Recipe by Smokin' Rogue

Chef JJ's Turkey Brine

Prep Time :
Cook Time :


    Chef JJ's Thanksgiving Turkey Brine 2012


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 12 whole juniper berries
  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 onion, quartered or coarsely chopped (no need to peel)
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed (no need to peel)
  • 1 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 6 rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 orange, quartered or coarsely chopped
  • 1 apple, quartered or coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • Additional water, as needed
  • Turkey


  • In a heavy bottom stock pot, roast the first five ingredients until they become fragrant. Add some water and the rest of the ingredients except for the juice and turkey. Add water to fill the pot. Cook over medium high heat until the water simmers and the salt and the sugar dissolve completely.
  • Allow to cool. Pour into brining bag and add juice. Cool to 45 degrees in cooler on ice.
  • Inject turkey with the brine.
  • Add the turkey to the brine and add additional water to completely submerge bird. Cover the turkey in the brining bag with ice and brine for 1 hour per pound.
  • Once brined, remove turkey from the solution, but retain the solids. Rinse turkey with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and allow the bird to sit uncovered in the refrigerator until the skin becomes tacky to the touch. (This will aid in the color and crispness of the skin while cooking.)
  • Preheat EGG to 225 degrees. Once fire is stabilized, add apple and cherry smokewood chunks. Configure EGG for indirect cooking with platesetter, legs up.
  • If cooking whole turkey, place turkey in V rack in a roasting pan with the brining solids stuffed inside the cavity as aromatics. Any aromatics that don't fit in the cavity can be arranged in the roasting pan around the turkey. Add any desired liquid to the pan.
  • If cooking a spatchcocked turkey, place a drip pan filled with the aromatics and any desired liquid directly on the platesetter beneath the porcelain or cast iron grid. Arrange turkey above drip pan on grid.
  • As a rule of thumb, plan for the cook to take between 35 and 45 minutes per pound. Cook to IT of 165 degrees.
  • Rest at least 15 to 30 minutes before carving. Turkey may be stored for several hours by FTCing.