Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Thanksgiving ~ Turkey Brine and Menu

Thinking about all the delicious Thanksgiving foods is working for me right now!  My friend Kim is having Tried and True Thanksgiving Recipes Week on her cooking blog and today she's talking about the main dishes.

Well, the Main main dish at our house for Thanksgiving is turkey, of course!  For several years, we have cooked our turkey in a bag to cook it faster and keep it moister.  But a couple of years ago we discovered something new - brining.  Wow - what a difference!  It makes your turkey sooooo much juicier and gives it a good flavor too.  I think once you brine, you'll never go back!

Brining a turkey is soaking it in a salty solution overnight before cooking it.  The first year we did it, we just used 1 cup of salt and 1 cup sugar per gallon of water and dissolved it.  It turned out good, but I wanted a more interesting brining solution.  I used a new recipe last year and really liked it.  You can find it allrecipes.com - but I changed it slightly.  Instead of the 4 tablespoons of different spices, I used 4 tablespoons of herbes de provence.

The brine recipes mention putting the turkey in the solution and then in the refrigerator.  Are you kidding me?  Who has that kind of space the night before Thanksgiving?  Here's what we do: we get a new trash bag and put the turkey (after you've cleaned it out of course) in it, then pour the brine over, making sure it fills the cavity too.  Then we seal up the bag, sort of vacuum-packing it to keep the turkey surrounded by the brine.  We keep it in a cooler with ice overnight.  It's best to soak it for 10-15 hours.
***ETA 11/11: I have heard of some issues with using trash bags because they're not food-grade.  We now use a food-grade 5 gallon bucket to soak the turkey in.

Yum!  So good - can't wait to taste it - LOL!  Besides the brined turkey, we usually have some other meat like ham, or tri-tip.  I think this year we'll have ham.  And I do think I have figured out most of our Thanksgiving menu (still subject to some changes though), so I'll share it with you...

Main Dish:
Side Dishes:
That's about enough I think!  Man - you would think we were having 20 people over.  It is far less than that - we just like to have leftovers and send some home with everybody!

Are you hungry now?  'Cause I am!  Guess I've got to work on my schedule and figure out what things can be made ahead and when.  I'm tired already, but this is the way I like it!  And don't worry - sometime during Thanksgiving, I make time to sit and enjoy a Carolans Iced Cream-A-Cino!

You can find more great Works-For-Me-Wednesday ideas at We Are THAT Family!  And you can find more Thanksgiving recipes at Tried and True Thanksgiving Recipes Week!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. I have never heard of anybody doing this! What an interesting idea! I've always used a cooking bag and had good success, but this is very intriguing to me and I might have to think about using it the next time I cook a turkey!

  2. A trash bag! Who would have thunk it? LOL
    That does sound pretty good. I bought two turkeys so I may have to try that with one of them.

    Big I'm going backwards and now you are 2 up on me size hugs to you!

    Was it something I said? LOL
    Have a great day my friend!

  3. Thank you so much for teaching this today. Now I want to try it!

  4. I haven't tried the brine yet. Does it really make a difference. I am brine-curious:-)

  5. We brine our turkey too!!! I love the way it turns out every time! :D

  6. I've always wondered about Brining. It doesn't leave the meat tasting salty, huh? I might just have to give that a try sometime. :)

  7. I keep reading that it's unnecessary to brine, but with such a rave review I might try it anyways. Thanks!


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