Spike up your Brine for Brandy Brine Turkey

Here is the best brine ever for the most juicy, tender, and magnificently flavored bird.  This one knocks it out of the ball park.  The caramelized deep rich color of the bird alone will have them falling off their chairs!  I roast mine outside on our Big Green Egg to free my oven for other things.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Brandy Brine Turkey

(Serves 14 with seconds or leftovers)

1/2 c. Brandy
3 T. Molasses
1 c. Kosher Salt
1 gallon plus 2 1/2 c. cold Water
20 Sprigs or 2 T. ground Thyme
1 (14-lb.) fresh organic Turkey

1 Organic Lemon sliced
1 Bay Leaf
5 Sprigs Rosemary
1 Onion cut into large slices
1 head Garlic peeled and chopped

In a large stockpot, mix brandy, molasses, salt, water, and thyme.  Stir till salt is dissolved.  Remove any plastic ties on the legs of the turkey and take out anything in the open cavities.  Check both sides of the bird.  Save your neck and giblets for the dressing.  Rinse off the bird in cold water.  Place the brining bag in the sink and put the turkey into it.  Add the lemon, bay leaf, rosemary, onion, and garlic to the bag.  Pour in the brine, seal and place in a roaster or large bowl.  Refrigerate for 24 hours or overnight.  Place the turkey with the bag back in the sink.  With a sharp knife poke a few holes near the bottom of the bag (so you don't end up with a turkey fountain).  Drain completely, take out the bird, rinse in cold water, and pat dry.  Discard the bag and brining ingredients.  Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan.  Tuck the wings behind the bird.  To do this, imagine the position:  the bird laying on its back with its wings behind its neck (like he is sunning himself).  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rub the bird with olive oil.  You may lightly salt the bird if you wish, however the meat will be already seasoned with salt from the brine.  Roast uncovered until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  Test both sides of the breast.  Also check the breast meat near the leg.  Any juices that come out should be clear.  Roasting times vary depending on the size of the bird you have.  A 14 lb. bird should take 3 1/2 hours.  Start to check the temperature at 3 hours.  Take the bird out of the oven, and let it rest 30 minutes before carving to redistribute the juices back into the meat.

Note:  Allow 1 lb. of turkey for each person if you want to have some seconds and leftovers.

Gravy Note:  To use pan drippings for gravy, add 1/2 cup or so chicken broth to the bottom of the pan after brown bits have developed during the roasting process.  This will keep it from burning.  Keep an eye on it for the rest of the roasting time in case you need to add more.  Keep in mind the juices/drippings will be very salty due to the brine.  Add a small amount to your gravy at first and add more to taste.


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