Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

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Smokin Mike
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Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

Post by Smokin Mike »

Credit: https://www.thespruceeats.com/maple-and ... ine-333863
Additional resource on how to brine a turkey; https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-br ... key-336400

I've tried a handful of holiday turkey brines and I keep coming back to this one. It has a rich smoky flavor and the turkey is always juicy.

I double this recipe (2 gallons) to brine a 12 to 15 lb. turkey.

Ingredients:
  • 4 quarts/3.8 liters water (See Note 1)
  • 2 cups/475 ml dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups/360 ml maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup/180 ml sea salt
  • 3/4 cup/180 ml soy sauce
  • 5 to 6 whole cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 3 large sprigs thyme
  • 2 teaspoons/10 ml whole peppercorns
Steps:
  1. Place 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water and the other ingredients in a large pot. (See note 2)
  2. Heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved.
  3. Allow brine to cool by adding chill water or ice (Note 1) or covering and set outside (assuming cold temperatures).
  4. Once brine is cool place turkey and brine in a food safe container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  5. Before cooking, rinse the turkey thoroughly.
Notes:
  1. Ice can be used to chill the solution. A gallon of frozen water is 8.34 lbs / 3.78 kg. Calculate accordingly.
  2. Use a non-reactive pot to heat the solution; Stainless steel works. No copper / no aluminum / no carbon steel (cast iron).
  3. Placing the turkey in warm brine will poach it. Not good! Always use chilled brine.
  4. Make sure your turkey is "minimally processed" meaning not heavily injected with sodium based solution from the factory.
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Burnbern
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Re: Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

Post by Burnbern »

Thanks Mike I was looking for a brine. I bought a 9lb turkey, first turkey I’ve ever bought, and going to try smoke it. Never done this before or first time ever cooking one.

After you’ve brined it what rubs would you use and what temp would you smoke at. Also roughly how long would the cook take.
Does the skin come out crispy when finished
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Smokin Mike
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Re: Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

Post by Smokin Mike »

Hi Burnbern, good to see you.

I would not recommend using any type of dry rub after using this brine. There's a lot going on with respect to flavor in the brine and in my opinion you risk over seasoning it with a dry rub. Your other option is just use a simple salt brine then use a dry rub, without salt of course. I've posted a poultry rub in the Dry Works section; viewtopic.php?f=24&t=70 that works really well on chicken. I would use it on turkey also if that's what I wanted to do, minus the salt.

Poultry likes the heat, so running the cooker anywhere between 275° and 350°F / 135° and 176° C is ok. I use a temperature probe in the deep part of the breast and when it gets to 165°F / 74°C I pull it and let it rest for a few moments. If you want to capture some of the juices then you can smoke it in an aluminum pan. I do this during the second half of the cook to get some juices because my crowd always likes turkey gravy. It typically takes about 3 hours to cook a 12 lb / 5.5kg bird.

The skin will be rubbery so to get it crispy you'll really have to jack up the heat at the end.
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YukonJasper
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Re: Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

Post by YukonJasper »

Timely advice. Thank you.
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