Monthly Archives: December 2014

Brine Baby, Brine!

I am here to preach the gospel of brining. I get the impression it’s not too widely practiced here in Ireland at Christmas time and I’d like to change that. Turkey needs to spend an enormous amount of time in the oven and there’s nothing worse than a dry turkey, especially when following the stereotypical Irish mammy method of “cooking the shite out of it.” You can baste like crazy but the best way to ensure a good, moist turkey is to start brining it the day before.

I’ve tried one or two other brines but I reckon this recipe is the best. First, here is the list of ingredients:

• About 8 litres of water
• 2 cups of sea salt
• 1 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1 stalk of celery, diced
• 1 leek, diced
• 1 carrot, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 apple cut in four or eight
• 1 orange cut in half
• 1 lemon cut in half
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 small handful of black peppercorns
• 1 sprig each of thyme, tarragon, rosemary, parsley, sage and basil
• 12 oz apple cider
• 1 small handful of fresh cranberries

To start, break out your biggest pot, feck all the seasonings, fruit, veg and herbs into it with about 4 litres of water or as much water as it can handle after you’ve added the other ingredients.

Bring it almost to a boil while stirring frequently. It should look something like this:

Next, pour all the contents of the pot into a big bucket:

Add a small bag, a few trays of ice or as much as you can:

Then add the rest of the water or enough to cover the turkey and the turkey itself:

All you need to do now is just cover it up and pop it in the fridge or keep it topped up with ice as much as possible. Keep the turkey in the brine anywhere between 6 and 24 hours. Enjoy!