Citrus Turkey Brine gives you a moist and tender turkey with a mild flavor. Once the turkey has spent time in the brine, you can prepare the turkey anyway that you like. I prefer the flavor and texture of a brined turkey, so my Thanksgiving turkey will always be brined.
Over the last several years, I have put my turkey in a brine before roasting. I've tried several different brines over the years. The turkey meat is more moist and tender after the turkey has spent some time in a brine. The turkey absorbs the brine, so that it stays moist during and after cooking. The turkey will also absorb the flavors of the brine. A brine is water with a high concentration of salt. You could brine the turkey in just water and salt, but other things added to the brine will enhance the flavor. This brine recipe has citrus, onion and garlic. I found this recipe on the Spruce Eats site.
Making a brine takes a time commitment. You need a large pot to cook the brine on the stove. The brine needs to cool to room temperature, then it is placed in the refrigerator to get cold. Once the brine is cold, the turkey can be added. You can purchase a brining bag that is made to hold the brining liquid and the turkey. It will need to be placed in a large container to support the bag. I have used a large dishpan with the brining bag. Some people use a cooler and skip the brining bag. If you have a large stock pot that is stainless steel, you could use that as well. Be sure the pot is stainless steel, otherwise, the brine could damage the metal and the turkey could absorb a metallic flavor. I have used a large stainless steel stock pot, too. A large plastic or glass container will also work. Just make sure the turkey is fully submerged in the brine.
The turkey should stay in the brine for at least one hour per pound, but not more than 24 hours. After the turkey has spent its time in the brine, the turkey should be thoroughly rinsed so that the salt on the outside is rinsed off. Don't worry, the flavor is in the meat, you won't wash it off. Then, you can prepare your turkey as you normally do.
When I prepare a turkey, I like to put vegan butter under the skin of the turkey breast. I usually melt the vegan butter and add some granulated garlic and granulated onion, then refrigerate it until the butter is solid again. Then, I use that vegan butter under the skin of the turkey. It adds garlic and onion flavors to the breast meat. I use vegan butter so that the turkey is dairy-free. 🙂
If I am preparing a whole turkey, the interior of the turkey gets filled with carrots, celery and onion. As the vegetables cook, they add flavor to the turkey.
I rub olive oil all over the outside of the turkey then sprinkle little salt and pepper on top. This will help the skin to get crispy.
My oven has a temperature probe, so I use the temperature probe to make sure the turkey is done. I set the temperature to 180F. I've seen recipes that recommend temperatures of 130F - 165F. An interior temperature of 180F has produced a moist, tender turkey for me. So, use your best judgement and make sure your turkey is done before serving.
My previous oven did not have a temperature probe. I used a turkey baking bag and a pop-up timer then baked the turkey the amount of time recommended by the instructions that came with the baking bag, and when the pop-up timer "popped". This method also works well after a turkey has spent time in a brine.
Once the turkey is done, let it rest about 20 minutes before carving.
I hope you enjoy!