions

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  1. Combine the sugar, flavorings, salt, and 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of water in a large pot and place it over medium heat.
  2. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  3. Next, bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat and let it cool down.
  5. Stir in the remaining 1/2 gallon water and let cool completely.
  6. Put the brine inside a container large enough to hold your turkey. Note: if your turkey is frozen, make sure that it’s properly thawed out beforehand. Remove the innards from the cavity. Rinse it both inside and outside under cold running water.
  7. Add the turkey to the container with the brining liquid. If needed, you can add more water to ensure it is fully submerged in the liquid.
  8. Turn the turkey over a few times and finally leave it breast-side down in the container.
  9. Soak the turkey in the brine for 5-6 hours in the refrigerator, covered. You may leave the turkey to brine for up to 24 hours. Cook as desired.

Sources:

Barbuti, A., “How to Brine a Turkey: A Simple Thanksgiving Recipe,” Heavy web site, November 23, 2016; http://www.heavy.com/news/2016/11/how-long-to-brine-turkey-make-season-seasoning-spices-recipe-easy-thanksgiving-dinner/, last accessed December 22, 2016.

Gailey, S., “Turkey Brine,” All Recipes web site; http://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/54614/turkey-brine/, last accessed December 22, 2016.