Golden Turkey Brine
12 lb turkey, thawed completely if frozen (fresh is always best)
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups boiling water
1 cup Sparrow Lane Golden Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Sparrow Lane Quatro Pepe Vinegar
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 head garlic, finely chopped ( 1 tablespoon garlic granules) to taste
1 medium onions, finely chopped ( 2 teaspoons onion powder) to taste
1 T black peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme, lightly crushed
2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp dried basil, lightly crushed
1 tsp dried oregano, lightly crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup Sparrow Lane Basil Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 (7 lb) bags ice cubes (or equivalent from your freezer)
ice chest just large enough to hold the bird, (not too big, bird must be submerged) brine, ice and 1 brine injector with large diameter needle.
1. Stir salt and sugar into boiling water until completely dissolved.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except olive oil, and allow to set for at least 30 minutes for flavors to develop. Taste; brine will be very salty; that’s why it is called ‘brine’. Adjust any or all ingredients to your taste, keeping in mind that tastes should be quite assertive.
3. Thoroughly blend everything in a food processor or blender. Blend in olive oil, and strain about half into a cup or bowl for injecting, returning all strained solids to the half to be used for brining. Remove and reserve the neck and innards for gravy making. Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Use a 2 oz brining injector to inject the bird with the strained brine. Inject in at least 3 – 4 sites on each side of the breast, 2 – 3 in each thigh, and 2 – 3 into the meaty part of each drumsticks, pushing the needle in deep and injecting about 1/3 of the brine deep, pulling the needle back about a third, injecting another third of the brine, and repeating after pulling the needle back another third of its length. Pour over any remaining brine over the top
5. Place 1 bag of ice in the bottom of the ice chest, place the turkey on top, and pour all of the brine over the turkey. Dump the remaining bag of ice over the turkey, and add enough very cold water to just cover the bird. Slosh things around enough to combine the brine with the additional water, ice, and the turkey, and make sure the brine gets into the turkey cavity. Close the ice chest, and set in a cool place to marinate. After about 7 – 8 hours, turn the turkey over, top to bottom, and do it again after another 7 – 8 hours. Add more ice only if everything melts.
6. After a total of at least 24 hours, you are ready to cook your bird any way you desire, stuffed or not stuffed, roasted, fried, nuked, whatever. Just be sure to drain the turkey well and pat it dry before cooking by your desired method. Throw away all of the brine, remaining ice, etc. Be certain to thoroughly wash your ice chest before using it for more legitimate purposes, such as storing beer and wine to go with your turkey dinner.