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All Citrus Turkey Brine

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This is a good one.


(Yield: Sufficient for 2 14lb Birds)



3 onions

4 garlic cloves, smashed but not chopped

4 bay leaves

2 cups water

10 lbs of ice

3/4 cup non-iodized table salt

2-1/2 qt cold water

1 quart cold prepared lemonade

1 quart cold prepared limeade

2 cups cold fresh orange juice

2 cups cold grapefruit juice

Variety of citrus fruit, cut in sections, peel on (optional)



Note:  Supermarket lemonade and limeade, frozen or in the carton, will work well.


Rough cut the onions and put them in a large kettle.  Add the garlic, bay leaves, 2 cups water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  When the water boils and the salt completely dissolves, remove from heat.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes. 


Add 2 cups of ice cubes, remaining water, fruit juices, and fruit sections (if using).   


Put your cleaned, turkeys (they can be partly frozen, but the cavity must be empty of giblets) in a scrupulously clean, insulated cooler.  Add the brine and submerge them completely.  Put the remaining ice in a bag (a clean garbage bag is fine), secure the top so it cannot leak, and put the ice on top of the turkeys.  Close the cooler tightly, and brine overnight, or up to 48 hours.


Remove the turkey from the brine and make sure it's completely dry before seasoning, etc. Wet turkey means flabby skin.





PS.  This recipe was originally developed for smoked, whole duck.  It works well, but you'll have to scale down the quantities.  Start by dunking the ducks in boiling, acidulated water and onions for a minute or two to loosen the fat, then into the cold brine.


If the ducks are frozen and have stuff in their cavities, submerge the ducks in the boiling water, turn the heat off, and leave them in long enough to defrost the fat, and empty the cavities -- about five minutes.


PPS.  The usual song and dance.  This recipe is original with me.  If you want to copy and share it, please attribute it to me, Boar D. Laze.

Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/14/11 at 10:24am
post #2 of 7



What's your opinion on Goya Naranja agria? I might sub that in for some of the OJ and graprefruit juice. Any problems with it being that acidic in an overnight brine?  Granted, you cut it with a gallon + of ice but still lots of acid.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 7



Am I reading correctly that the majority of the ice, approximately 9 pounds (equivalent to 1 1/8th gallons of water), is for chilling and is not to be permitted to dilute the brine? If so, would there be any problem substituting a 7 pound bag, as that is what our local ice merchants sell?


Am I correct in estimating the amount of actual brine as 1 11/16 gallons?


Do you envision any problems or advantage to substituting 1 or more pounds of ice for one or more pints of water in the brine?



Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Everyone is correct.  First round of drinks is on me.


You can use up to 2 gallons of water to make sure the turkey is submerged.  Use some of the ice and bump the salt up a little.  Nothing is that critical. 


Sour orange (naranja agria) will work, but it's different.  You can get more or less the same effect with this particular brine by simply adding more grapefruit juice.  At the end of the day the turkey will remind you of citrus rather than strongly taste of it.  Yes, there's a fair bit of acid in this brine, but a lot of water too.  It's within reasonable boundaries. 


7# of ice, sure.  This is me fellows.  You know how careful I am about measuring.  


14# of ice is good too, as long as you use some of the excess ice to make daiquiris.  Hemingway daiquiris.  With pink grapefruit juice.  That's right.  Papa liked pink grapefruit juice daiquiris with a splash of maraschino.  He was still a man.  The shark came.  The fish left to run with the bulls.



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/14/11 at 5:43pm
post #5 of 7


I am going to try ur citrus turkey marinating brine this season ... I had made a lovely Calvados - Cider and Apple one last year that was lovely too ... Should be interesting -- however, I rather make my own Lemonade / Limeade ...  

post #6 of 7

I think I'll give this a try, although I need to up the recipe for 4-5 birds...thanks!

post #7 of 7



Boar D' Laze,


The roast stuffed 7 kilo female Galician turkey turned out wonderfully with your Citrus Brine ... Thanks from all our guests and I. The fragrances were just delightful. Happy Holidays to you and your family. The Beef spice rub is next. Margcata.  

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