Friday, November 15, 2013

Beer Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

I love this season. Food, food, food, and more food. Plus, so many winter warming beers. Pumpkin beers, dark ales, strong ales, spicy ales, etc. Heavy beers. Heavy foods. More family time. More naps. Eh, you get the idea. Fall and winter are fantastic.

Turkey is pretty much on every plate across America on Thanksgiving. Simple salt and pepper, stuffed, herbs, fruits, smoked, brined, fried....the list goes on. Not many do a beer brine. Lets face it, turkeys are huge, and in my opinion, to do a successful brine with beer, you need a lot of beer. I've done this turkey the past few seasons at my house. And it seems I get more guests as the year goes on just for my turkey. So, I'm here to share with you my recipe. Its the season of giving afterall.

Beer I always choose for this brine is Sierra Nevada's seasonal beer "Celebration Ale" IPA. A wonderful, dry, fruity, and mildly hoppy IPA. And, coincidentally, it just happens to hit Oklahoma shelves every year in November.

Ingredients for Brine
One 12-14 lb turkey
1 gallon of Sierra Nevada "Celebration Ale" IPA (1 gallon equates to 12 12oz bottles)
2 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
6 bay leaves
2 bunches thyme
1 bunch rosemary
3 yellow onions, rough chop
4 celery sticks, rough chop
4 carrots, rough chop
5 tangerines, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 gallon water (ice cold, preferably)

Ingredients for Aromatics
1 bunch Rosemary
1 bunch Thyme
1 cinnamon stick
1 tangerine
1 lemon

Other utensils
1 5gallon food-grade safe bucket
small cooler with an xlarge turkey oven bag and ice

Not going to lie, this is a long process. But the work is minimal. Its really just sitting around and waiting for the most part.

As easy as it sounds....put everything in the brine list (minus the turkey and water) in a large stock pot. Bring to a simmer for 15 min, stirring. Then turn off the heat and let cool.
The brine in the making

Once room temp, add in the gallon of ice cold water. You want the brine to be extremely cold so it doesn't raise the temp of the turkey once placed in the brine. Set brine in fridge to let cool even more. Maybe an hour or so.

Now, you have one of two options....1) set turkey in brine in the 5 gallon bucket and place bucket in fridge to keep cold Or 2) set turkey in brine in an x-large turkey oven bag, tie it off, and then place in small cooler and surround with ice. Then we wait. 36 hours, to be exact. Make sure the turkey is COMPLETELY submerged in the brine.

When time is up, you take turkey out of the brine, rinse the turkey, pat extremely dry with paper towels, and set on counter to allow to rise to room temp.

Preheat your oven to 475. Season with a little salt and pepper in the cavity. Stuff the turkey with aromatics if you like. Truss the turkey. Season the outside with a little salt and pepper. Place in a roasting rack and into the oven. Cook at 475 for 30 min, then reduce heat to 350 for roughly 2.5 hours. Cook until internal temp in the thigh reads 164 degrees, and done!

One of the most important things for meat is to allow for rest. With this size of turkey, simple lay a piece of foil over the top on the counter, and allow to rest for about 30mins before slicing it up.

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