I’m going to guess that most of you just pictured something Thanksgiving-based? Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you (that we know of), when most people think turkey they tend to think colder weather, mashed potatoes, and darker beer. But what most people don’t realize is that a nicely brined and roasted turkey breast can be had all year long and is easier than you think to pull off! To make your turkey even more seasonally appropriate, you even can also tailor the brine to the time of year by substituting different seasonal beers – or even use a different protein like pork shoulder or beef brisket.
Brining is simple. Truthfully, it’s just fancy flavored salt water. I chose to use a lighter beer (Riverhorse Summer Blonde) since we’re starting to come into the warmer months, but you could easily use any lighter flavored beer you’d like. I used a standard large soup pot as my gauge for the amount of brine I needed, as I based the recipe around brining one bone-in turkey breast (roughly 6lbs). You can easily double or triple this recipe if you are planning on doing a full turkey or multiple. Make sure to have a good amount of ice on hand to cool down the brine as quickly as possible. I don’t know the EXACT measurement it would be, but it took 4 ice cube trays to cool this bad boy down.
1 1/2 Cups of Kosher Salt
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1 Teaspoon Ground Thyme
1 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
3 Teaspoons Honey
3 Large Oranges (Juice them into the mix and then include the rinds)
6 Cups of Water
On high heat, stir all ingredients and bring to a rapid boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes before removing from the heat. Strain the liquid into another soup pot or large metal bowl and add the ice before refrigerating for one hour. Meanwhile, I prepped and rinsed the turkey breast, removed any giblets and, once the brine was ready, placed the turkey in a large metal bowl before pouring one Summer Blonde over the top. Lastly, pour the brine over the turkey and add a little water if needed to just cover the breast. Return to the fridge and let sit for 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine and discard before roasting (I used a roasting pan with a lid but a good ol’ aluminum pan and tin foil works just fine) at 350 degrees until done. I chose to season the top of the turkey with some herbs de provence and paprika but you could use whatever you’d like.
That’s it. I told you it was easy! Go grab yourself a Summery beer and make your own brine. Oh, and make sure to thoroughly taste your beer first before cooking with it. The general rule of thumb in cooking with beer is to never use a beer to cook with that you wouldn’t enjoy drinking yourself. Also drinking beer is just fun, so there’s that as well.
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