Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey Brine

This year, our award-winning Chef Joseph from Karma Kandara is sharing his foolproof Thanksgiving recipe with us! In his words: ‘As 2020 comes to an end, we are all looking forward to better times in the years ahead. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and appreciate what really matters in life. The happiness of being surrounded by friends and family in good health. With this in mind, I am happy to share with you my turkey brine recipe that I will be cooking for my family with our Karma family this year’. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Yields:1 Turkey 18- 22lbs / approximately 9kg
  • Prep time:30 minutes
  • Brine time:24 hours

Cook time:
Follow recommended cook time based on raw weight of turkey. 9kg Turkey: roast covered 160 Celsius up to 3 hours, remove foil and continue to roast for the last hour until internal temp reaches 85 degrees Celsius

Step 1

  • 1 liter
  • 485 grams
  • 350 grams
  • 100 grams
  • 240 grams
  • 3ea.
  • 6ea.
  • 6ea.
  • 6 grams.
  • Combine all of the above ingredients in a pot, place on the stove over medium heat.
  • Simmer slowly, do not reduce until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, place in a large enough pot to fully submerge the turkey in.
  • Let cool to room temperature

Step 2

  • 3.75 liters
  • 500 ml
  • 1ea.
  • 2ea.
  • 2ea.
  • 1bu.
  • 1 bu.
  • ½ bu.
  • Add all of the above ingredients to the pot with the salt sugar water solution.
  • Stir well.
  • Sample taste.  The water should be slightly salty and slightly sweet.

Step 3

  • Remove your turkey from packaging and make sure it is fully defrosted.
  • Remove the neck and gizzard package.  Set aside for turkey gravy.
  • Rinse under cold water and place in the pot with the brine.
  • The turkey should be fully submerged in the brine.  If it is not you have two options.
    • Option one: After 12 hours, flip the turkey over so both sides brine evenly.
    • Option two: Add more water to cover, as well as more salt & sugar to taste and ensure the salt/ sugar ratio is the same as prior to adding the turkey.
  • Cover the pot with the lid and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

A giant pot takes up a lot of prime real estate in your fridge.  Especially if you are preparing the rest of thanksgiving dinner.  If you live in a cold climate such as Bavaria or where I am from Detroit, Michigan.  I store the turkey in our garage: it’s cold enough but won’t freeze- but double check your environment first.

Step 4

  • Remove the turkey from the brine.
  • Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
  • Lightly season the turkey on the inside and outside.  
    • Note: Keep in mind the turkey has been soaking in saltwater for 24 hours.  Don’t season heavily as you normally would do as your turkey may become overly salted.
  • Roast Turkey following the cooking chart.
  • Remove turkey and let rest 30 minutes prior to serving.

Couple extra tips on roasting turkeys.

  • Instead of roasting the turkey on a rack, I use the neck of the turkey and large rough chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic to hold the turkey up.  As the turkey roasts, the vegetables steam adding flavor and moisture to your bird.
  • I also separate the legs from the breast and cook separate and never stuff the turkey.  Especially on large birds, the breasts will sometimes become dry by the time the legs are cooked. 
    • If you do separate the breasts from legs, remove the lower back of the bird, roast that separately the day before with the neck bone and make a small stock.  You can use this stock to make your stuffing and bake it separate:  nobody will know the difference that the bird wasn’t stuffed flavour wise.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy!

One Comment

  1. I couldn’t find the cooking chart mentioned. Could you forward that please?

    Sounds great, I’m going to try it as I already brine chickens, really moist and flavoursome outcome!

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