Stock up now – it takes four quarts of kefir to brine a whole turkey, and it’s the best investment you’ll make this holiday season! For the second day of Thanksgiving Recipe Week we made a turkey brine with plain kefir, which makes the meat extra juicy and gives it mouthwatering flavor. Brining is a 2-day process of soaking a turkey in a salt-based solution to tenderize the meat. As the turkey soaks it absorbs the extra moisture and the salt breaks down the protein. Basically, the turkey is taking a luxurious salt bath. Isn’t our turkey sodium cute?! TIP: brined turkeys cook faster than a turkey that hasn’t been brined, so make sure to regularly check the internal temperature as it cooks in the oven.
Marinating your choice of protein in kefir is a great way to turn tough, bland cuts into tender, juicy masterpieces. This is thanks to two things: lactic acid and the live and live and active probiotic cultures found in kefir. Both work to break down the proteins in meat, making it softer and easier to digest. Because lactic acid is only mildly acidic, it works more slowly than other acidic marinades, meaning you’re generally ok letting the meat rest overnight or throughout the day.
Simple Brine For Full Turkey
- 1 (10- to 14-pound) turkey
- 12 cups Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir
- 7 tbsp fine sea salt
Fancy Brine For Turkey Breast
- 2 cups Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4-6 tbsp garlic seasoning
- 2 oranges
Fancy Brine For Full Turkey
- 16 cups Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir
- 6 tbsp salt
- 7 cups honey
- 4 cups soy sauce
- 2/3 cup garlic seasoning
- 4-6 oranges
- Simple Brine For Full Turkey: Place a large brining bag in a large bowl or sink. Pour kefir and salt in bag and stir to dissolve salt. Place turkey in bag and seal carefully, expelling out air. Double-bag the turkey as needed to prevent leakage, then squish the inner bag to distribute kefir all around the turkey. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 48 hours. Turn the bag every 12 hours so that every part of the turkey gets marinated.
- In a large bowl, wix together all ingredients, except the orange. Place your turkey breast (or turkey) in the bowl, covering the whole turkey with a turkey baster. Let sit for 48 hours
- Preheat the oven 425 degrees
- Place the turkey that has been marinating into a roasting pan, pour remaining marinade overtop of the turkey until covered and there is some settled at the bottom of the pan and place orange slices on and around the turkey. Roast the turkey until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast, without touching bone, registers 150 degrees (about 40 minutes for boneless breast or 50 minutes for a bone-in-breast. For a 25lb turkey unstuffed, cook for 4-5 hours and with a stuffed turkey 4-6 hours). You may want to tent the breast with aluminum foil if it’s darkening too quickly.
- Transfer turkey to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.