Apple & Ale Brined Turkey

That's only half of the turkey. There were enough leftovers for four days of sandwiches.

We know we’re a little late on the whole Thanksgiving recipe bandwagon, but with the holiday season in full swing you can use our tasty beer brine recipe to punch up almost any roasted meat situation. Turkey, chicken, pork loin, pork chops, basically if it’s fowl or pork it can be brined. Since we were at our parents’ house we used a local microbrew – Sackets Harbor Brewing Company’s 1812 Amber Ale – to bring the thunder, while apple cider makes things appropriately autumnal.

Equipment Needed: Large Roasting Pan, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot, Large Pot/Clean Bucket/Container (to hold the meat and brining solution in the fridge), Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Aluminum Foil, Meat Thermometer

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: Depends on how large your bird is

Suggested Wine Pairing: Beaujolais Nouveau, Pinot Noir, Oaky Chardonnays, Riesling

Suggested Beer Pairing: Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Winter Ale, Belgian Browns

Ingredients:

NOTE: We brined a 19.5 lb bird with this recipe. We recommend halving it if you’re preparing anything under 10 lbs, just be prepared for a much more concentrated flavor.

  • 1 six-pack of amber or brown ale (72 oz) (price varies)
  • 8 C apple cider ($3.49/gallon)
  • 2 carrots ($1.99/lb)
  • 3 celery stalks ($2.99/lb)
  • 2/3 C kosher salt ($2.29/48 oz box)
  • 2/3 C sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary ($4/package)
  • 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz jar)
  • Ice (free; amount will vary)
  • Water (free; amount will vary)

Preparation:

  • You’ll want to brine your meat for an absolute minimum of 1 hour and as much as a couple of days. We brined our turkey for about 18 hours which made for some very tender meat and a faint cider flavor. Knowing this you’ll need to start making the brine about an hour before you plan to soak your meat.
  • Add your sugar, salt, four beers and four cups of cider to the 3 quart pot. Stir well and put it over high heat. Continue stirring until the solids have dissolved and bring the mix to a boil, making sure that nothing burns.

Beer makes everything better, especially turkey.

  • While the mix is brewing, prep your turkey by giving it a good rinse and removing the giblets.
  • Remove the brining solution from the heat and transfer it to your bucket/pot/receptacle. After about 15 minutes of cooling add the other two beers and remaining four cups of cider. Throw in about six cups of ice and give it a good stir to melt the cubes.

Cool things quicker with an ample helping of ice.

  • Once the solution has reached room temperature (or cooler) submerge the bird breast-side down and add the rosemary and peppercorns. You want to make sure the meat is fully submerged so if there’s anything exposed top it off with water and a bit more cider if you desire. Pop that puppy in the fridge and let the goodness soak in.

Top it off with cider for a more pronounced flavor.

  • When you’re ready to cook your turkey remove it from the brine, rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

During the pat-down we could swear the turkey yelled, "Don't touch my junk!"

  • Cut your butter into 1/4 inch pats. Carefully separate the skin from the meat and insert the pieces in between to keep things juicy while it cooks. Cut the celery and carrots into three-inch pieces and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey.

This money shot was brought to you by the letter "Butter" and the number "Moist."

  • Line the roasting pan with enough aluminum foil to line the bottom and cover the bird. Place the turkey in (backside down if you need reminding) and cover with the excess foil.
  • Pop that gobbler in the oven and cook it for approximately 15 minutes for every pound. Check it after 2 hours to make sure it hasn’t cooked too quickly. It’s ready when the internal temperature is 165°F when taken from the thigh. To make sure the skin gets nice and crispy peel back the foil for the last 30 minutes of roasting. Once you’ve taken it out of the oven cover it back up with foil and let it rest for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve, be thankful for your food and friends, and enjoy.
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