Brined turkey has a fantastic flavor. It doesn’t dry out as easily as basted or plain roasted turkey, and it’s tender like fried turkey. Some recipes call for elaborate set ups, long wait times and lots of exotic ingredients that I just don’t keep in my pantry. You can lose all of the expensive stuff and do it so cheaply! It’s a bit too late to do this for Thanksgiving, but give it a try while poultry prices are so low. I got a 12 lb turkey for less than $3.
- Acquire a turkey, preferably under $.25/lb. You want at least 12 lbs. Mine today is 20 lbs. Allow it to almost finish defrosting.
- Acquire a frosting bucket (Amazon link) like this from a bakery. They’re food grade, cheap, and you can reuse them. I get mine from a donut store for less than $2/each.
- Set the bucket in an ice chest. Make sure the lid will close over the bucket. I’m using an Igloo Ice Cube (Amazon link) and it fits perfectly.
- Get an 8 lb bag of ice, plus a little more to keep the turkey at a safe temperature.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. You can also use vegetable or chicken stock, but be careful to only get reduced sodium. Or to keep this on the cheap, make it yourself and don’t add salt!
- Add in 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar, a handful of allspice berries, a few bay leaves, a quartered yellow onion, a head of garlic cut in half, etc. This is going to flavor the meat, so you want it to have lots and lots of flavor. Today, mine has allspice, peppercorns, a few star anise, and some freshly grated nutmeg. *Hint – buy your spices in the ethnic aisle – they’ll be massively cheaper.* Allow to cool.
- Put about half of the ice in the bottom of the bucket. Add turkey.
- Pour the other half of the ice around the turkey in the bucket.
- Pour brine over turkey.
- Fasten lid.
- Put ice around the bucket inside the cooler.
- Leave it alone for 8-12 hours and then flip the turkey over for another 8-12 hours
- Remove turkey from brine and wash well. Pat the skin dry.
- Roast in oven.