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Holiday Turkey Brine Recipe (Gluten-Free)
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
A good holiday turkey brine can make all the difference! Photo: Jefferson Adams
Make the best holiday turkey ever with this turkey brine recipe. Any knowledgeable chef will tell you that brining is the key to roasting a moist, flavorful bird. Brining a turkey is easy. With a big clean bucket, a big stock pot, some broth, some herbs and some salt, and you've got the basics for a good brine. Some recipes add fruit juices or other exotic components, but this brine is simple, easy, and guaranteed to produce a tasty, juicy turkey that yields pan drippings that will make a delicious gravy. This brine will work for any type of poultry. This recipe makes two gallons, enough brine for a 12 to 20 pound turkey.
1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup sea salt
6-7 fresh Juniper berries
1 small bunch fresh rosemary, or 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
1 small bunch of fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried sage
1 small bunch of fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 small bunch fresh savory or 1 tablespoon dried savory
1 gallon ice water
In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, juniper berries, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, and stir well to dissolve salt. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
Wash and dry the turkey, and remove the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure to fill the bird's cavity. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy.
Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.
The Huffington Post offers an excellent Turkey Preparation Guide with handy turkey Dos and Dont's to help you roast the best possible turkey.
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