Last November I set out to create a brine for poultry. I looked at many different recipes online and took from many what I believed would be a become a great brine. After considering my options I decided on a brine that included many herbs – though not including juniper berries was a tough decision.
The brine finally came down to being mostly salt with sage as the base herb and rosemary, thyme and savory in the mix as well. Many of the options I looked at utilized chicken stock as the liquid. However, I was able to cut down on the total salt in the brine and still make it without using liquids with the addition of two cubes bullion cubes. In the end this turned out to be the an amazing mix.
The initial test soaked the turkey for 24 hours (and this one came out perfect). I also used this recipe for Thanksgiving – however this time the turkey was put into the brine late and only got an 18 hour soak. I and everyone else could definitely tell the difference. But recently (June 14, 2011) I cooked a turkey that I had in the brine for 48 hours – it was just as good if not better that the original test bird. This completely validated that if you’re going to brine a turkey, it needs to be done for at least 24 hours.