This is the turkey brine receipe I’ve been using, adapted from this one by Traeger. The first time I used it, it was identical to their instructions but I’ve since boiled it down to what I consider the basics.
- 20 cups of water AKA 5 quarts
- 1–1/2 cups of kosher salt
- 2 cups of bourbon
- 2 cups of maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 6–8 cracked up bay leaves
Mix everything in a big pot. I start with the water and salt on high heat to get it broken down and then add the other stuff. Heat until just shy of a roaring boil. Let it cool off, you can add ice if you want to speed up the process, keep in mind it dilutes the brine.
Submerge and refrigerate for between 12 and 24 hours. (Don’t forget to remove the neck and gibblets from inside the turkey!)
When ready to cook, remove and rinse. Discard the brine since it’s a giant biohazard from having a dead animal float around in it for a day.
Slice up oranges and onions and insert them into the belly of the beast. Salt and pepper the exterior.
I smoke the turkey for 2 hours on the Traeger, and then cook at 350F for about 3 hours. Traeger has you use melted butter over the bird during cooking but I have realatives with milk allergies so that doesn’t happen. Make sure the thickest part of the bird reaches 165F with your meat thermometer. (Don’t rely on the little plastic popper.)
Remove from heat and let it rest for an hour before you do anything with it. When ready, remove the stuffing and discard, then slice and dice. Try not to eat all of it before you serve it to your guests.
Tell me you don’t want that.
Happy turkey day.