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
- 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.
- In a large pot, add the onion, garlic and thyme to the brine mixture that has chilled overnight. Add the buttermilk.
- 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.