So for the second year in a row, I home brew beer brined a turkey. I learned a few things from last year, and put them towards my quest of a GREAT turkey dinner. This year I made some major improvements in the finished product, but I am still working on it. The bacon homebrew brined turkey experiment of 2016 was off and running!
This year’s recipe included something that we all love…..bacon! To start this process, I added some mustard seeds, and peppercorns to a pot to slightly toast them. After the popping of seeds was heard and the smell in the kitchen became so incredibly good, I added the next round of ingredients. Some brown sugar, salt, and water. After carefully mixing these up next came the beer. This was my first hitch in the road.
When I put the turkey in a 5 gallon bucket, and placed it inside the kegerator to thaw, I must have knocked the CO2 bottle off on a angle a little bit….and loosened the seal of the regulator. After two days, my 5 pound canister that was more than half full was now empty. HOLY DRAFT BEER ISSUES BATMAN! So I immediately tried to use a handheld CO2 adapter and cartridges to pump out some beer. That did not work. After blowing through 3 of them, I did the only thing that an industrious brewer would do. I popped the lid off and poured out some homebrew for the recipe. It created a bit of a mess, but I was in a hurry to get it done…and going to get CO2 was not possible till the next day, and that would be too late for the brine and my timing of cooking the turkey.
I added all the Bye Week Porter beer, the cold water,and the onions to the brine. I put the pound of bacon on the bottom, the thawed turkey on the top, and poured it in. I let that turkey rest for 36 hours in the bucket inside the kegerator.
When it came time to roast the turkey, I removed it from the brine. I patted it dry, and laid the brine soaked bacon on top. The beer in the picture (the main picture for the post) next to the turkey is the Bye Week Porter that I used for the brine. This year I chose a malty beer over a hoppy one.
I roasted the turkey for 2 hours, with just a few quick bastings. At the two hour mark, I removed the bacon, putting it in a frying pan for later, and returned the turkey to the oven for another hour. At the end of 3 hours, the turkey looked ready to rock and roll. Using my thermometer, it was confirmed that this bird was ready to rest.
The gravy was made with the juices from the turkey and the bacon. I added a little flour and cornstartch to make it. It thickened up well, and added a nice level to the meal. The bacon was quickly reheated in a frying pan on low to make it ready for the dinner.
The turkey rested and then was carved up. It was a super juicy delight! The carving went well, and I introduced our new neighbors from France to a “traditional” Thanksgiving turkey dinner….in December. So we called it Fakesgiving.
Some thoughts for next year:
- Use more bacon. I may do a mix of maple smoked and regular bacon
- In the brine, include more of the fresh herbs and fruits in the brine. I liked the touch of citrus last year, and I think the malty goodness of the porter would be a nice mix
- I need to replace my baster….the rubber of the top cracked, and I may have sent some turkey juices flying. I also use this as a thief for pulling samples from my fermenters for gravity testing