As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time to elevate your traditional turkey game and introduce a flavorful twist to your holiday feast. This year, we’re turning to the magic of beer to infuse our turkey with a rich, complex taste that will leave your guests asking for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
Why Brine a Turkey in Beer?
Brining is a time-honored technique that involves soaking meat in a solution of salt, sugar, and various aromatics. This process not only imparts incredible flavors but also helps to keep the meat juicy and tender. This is especially important when roasting a whole bird, since the dark meat takes longer to come to temperature than the white meat, which can dry out as a result.
By incorporating beer into the brine, we’re taking things to a whole new level. Steeping your bird in a toasty ale will impart a beautiful layer of umami nuttiness to the meat while also giving the finished skin a gorgeous brown color.
What Beer is best for Beer-Brined Turkey?
It depends on what you are going for. Really, you could use any beer you want and it will still be more flavorful than a basic water and salt brine. But there are a few beer styles that we would recommend over others for a turkey brine:
- Porters and stouts have a robust, almost chocolatey flavor that pairs exceptionally well with rich foods, like turkey.
- Belgian ales, with their toasty esters, are true workhorses when it comes to enhancing a meal. They would do nicely for your beer-brined turkey, too.
- Spiced beers with notes of citrus and cinnamon can work extremely well in a brine. Many traditional turkey brines already incorporate warming spices, like allspice berries and candied ginger; and the turkey cavity is often stuffed with aromatics that include sliced lemon or orange. You can skip adding those and use a seasonal lager, like Diebolt’s Joyeux Noel, to brine your turkey and incorporate those festive flavors.
Beer Brined Turkey Recipe
For the Brine:
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
Four cans of Diebolt Brewery Joyeux Noel Spiced Lager
1 gallon of vegetable stock
½ gallon ice water
For the Turkey:
1 whole turkey (12-15 pounds)
2 onions, quartered
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Brine:
- In a large pot, the vegetable stock, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Then stir in the water, beer, peppercorns, and bay leaves.
- Put the turkey (innards removed) in a large container and cover it with the brine. If it is not fully submerged, add more water. Seal the container and place it in the refrigerator for 2 days.
- Cook the Turkey
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and transfer to a roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff with quartered onion, rosemary, thyme, and halved head of garlic.
- Coat the skin of the bird with vegetable oil or softened butter.
- Roast for 30 minutes at 500 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 161 degrees. This should take between 2 to 2.5 hours.
- Rest the turkey for 15 minutes before carving.
- Receive adoration and recipe requests from impressed guests.
Holiday Beer Brings Holiday Cheer
This beer-brined turkey is a show-stopping centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, blending the rich and malty notes of beer with the succulent juiciness of a perfectly brined bird. It’s a celebration of flavors that will have your guests toasting to your culinary prowess. Just don’t forget to stop by the Diebolt brewery today to get your Joyeux Noel before we sell out! That would be sad.