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In this segment from the "805 with Tom and Sandy" show I discuss some unique Thanksgiving beer pairing opportunities. You can read about them in more detail if click these links.
You can listen to the "Live 805 with Tom and Sandy" show every Saturday morning from 7am-9am PT.
Difficulty: Easy, all you are making is a beer and veggie soup.
Time: 30 minutes to prepare brine.
24-48 hours to brine the turkey (depending on size)
2-4 hours to cook (depending on size)
Beer: Full Sail’s Wassail or any Winter/Holiday beer
Serves: Depending on size of the Turkey. Between 8-20 guests
My favorite time of the year is just around the corner. As many of you know I moved to SoCal from South Dakota a little over four years ago and in that time, I have embraced the SoCal lifestyle. I have learned to stop yelling at bad drivers. I have learned that it can take 30 minutes to go three miles. I have also learned 55 degrees can be really cold! Admittedly, I am fully Californiacated.
The one thing that I can not give up, though, is a traditional Thanksgiving. I am not sure why that is, but I can embrace that rural sentimentality just as much as I have warm sunny winters. So when I first discovered this beer brine it was one of those "ah, Ah, AHHHH" moments. Combining two of my favorite things, overeating on Thanksgiving and beer.
I can not take credit for this recipe and if you like it as much as I do please let the author/chef know how much you do. Tipsy Turkey is a recipe created by Sean Paxton. Sean is known throughout the homebrew community as the Homebrew Chef. I won't copy the exact recipe here, but you can follow this LINK to learn how to make your new favorite turkey brine.
I will tell you that if you haven't made a brine before (I hadn't), follow this easy recipe step by step. It really does need 2 cups of kosher salt but most importantly plan ahead and make the cooked brine version.
I used Full Sail's Wassail Ale and I will be using that beer again this year. You can find this beer at almost any grocery store but I have found that Trader Joe's has the best pricing. It has a wonderful caramel-like malt sweetness and hoppy spiciness that will be absorbed by the turkey as it brines. The hop spices will resonate with the extra spices in the brine.
Modification Option: The first year I prepared this recipe, I didn't have a pan big enough for my turkey. You could say that my eyes were much bigger than my pan. So after 48 hours of brining I cut the meat off the turkey and put it in a slow cooker with all of the beer brine that would fit in the croc pot. It isn't nearly as pretty as the picture above but it was super moist and super tasty!
Photo of Sean Paxton courtesy of www.CraftBeer.com
The beer brine doing its thing during the simmer. I planned ahead and let this cool down for nearly 24 hours in a spare refrigerator before I put my turkey in the brine.
The aftermath. (Sing with me!)
12 Wassail beers,
11 utensils used,
10 slices of bacon,
9 green onion stalks,
8 pounds of ice,
7 bay leaves steeping,
6 cups of coffee (not for the recipe but for the chef),
4 sticks of cinnamon,
3 stalks of celery,
2 cups of salt,
And One 18-22 pound turkey iiiinnn the briiiiiiiine!
One of the fun things about using Full Sail Wassail is reading their fun version of "The 12 days of Christmas" hidden on the backside of the cap.
I used the cheapest plastic tub that I could find (I didn't want to use it for anything else afterwards) and carefully placed the turkey (after it was fully prepped) in the tub. Then I poured the brine into the tub until the turkey was submerged. Scoop out all the left over goodies and discard the rest of the brine.
Baking the Turkey
I used Alton Browns turkey baking procedure to bake this bird. He has a great video (below) that explains this method but you can get the quick rundown by following these three easy steps.
1. 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
3. Wrap breast only with aluminum foil and bake until breast is 165 degrees.
Gratuitous food pictures!