I use the following brine for turkey and chickens prior to smoking them. For turkeys I leave them submerged in the brine,in the container in the refrigerator for at least 12 hrs. (24 is preferred) prior to cooking. Chickens need a minimum of 4 hours (10-12 is preferred).
As always,use dried spices only when fresh aren’t available or unless dried is specified. I put all spices,salt,honey into about 2 qts. (1.9 l) of water and warm it on the stove until the salt and honey are dissolved. Then add all the rest of the cold water to my pot. Make sure the solution is not warm when you put your bird(s) in. You want it cold. Notice the ingredients list “ice water.”
The following ingredients show the proportions only. You obviously need to scale these depending on the amount of poultry you are trying to brine.
- 2 gal. (7.6 l) Ice Water
- 1 quart (.95 l) Apple Juice
- 10 oz. (280 g) –Salt (See the *Special Note* in “Why should I brine? for more information)
- 2 ½ cups (590 ml) –Honey
- 2 tbs (30 ml) –Ground cloves (preferable to grind your own instead of using powder)
- 2 tbs (30 ml) –Garlic powder
- 2 tbs (30 ml) –Black peppercorns
- 2 tbs (30 ml) –Allspice berries (you can of course you powdered if necessary but fresh is better)
- 10 –Bay leaves
- 6 –Cinnamon sticks
- 2 –Oranges (quartered,crushed by hand to juice into pot then thrown in)2 –Apples (quartered)
I also add the following to the cavity of the poultry if I’m roasting on the grill as opposed to low/slow smoking. As always,use dried spices only when fresh aren’t available or unless dried is specified.
- 1 –Red apple,quartered
- 1 –Onion,in 1/8ths
- 2 –Whole Cinnamon stick
- 4 –Sprigs fresh rosemary
- 10 –Sage leaves