The turkey takes center stage on Thanksgiving and every cook probably remembers well her first time preparing that first Thanksgiving turkey. I was a bit of a nervous wreck preparing side dishes, desserts, and that big ole bird as a newlywed in our first home.
My Mother and Grandmother came early just in case I needed anything. I was so thankful they did. My jitters seemed to calm the minute they walked in the door. Grandmother oversaw the timing to make sure everything was cooked perfectly in my single oven, while my Mother took charge of getting everything on the table while keeping us laughing over stories of her first Thanksgiving.
We worked side by side, laughing and talking, with me learning more every minute. And I realized, this was truly a meal for which to be thankful. While the presentation was impeccable and the meal one of the best I remember, the time spent preparing the meal was the highlight of my day.
I learned an important lesson that day. The focus of the day is gratitude, family, and friendships. Preparing the meal with and for the ones you love is a gift – one of which I’m most grateful.
Another thing I learned is the importance of a great brine to a delicious, juicy turkey. I’ve tried a few brining recipes over the years since that first fateful Thanksgiving meal and none I’ve enjoyed more than this easy, savory recipe I received from Kikkoman as part of their Kikk’d Up Thanksgiving campaign.
The simple, yet perfect combination of soy (or coconut aminos), sugar and dried herbs produces a flavorful brine and a savory turkey. I can’t wait to try this same recipe on other poultry soon.
Savory Turkey Brine Recipe
- 2 gallons cold water
- 10 ounces soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried sage
- 2 tablespoons dried celery seed
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Clean turkey by removing neck and giblets.
- Rinse well inside and out.
- Mix water and remaining ingredients in a large stockpot.
- Stir well until all salt is dissolved.
- Place turkey inside a brining bag that has been placed inside a large roasting pan.
- Pour brining mixture over the turkey.
- Close bag tightly and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- Remove turkey from brine, rinse well.
- Follow your regular cooking instructions.