Carter’s Thanksgiving Turkey Brine
Carter’s Turkey Brine
Submitted by: Carter Snead
It’s been said by some that Carter’s Thanksgiving turkey is the best they’ve ever had. I asked him to share his technique to brine the turkey. I’m so glad I did! On Thanksgiving, I followed his recipe and it was the best turkey I’ve ever made. When we were carving it, juice was literally squirting at us (even from the breast.)
Brining is the process of soaking the bird in a salt/broth or water mixture in order to add flavor and moisture. Be sure to start with a fresh, organically raised free-range turkey….There are hundreds of variations of brine recipes to accomplish different levels of flavor (savory, sweet, smoky etc). This is Carter’s own recipe, in his own words:
Laura, to brine the turkey make the brine using 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup kosher salt and 3 tablespoons of cracked black pepper. If you want an herby flavor you can add a bunch of fresh thyme and fresh sage to this mixture – I like it plain and don’t use the herbs. I use a large plastic bag, but you can also use a deep casserole if you have one. soak the turkey in the brine for 24 hours. if it is not immersed you can make another gallon or turn it frequently. should keep it in the fridge, but I usually put it in a cold room that is close to outside temp overnight since this time of year here it is 20-30 degrees outside.
The other trick to making a good turkey is to use a maple syrup/butter basting mixture. basically, you melt 1/4 pound of butter in 1/2 cup maple syrup over a low to med. heat. once the turkey has been in the oven for 10 min or so, long enough to warm it up, pour the maple syrup/butter over it and then baste it every 20 min.
Note from Laura:
Last year my husband and I purchased a “Big Green Egg” slow cooker. For any kind of smoking, grilling or roasting – this large egg shaped outdoor grill is second to none. The egg is made of a high tech ceramic designed after the ceramic ovens people have been using in the Orient for thousands of years. The ceramic walls keeps all the moisture in during the grilling or smoking process. Gone are the days of dry turkey on Thanksgiving! The design also allows for terrific temperature control over long periods of time – just what you need for exceptional smoking. Aside from that great smoke flavor, meats are incredibly juicy and tender. This year I will be cooking a 20 pound turkey on my Big Green Egg. For more information about them, see the link in the Kitchen Gear section or click here… http://www.biggreenegg.com/index.html