A brine seals in all the delicious goodness and makes for a nice crisp skin. It also helps keep the meat juicy during long cooking processes like smoking. The recipe below should cover a 15- to 20-pound turkey.
Do not stuff a turkey that has been brined. Also do not buy a turkey that has had a saline injection if you are planning to brine it. Really try not to buy a turkey with a saline injection at all. Not only are you paying for salt water as part of the weight, it also means the poultry is not nearly as good to begin with. You will need a very large container to hold the bird and the liquid. I have had good luck using the brining bags made by Glad but it still needs a container to hold the bag up. A strong clear trash bag will work as well. There will also need to be a lot of space in the refrigerator for the container to sit.
Here’s a refresher on how to carve the bird.
- 5 liters water
- 1 1/2 cups sea salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 garlic head, sliced in half horizontally
- 1/2 orange, squeezed
- 1/2 onion
- 1 bunch parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Add all ingredients to a large stock pot except the turkey. Squeeze the orange juice into the brine and then put the remaining orange peel in. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator and let it get cold. Submerge turkey in brine and weigh down with a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. When time is up, remove bird and discard brine. Rinse off and pat dry. Place on a rack and put back in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The turkey is then ready to roast or smoke just let it come to room temperature before cooking.