In Turkey Roasting as in the New River Gorge – We are All About the Water
This close to Thanksgiving – we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer up the world’s best Bridge Day Turkey Recipe. After consulting with grandmas everywhere, the television food stars, and our own cookbooks – we’re here to offer up our most famous turkey day secret – brining. Brining – in case you’re new to the turkey cooking sport – is the process of giving your bird a nice water and spice bath to allow it to retain more moisture. And since we’re all about water around the New River Gorge, we thought we’d share this water based secret recipe with you.
Turkey Brining Recipe
- Fresh water
- Kosher Salt
- Brown Sugar
- Bay Leaves
- Sage Leaves
- Fresh Thyme or other spices you like
- Thawed Turkey
Start by considering how large a turkey you are going to cook and selecting a container large enough to completely submerse the turkey in. We recommend using a cooler so that you aren’t tied to using up valuable frig space for this process. (That is if you can keep it iced down or in a cold enough environment.) Determine how many gallons of water you will need to fill that container to cover the turkey adequately.
Use the determined amount of fresh water and pour it into a stock pot to cook on the stove. Add 1 cup of Kosher Salt and 1 cup of brown sugar per gallon of water used.
Next, determine the spices you’d like to use from the list above. Either crush them with a rolling pin or use a spice grinder. Add to water mix.
Bring the mixture just to a beginning boil and remove. After allowing the mixture to come to room temperature put in the fridge until needed. (Usually overnight.)
Remove thawed turkey from fridge, making sure to remove inner bag. Add turkey to an ice chest – adding the water mixture (brine) and a bag of ice. Leave in the refrigerator or another cool area like the garage for up to 12 hours. (We typically brine for one hour for each lb of turkey used.)
After brining period has ended, rinse the turkey very well and pat dry before refrigerating until needed. (Otherwise your bird will be salt-y.)
The day of baking, allow turkey to come to room temperature before placing on a rack uncovered to bake. Baking times vary according to turkey size – so consult a cookbook or the interwebs on the length of time to keep your bird in the oven. We guarantee this brining process will give you the juiciest turkey ever to hit your Thanksgiving table.
*Please note: Brining takes time. Be sure to create a timeline backwards from the time you wish to eat your Thanksgiving dinner to allow enough time for each of the steps noted. The extra time is certainly worth it.