The traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner is one of the highlights of the year, but turkey is a meat you can cook any time! A turkey is an easy bird to cook, too, but what about giving it a new twist? You may already brine your turkey – it’s the best way to get it soft and juicy as it is easy to cook a turkey to a point where it gets too dry. He only question is – what do you brine a turkey with?
Standard brine is a mixture of water, spices and herbs, and perhaps cider, all chosen to your own taste. What we’re going to suggest may come as a surprise. We are going to tell you how to brine your turkey with tequila and we reckon once you’ve tried this you’ll never look back! Why tequila? It’s the spirit that gives the best flavor to turkey and one that goes well with the spices and herbs. Let’s start by looking at what you need, and then we’ll tell you how to create your brine and cook your turkey to perfection.
Ingredients for Tequila Brine
First, you’ll need some tequila! We’re talking about a 20lb bird here, so we recommend one or two bottles of tequila. Which brand or type you choose is up to you, but we do recommend anejo or reposado in 1.75 bottles. If that sounds a lot, bear in mind it will cook down once in the oven. You’ll need the following basics too:
- 10 cups of water
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of sugar, brown preferably
- A gallon of apple cider or cider vinegar
- The rind of several oranges
That’s the basics, now on to the additional items. We’re not going to give you a list here, but what we will do is say that sage, thyme and rosemary are the combined herbs we use, plus a selectin of peppers, limes and chilli, plus fruits to stuff the bird. Now that you know what you need, we have a few tips on getting it right, so read on!
How to Get the Brine Right
Back to what we said above, there is no right or wrong way to make your brine, but there are ways to get it as best you can. One important tip is to make sure you get the heat right. A rolling boil is ideal, and that’s when you start to add your sugar, salt and other ingredients – but not the tequila! You need to wait until the turkey is in the bag before you add the tequila, then the ice, and then let it stand and steep. For a 20lb bird leave it in the bag for a full day and night, and you’ll have a bird ready for the oven.
Use whatever runs you want on your bird, make sure it’s well massaged and covered, and cook as instructed – and there you have a tequila turkey that will seriously wow your guests!
Other Unusual Turkey Brines
While we’re talking about tequila it’s not the only spirit that you can use to make brine for a turkey – or indeed for chicken – but we reckon it gives the best taste and sits nicely with the spices and fruits. You could try any of the most popular spirits in the USA if you wish. A nice smooth bourbon would make a good basis for a brine, and a whisky would also work. But, when it comes down to it, it’s tequila that we keep coming back to and there’s a reason for that.
Tequila carries more flavor than perhaps any other spirit. You could use vodka, for example, but the added flavor would not be as prevalent as tequila. Also, the natural spiciness of tequila makes it a great choice for basting or making brine for any meat, although it is just about perfect for poultry. With different types of tequila to experiment with there are many ways you go, and we know that once you cook a turkey this way it will become the only way from now on. Get yourself a bottle or two of tequila and some spices and fruits and make your next turkey a tequila turkey!