How to Make a Citrus Herb Brine – perfect for a Thanksgiving turkey or a Sunday night roast!
This is the perfect brine recipe – full of flavor and simple to make! Perfect for your Thanksgiving Day turkey or just a simple Sunday night roast!
Can you guys believe that Thanksgiving is like a week and a half away!! I am SO excited – although I did a mini Thanksgiving run-through this weekend so I could get some delicious recipes up on the blog for you guys! Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
So this recipe is for a Citrus Herb Brine and then tomorrow I will post the recipe for Roasted Citrus Herb Thanksgiving Turkey (stay tuned! I will give you a little sneak peek below!). Now I love, love, love a classic roasted turkey, (as well as deep-fried turkey) but I also LOVE a citrus herb turkey. There is something about how the citrus flavors combine with all the wonderful fresh herbs and butter (because duh – it’s Thanksgiving and this is THE Thanksgiving turkey – you use real butter). All those flavors just come together so beautifully – it is so delicious.
I know there might be a couple questions about brines so here is a little FAQ sesh for us:
What is a Brine?
A brine is an age-old preservation technique that has been used more recently as a way to infuse moisture and flavor into proteins, similar to a marinade. Your protein sits in a combination of water and salt, along with other aromatics prior to cooking. It is a lengthy process that requires careful planning, but the results are SO worth it!
What is the water to salt ratio for a brine?
Generally, the ratio for a brine is 4 Tablespoons of salt for every 4 cups of water.
How to Make a Brine?
Once you get the water/salt ratio down, you need to ensure you have enough liquid to fully submerge your protein. Then, it is all about designing what flavors you want to infuse – basically, you get to pick what aromatics you want to throw in there. This might depend upon the type of protein and/or what else you are serving for dinner. Let your protein soak for 12-24 hours then rinse and discard the brine liquid. Some recommend letting your protein sit for 4-6 after you remove it from the brine. Personally, I have never done this, but I have talked to others how have – some rave about it and some say they couldn’t tell the difference. I will let you be the judge on that one!
So, I have made a basic brine here, but I have jazzed it up a bit. First of all, I start out with a very high salt-concentrated water in a saucepan and combine my aromatics. Then, I bring this to a boil to help dissolve the salt and to “open up” my aromatics to allow for full flavor-infusion. This is my secret-ingredient so-to-speak! I then proceed to cover the protein with this mixture, along with the rest of my water and let it soak overnight.
It’s so good you guys – and so worth the extra step!!! I promise!
And here is the sneak peek of how I roast the turkey after the brine…..
So excited about BOTH of these recipes you guys!!! So, so, so good. Thanksgiving Dinner good.
I have so many awesome recipes coming down the pipe this week and next – I hope you guys have as much planning your menu as I do!! Have an awesome week!
Oh – and future reference – this doesn’t have to be used on Thanksgiving only! A classic Sunday-night roasted chicken would be PERFECT with this recipe AND it is Whole30 compliant! Such a great way to jazz up your recipes!
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Brine a Turkey using an Herb-Citrus method.
- *This recipe is for a 18-22 lb turkey. For an approximately 10 pound turkey, simply cut in half.
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 28 cups water
- 6 bay leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
- peel of one orange
- peel of one lemon
- Place 6 cups of water, salt and all other ingredients in saucepan.
- Bring to boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring to allow salt to fully dissolve.
- Remove from heat and let water cool down to room temperature.
- Place turkey in brining bag and cover with salt mixture.
- Add remaining water.
- Turkey should be fully submerged – use a plate to weigh down if you need to.
- If additional water is needed, add 1 cup water and 1 Tablespoon salt until fully submerged.
- Let sit at least 12 hours, 24 preferred.
- Remove from brine, rinse and discard brining liquid.
- Roast according to your favorite recipe.
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