Cdnpearly's Blog

Pearl's musings

Turkey Day Recap… December 7, 2010

OK,  I’ll say it for you:  “Um, Thanksgiving was almost 2 weeks ago…isn’t it a little late for a recap?”  Why yes, yes it is!  However, that’s how I roll these days…


Here is my ROTW (Recipe of the week).  “Lassens Ultimate Holiday Turkey Brine” courtesy of Lassens.

My husband and I are briners.  Have been for at least 10 years.  This year I tried a new recipe and I have to say, it’s sublime.

1.5 cups kosher salt

1.25 cups brown sugar

10 whole cloves

3 tsp. black peppercorns

1.5 gallons (6 quarts) apple juice or cider

The peel from one orange or one tangerine (color part only–no white pith)

Optional: 3 tsp. dried thyme and/or 3 tsp. dried sage


1.  Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot (use enamel, glass, crockery or stainless steel–never cast iron or aluminum.  The pot should be just large enough to contain the turkey so the brine will be sufficient to cover the bird).  Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow brine to cool completely.

2.  Rinse turkey under cool running water, inside and out (remove giblets from body cavity–these can be used when making turkey stock the next day).  Pat turkey dry with paper towels, then immerse turkey in cool brine.  Turkey should be completely submerged in liquid (place a plate on top of bird if necessary to keep it covered with liquid).

3.  Cover the pot and refrigerate for 8-10 hours.  Remove turkey, rinse, pat dry and roast as usual.

My spin on it:

1.  I added fresh thyme and sage since I had it in the garden.

2.  I used 3 quarts of apple juice (I didn’t read the recipe carefully before hand and didn’t pick up enough apple juice and I was NOT going out to Vons on Thanksgiving night!).  I added a few cups of water and then added a whole whack of ice cubes to the brined turkey to top up the liquid measure.

3.  I placed the brine, the turkey, the ice cubes in a large plastic bag in a cooler that just fit.  I kept it sealed in the garage over night.  When I looked at it the next morning, the ice cubes were still in tact, so I knew it was cold enough.


I am a HUGE fan of the cooking bag. This is a magical device.  I cooked the 12 pound, brined turkey to perfection in less than 2 hours. I follow the directions exactly and it always turns out. The main advantages are:

  • faster cooking times
  • moist meat without basting
  • VERY fast clean up since it’s contained in the bag
  • easy and efficient gravy making–again, all the juices are in the bag.  Simply cut a corner off the bag and pour into a saucepan for gravy

Cons are:

  • hmmmmm…I got nothin’!

No new books to report, the gopher population seems dormant right now (thankfully), holiday season in full swing including craft sales and many musical performances…

I hope your December is merry and bright and not too overscheduled.

All the best to you and your family.


2 Responses to “Turkey Day Recap…”

  1. Thalia Says:

    Funny, I read one of those last lines as
    “gophers are doormats right now.”
    I like it!

    Your turkey looks delicious! And I think it is perfect timing to talk about thanksgiving, since a photo of anything turkey two weeks ago would have had me turning off the computer. 🙂 Overstuffed, to say the least.

  2. Emily Says:

    I’m surprised to be saying this but . . . “that brine (a strange word eh??) sounds really tasty!!!” Not really being a chefy myself, I didn’t know you could add such yummy things to create a brine?!?!? As always Pearly thanks for the post!! Em 🙂

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