This brine is the secret to getting your holiday turkey to taste like the turkey sold at Honey-Baked Ham. It imparts a great flavor into the meat. I recommend a brine period of at least two days to allow complete infusion of flavor, but four days is even better! This recipe has floated around the net for a while now, and while I do not know the original source, I no longer cook a turkey without using this process first!
Holiday Turkey Brine:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
¾ cup coarse kosher salt
3 whole heads of garlic, cloves separated, not peeled
6 large bay leaves
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped unpeeled ginger
2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1 ½ cups soy sauce
3 quarts water
A handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Combine all the brine ingredients into a large stockpot.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool completely, then insert into the
refrigerator to chill. Rinse the Turkey well and place into a plastic bag then
insert the bag into an ice chest.
Cover the turkey with COLD brine and add cold water as needed to cover
the turkey. Place a plate on top of the turkey to hold it under the brine.
Close the bag, and add ice inside the chest but outside the bag. Add ice as needed over the next 2-4
days. If you have a refrigerator
large enough this can be done in the refrigerator foregoing the ice. Since I only do turkey at the holidays
it’s generally cold enough where I live to use ice in a chest and set the
chest on the deck while the marinade does it’s
magic. Rotate the bird top to bottom once per day.
Finally as with all brines, it’s important to thoroughly rinse the bird after brining, before you start cooking.
Once you prep your turkey this way – you will never go back!