For this brine you will need: Kosher salt, peppercorns, whole allspice berries, bay leaves, rosemary, orange zest, garlic and brown sugar.
Let’s start preparing the orange zest. I just use a potato peeler and “saw” my way down the outsides of a firm orange. Zest two oranges and save the oranges for another use or just eat them. Set the zest aside for a moment.
Fill a large stock pot with 2 gallons of water. Add the Kosher salt…
…and the brown sugar…
…add the peppercorns…
…the allspice berries…
…garlic, rosemary, orange zest…
…and last of all, add the bay leaves.
Bring the water to a simmer and stir. Heat just until the salt and brown sugar have dissolved.
Remove from the heat and let the brine cool COMPLETELY. If you pour hot brine over your turkey, you will start the cooking process.
This is a brining bag. It’s a HUGE double zip lock bag. You can purchase brining bags at Williams-Sonoma or Sur la table. They are awesome.
Pull out the HUGE brining bag. I like to set my bag in a smaller roasting pan so that it holds the bag in place.
Let’s talk turkey. When brining a turkey, I think it’s best to use a fresh turkey. Look for a turkey that hasn’t been pumped full of sodium or other fluids. This brine is salty so you don’t want to brine a pre-salt injected bird! Understand?
Plop that bird, breast side down, in the bag. Make sure you have removed the neck and giblets. Save the neck and do whatever it is you do with the giblets.
Carefully pour or even better ladle the brine over the turkey in the brining bag. Now read this very carefully.
Watch the sides of the bag. In fact find a helper to hold the bag. If you don’t, the sides will collapse and the brine will spill out all over the counter then run onto the clean kitchen floor.
I speak out of experience! As I was pouring my beautifully cooled brine into the bag, the bag tipped over and within an instant my brine was all over my kitchen. Once the “spilling process” starts there is no stopping it. All kinds of colorful expletives came spewing from my mouth!
You have been warned!
This is something I do. I don’t like to turn the bird over mid-brine. I take some kitchen twine and gather up the zip lock edge and tie it up so that the brine pretty much completely covers the bird. Can you see this is the picture?
I already had the bag sitting in a smaller roasting pan that is a beautiful copper pan that desperately needs to be polished.
Just slide the pan and the bird into your refrigerator and let set for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours have passed, take the bag out of the roasting pan and set it in your kitchen sink. This will help alleviate any of the brine spilling out EVERYWHERE.
Take a pair of scissors and cut the string.
Open the bag and gently drain of all of the brine, which will flow gently down the drain. I catch the solids of the brine in the wire stopper for the sink that I loosely set in place. Discard the solids.
Rinse the bird with cold water.
Rinse until all of the lovely particles have been rinsed off of the bird.
Wash out the roasting pan and place several layers of paper towels in the bottom.
Placed the bird on the paper towels.