BUTTERMILK BRINE (enough to brine a 20 pound turkey)


1 quart water

1-½ cups commercial turkey brine or homemade brine mix

1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds

turkey brine, prepared 1 day earlier and chilled

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

one bunch of thyme

4 quarts cold buttermilk

a large brining bag

  1. Make the brine. Bring 1 quart water to boil with the commercial or homemade turkey brine mix.  Simmer over low heat, stirring, until brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes.  Let cool completely to room temperature, then chill overnight.  Continue the next day.
  1. In a large pot, add the onion, garlic and thyme to the brine mixture that has chilled overnight. Add the buttermilk.
  1. Rinse the turkey under cold running water, remove the heart, neck, gizzard and liver from both cavities (reserve for gravy), and place turkey, breast down, in a large brining bag (heavy duty ones are available from Williams Sonoma and other kitchen stores).  Put the bag inside a 5 gallon container (or, better still, a cooler), carefully pour in the brine and seal bag.  Weigh turkey down with a plate if it is not submerged.  Refrigerate (or leave in the cooler) for 24 to 36 hours.



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