A Thanksgiving Recap & Turkey Brining Recipe

Hosting Thanksgiving is fun! Especially when everyone who attends also helps a ton. We had 35 total people including ourselves plus one dog. Everything was wonderful! 

Wednesday night, after work, Caroline, Kevin, Andrea & Jessica and I walked to The Buoy Bar to drink Pumpkinhead and see Point Lookout's own Piping PLOvers play all the classics! Some of us went home for a very reasonable early to bed/early to rise idea. Others decided to close all the bars in town. 

Nighttime cousins' walk to the bar!

Nighttime cousins' walk to the bar!

PLOvers in action!

PLOvers in action!

Thursday morning was a real challenge - it is not easy to take 25 lbs of bird out of a few gallons of garlicky liquid without making a mess. After the Army brother arrived from the airport and picked up all our Salt Air Cafe appetizers and sides (thanks Tom!), it was smooth sailing. Once everyone arrived with their dishes and set-up was underway, it was a bit more chaotic. But it was a fabulous day. Everything was delicious and seating wasn't that big a deal. 

Also! Since some of the cousins arrived early and we had a little time before the feast began, we went down to the beach for an impromptu, cheesy family photo session. As Aunt Helen said, the beach was like the 4th of July - it was so crowded because it was SO WARM and so beautiful and so Thanksgiving-y. 

Caitie & Caroline Tryin' Brinin': The Recipe

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

I realize that a Thanksgiving Recipe won't be that useful on the blog AFTER Thanksgiving...but, still, here is the recipe we used for the Turkey Brine this year. 

Caroline came in from the city on Wednesday, and two cousins came in from New Jersey with the stuffing so we would be able to stuff the bird in the morning. So we all worked together to make this Brine and get grossed out by giblets and raw turkey flesh. 

Don't worry, we managed to stay in theme and make every step of this process as messy as possible! Our turkey was 25lbs, and we may have improvised with some ingredient amounts. but you get the general idea. Plus, the making of the brine is super easy. It's the handling of the giant bird that is difficult. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Apple Cider
  • 2 gallons Cold Water (+more if necessary)
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary (removed from stem)
  • 6 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 cups Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 6 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 6-8 Clementine Peels (or 3 Large Orange Peels)

We spent so much time arranging the ingredients just so. And totally forgot the Brown Sugar! I think Caroline rearranged them 10 times. It's a real time waster. 

You can go ahead and skip this step. 

First real step, I guess, is to eat a bunch of oranges or clementines and save the peels. And then to remove the rosemary leaves - just pull them backwards on the stem! Dont' forget to make a huge mess while doing this. 

Next, fill up the pot with the water and apple cider - preferably by making up to 10 trips with a 4-cup measuring cup instead of just getting gallon jugs. 

Throw in the Salt, Pepper, and Minced Garlic, which we bought in a jar instead of mincing ourselves, thankyouverymuch.

Add the Bay Leaves!

Add the peels!

Add the Rosemary!

Turn the heat on high, stir until salt and sugar dissolve, bring to a boil, then cover &  remove from heat.

Once it is cooled completely, pour into a large brining bag or pot with fresh, uncooked turkey & refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours. In the morning, discard brine and then rinse & pat the turkey dry. Roast as usual.

Optional: have your spectator sister use the ringlight to take spectacular selfies.

Last, visit your neighborhood bar smelling strongly of clementines and garlic!