Brine your next turkey with this easy recipe for Buttermilk Sage Turkey Brine. It only takes 5 minutes to make and needs at least 12 hours to rest refrigerated!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and today I’m sharing with you my recipe for Buttermilk Sage Turkey Brine. Last year, was the first year I’ve ever brined a turkey. Of course I’ve only hosted Thanksgiving 3 times now which means I’ve only ever cooked 3 complete Thanksgiving dinners. I took a gamble last year and steered away from my mom’s traditional turkey recipe. She wasn’t really happy with my decision and insisted that I only brine one of the two turkey breast in case my brine failed us miserably. Let me tell you that brining a turkey can be a little tricky in a brining bag and especially so when your 6 months pregnant like I was last Thanksgiving. If you choose to brine in a brining bag, I highly suggest you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen to help. I did and I was so thankful for the help.
After my turkey brined and baked side-by-side to my mom’s traditional salt/pepper/butter turkey it was time for a turkey taste-test. The family lined up and tried a piece of each and everyone (minus my mom) agreed that the brined turkey was much more flavorful and juicy. I had heard all of my friends raving about brining a turkey and I’m glad I’ve joined the brining band-wagon. After brining last year I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the “traditional” way again. So you might be wondering what makes a brine so special? According to Fine Cooking, leaner meat like a turkey, when overcooked by just a few minutes can tend to dry out rather quickly. When you brine the meat it can reduce the moisture loss by as little as 15%. So in a nut shell the brine helps protect your turkey in the event that it is over cooked–keeping the coveted prized bird nice and juicy.
A few things to note here about my recipe for Buttermilk Sage Turkey Brine:
- This recipe was created for a 6.5 lb turkey breast. If using for a larger turkey double, triple, quadruple recipe as needed.
- If you do not have a pot large enough to brine the turkey you can use a brining bag. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, place turkey in brining bag and then pour the brine over the turkey. Place a large bowl/ cupped plate and/or pot underneath brining bag in case of leaks.
So if you’ve never brined a turkey before. I challenge you to try it this year. I promise you this recipe will not fail you and will result in a plump and juicy turkey on Thanksgiving day!
Buttermilk Turkey Brine
- Stock Pot
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorn
- 20 sage leaves
- 6 garlic cloves smashed
- 10 cups warm water
- 1 quart buttermilk
- Place kosher salt, whole peppercorns, fresh sage leaves and garlic cloves in a large stock pot (large enough to cover your turkey breast with a lid on). Then pour in warm water. Whisk water until salt has dissolved (about 2 minutes).
- Pour the buttermilk into the pot. Whisk again then place the turkey inside the pot. Turn the turkey breast so that only a small piece is exposed. Place lid on pot and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and no more than 24 hours.
- After turkey breast has sat in brine for at least 12 hours. Rinse turkey breast off thoroughly and pat dry before baking.
- Brine quantity - This brine recipe is made for a 5-7 pound turkey breast. Double or triple if needed.
- Plan ahead - Make sure you plan at least 12 hours in advance if not the night before your big feast. This is when I'll start the brining process on my turkey breast. Making sure you have ample time for soaking turkey in brine is key!
- Herbs for a turkey brine - There are so many different herb and spice blends you can use for a turkey brine. I like to use fresh sage, thyme, and even rosemary but not all together. I select one star fresh herb and stick with that flavor profile. I personally love to use my sage turkey brine recipe the best. Or you can check out my Buttermilk Thyme & Garlic Turkey Brine.
- Containers for Brining -
- Brining Bag - Let me tell you that brining a turkey can be a little tricky in a brining bag. If you choose to brine in a brining bag, I highly suggest you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen to help. When I have used a bag it's been a life saver.
- Large Stock Pot - I own a very large 10 quart stock pot so I almost always use a large stock pot for my turkey brining. This makes it easier and I don't need to rely on a second set of hands to help me.
- Cooler - If your turkey is really large and you forgot to buy a brining bag or don't have a large stock pot the next best thing to use is a cooler. My recipe can easily be converted so that you can brine a turkey in a cooler. This recipe is made for a 5-7 pound turkey breast. You can double or triple if needed.