I’ve been out of pocket over the past week, so maybe you notice that I haven’t posted in a while? I had a long week at work just before our daughter’s wedding, and now Thanksgiving week! Even though turkey day is behind us now, I wanted to share with you how I brine a turkey or chicken. This is the way to go when you’re going to smoke, grill, oven roast, or fry your bird.
I use pickle juice as a base and work from there. There is a pickle store in Dallas (Pickletopia), and they sell everything pickled including the juice. I bought 2 quarts just for this magic moment! I have also ordered pickle juice from Amazon. It’s about $15 for a gallon and lasts me for several uses. You can also use the juice from store-bought pickles such as Vlasic.
Add 1/4 c. sea salt….that’s all you need because the juice is already very salty.
Add 1/4 c. of black peppercorns. You can use other varieties if you want…it will taste great!
Next, I add 1/2 c. light brown sugar. This takes down the saltiness of the brine.
Add 1/2 c. vegetable oil. This will lock moisture into the poultry and help spices stick to the surface before cooking. Vegetable oil has a high smoke heat, but you can use olive oil if you’re planning to smoke the meat. I have also used melted butter, avocado and coconut oils.
I add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some bay leaves to the concoction, give it a good stir (about 1 minute) to dissolve the salt and sugar, and get the bird ready for her bath.
Isn’t this a lovely mixture? It smells amazing!
I had a turkey breast and three turkey legs. Once added to the brine, I topped it off with water just to cover the pieces.
Seal it in the container and refrigerate for 24 hours. If you don’t have 24 hours, 4-6 hours will still pack some flavor into the meat. I remove the pieces and drain well, season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and a little BBQ spice, then put on the smoker at 225F for until the internal temp reaches at least 165F.
When it’s done, remove from the smoker and wrap tightly in heavy foil. Bake at 375F for about an hour and remove from the oven. Let it rest for about an hour so that the tendons in the turkey legs break down. If you don’t have a smoker, no worries! Just cook the meat as you normally would. It will be awesome!
I guarantee, you’re gonna love this brined smokin’ hot bird! Enjoy, my friends!