Brine your Turkey with Tamari
November 16, 2018 • Posted in Cook, Eat,
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it's time to thaw the turkey and gather ingredients for your Tamari turkey brine.
Why You Should Brine
Brining serves as a safeguard to avoid a tough, dried out bird. It's a simple mixture of salt and water to help the turkey absorb moisture and seasoning. We've enhanced this brine, minimizing the amount of salt and allowing Tamari Soy Sauce to bring an umami flavor. It's subtle and will blend perfectly with your traditional Thanksgiving menu.
Follow these tips for the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey.
One Day Before Roasting
The turkey needs at least 8 hours to brine, so you'll need to start the process the day before you plan to roast it. If you want crispier skin, start the process two days before roasting to allow a 24-hour drying period.
Gather Your Brine Ingredients
A brine is easily customizable. For a 16- to 24-pound turkey, start with these simple ingredients.
- 2 gallons cold water, divided
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 10 oz bottle San-J Tamari Soy Sauce
This is where customization comes in. Consider boosting the flavor with some herbs, aromatics, and sugar. These ingredients are optional, so pick and choose your favorite combination, or simplify by skipping them.
- 1/2 cup sugar
You can use granulated sugar, coconut sugar, or any liquid sugar. Try molasses, agave, or maple syrup.
- Orange or lemon, wedges or peels
- Red pepper flakes
- Garlic cloves or powder
- Ginger root or powder
- Sage, dried or fresh
- Thyme, dried or fresh
- Bay leaves
- Whole cloves
Prep Your Equipment
Start by gathering your brining container and making space in the fridge or cooler.
You need a container large enough to hold your turkey submerged in 2 gallons of water. You'll also need to keep it cool while it soaks at least 8 hours or overnight.
Here are a few options, depending on where you have space:
- A large lidded stock pot or a food-safe bucket with lid
- The crisper drawer from your fridge, lined with a large brining bag or oven-roasting bag (you'll need to tie this bag once it's filled)
- A cooler with ice
How to Brine a Turkey with Tamari
Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey well, inside and out. Place the turkey breast side down in your prepared container.
In a medium saucepan, heat a small amount of the water, about 1 cup. Add the salt and heat until dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from heat and add the bottle of Tamari Soy Sauce. Then, if using, add sugar and/or aromatics of choice.
Pour the brine solution over the turkey, and then pour remaining cold water over the turkey.
Cover and place in the fridge to brine for 8 hours or overnight.
Once brining is complete, rinse the turkey with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Next, thoroughly clean your sink of any residue from the raw turkey.
You can then roast the turkey or loosely cover it and return it to the fridge for another 24 hours until ready to cook.
Roast as usual. Check the turkey's temperature about an hour before the end of cooking time, as brined turkeys may cook more quickly.
Check out this recipe for Honey Soy Glazed Turkey with complete roasting instructions.
Helpful Tips for a Successful Turkey
Since brining will add salt to your turkey, you'll need to start with one that hasn't been pre-treated. Check the label to make sure nothing has been added to the turkey and that you're getting just the meat and bones.
When determining the size of turkey you need, estimate 1 pound per serving. One pound per person may sound like a lot, but this accounts for bone weight. Plus a generous measure is always good to allow for leftovers.
Start with a thawed turkey. Thaw in the fridge, allowing 24 hours per 4 pounds of turkey. That's 4 days for a 16-pound turkey. A partially thawed turkey will also brine well, continuing the thaw while soaking.
Make sure the solution completely covers the turkey. If more solution is needed, prepare at a ratio of 1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water. If the turkey starts to float, use a dish to weigh it down.
Keep the turkey chilled at all times, either in the fridge or an iced cooler. If you live in a colder region, consider setting the cooler outside.
Do not brine for over 24 hours. More than this will make the meat too salty.
If you want the turkey to have crispier skin, after rinsing the brine and patting the turkey dry with paper towels, place back in the fridge loosely covered to dry for 24 hours.
Afterwards, save the bones to make bone broth.
[Photo credit: Alison Marras on Unsplash]