Fridge Not Big Enough to Brine Your Turkey?
Buy an Avenger 75-Quart Cooler Now!
It's time to talk turkey, and apparently Wild Turkey is also a bird. Go figure.
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday and because I'm a big guy, I have a big appetite and turkey is the cheapest thing to feed a big hairy crowd.
But roasted turkey breast gets dry and tough when it's cooked just a few minutes too long.
Soaking a turkey in a brine solution will help ensure moist and juicy meat.
Brining is the Secret
Brining is a seasoning method that soaks meat in salted water to increase the flavor and moisture.
Moisture loss is going to happen when you cook a turkey because heat causes proteins in the fibers to unwind, resulting in shrinkage.
Meat will lose about 30% of it's weight during the cooking process but if you soak the meat in a brine, you can reverse this.
Brining enhances juiciness by absorbing liquid during the brining period and since the meat has more liquid in it at the begining of cooking, it ends up more juicy at the end.
Water also gets trapped in the proteins themselves when the meat cooks which also makes the Turkey moist.
Additionally the salt brine dissolves these proteins in muscle fibers and turns them from a solid to a liquid and exposes bonding sites.
Brine Turkey in 75-Quart Avenger Cooler
Properly brined meat should not taste salty, just very flavorful and juicy but who has room to soak a 22 pound turkey?
Your fridge is completely packed from all the food bought for the biggest eating holiday on the planet.
So how do you brine a big bird?
Turkey should be soaked in a mixture of salt, sugar, water and spices for at least a day before roasting, and there is no one way that's right when it comes to making a brine.
But there are some basic guidelines like they are always a combination of salt and water and for each gallon of water in your brine, use around 12 oz. of salt.
I usually brine overnight in a 75-Quart Avenger Cooler and put a few bags of ice in it instead of water.
Your bird will be safe as the brine stays below 40 degrees F.
If you live in colder temperatures, you can leave the cooler outside or in your garage overnight without ice.
Buy a cooler that is big enough for the bird and the brining liquid.
Clean your Avenger Cooler thoroughly, sanitize and air dry before and after use.
The turkey must be fully submerged in the liquid during the entire process of brining, so place a heavy plate on top of it to keep the turkey from floating up.
2 cups salt
2 cups maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup black peppercorns
8 cups cold bourbon
3 gallons cold water or 3 bags of ice
1 (14-18 pound) turkey breast
Handful of fresh herbs (optional)
1. Get yourself a 75-Quart Avenger Cooler.
2. Prepare the brine by boiling the ingredients above in a pot. Let completely cool.
3. Remove the inner giblets packet, any leg constraints and excess skin or fat.
4. Rinse your bird inside and pat dry with paper towels.
5. Place turkey in 75-Quart Avenger Cooler and gently pour the brine over it. Let brine for 1-2 days.
How Long To Brine?
The amount of time your meat needs to soak depends on the size of the bird and the amount of salt used.
The more salt you use in your brine, the less time needed.
- Turkey 12 hrs-2 days
- Turkey Breast 4-8 hrs
- Whole Chicken 3-8 hrs
Brined Meat Cooks Faster
Brined turkeys cook faster than unbrined ones and the cooking time depends on other factors, like is the turkey stuffed or empty.
I recommend that you cook it at least 3 hours and check it at 2 hours to make sure it's getting closer to the fully cooked 160- 165°.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 160° is will kill all bacteria and still leave your bird juicy and moist!
Here is a general guideline on cooking times by the pound:
Weight Roasting Time
- 8-12 pounds 2 to 3.5 hours
- 12-16 pounds 3 to 4 hours
- 16-20 pounds 4 to 5 hours
- 20-25 pounds 5 to 6 hours