This year, I was going to use the brine I developed last year that turned out so lovely, but there was a problem. I only have a splash of bourbon, not enough for the amount of brine I planned to make.
Instead, I substituted a bottle of Guinness for the booze and you know what? It turned out a very savory bird that was extremely juicy. Even better, the gravy picked up that savory flavor, too. I think I liked this one better, to be honest!
Apple Guinness Brine
2 quarts apple juice
1 quart chicken stock
1 12 ounce bottle Guinness (or other ale)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons sage
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
This time around, I didn't grind the pepper because I had an unfortunate pepper mill accident last week and melted the mill off the package. It actually imparted decent pepper flavor during the 16 hour soak, but I like a little more pepper bite.
I put all the ingredients into a 5 quart stock pot and got it to barely warm and let it sit there for about 15 minutes to marry the flavors. Then I turned off the heat and allowed it to cool down for about a half hour. Then, I placed our 13 pound bird into our brining bucket
, added ice to the top, and placed it out in our chilly garage.
I like to brine overnight, you may want more or less. Once the salt level equalizes between meat and brine, it doesn't keep adding salt. Normally, that bucket will sit in the fridge, but the garage fridge died-as long as it is kept iced, you're good.
Once you're close to cooking time, take the bird out of the brine, rinse thoroughly and allow to sit for an hour before cooking. Since I don't stuff and cook on the grill, I did an hour at 400 and 90 minutes at 325 and got a perfectly tender bird. I did pour a cup of turkey stock over it every 45 minutes, which helped in making the awesome gravy, honestly.