Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.

In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Buttermilk brined turkey

GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
edited October 2011 in EggHead Forum

I found this recipe at Williams-Sonoma and it got 15 - 5 star reviews. I'm thinking that a buttermilk brine might be "the" brine for the bird this Turkey day. An egger wrote a review and gave it 5 stars also.

Buttermilk-Brined Turkey
Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat. In this recipe our brine mixture also includes buttermilk, which adds flavor to the turkey and helps keep the meat moist.
1 1/2 cups turkey brine
1 quart water
4 quarts buttermilk
1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved,
  if desired)
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the turkey brine and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the brine mixture cool to room temperature. In a large pot, stir together the brine mixture and buttermilk.

Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and place in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the buttermilk brine mixture into the bag. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and place in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the skin evenly with the butter. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. After about 2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 14.


WOW! Best Turkey Ever
Made this yesterday for our Canadian Thanksgiving. It was the BEST turkey ever! I will forevermore brine turkey in buttermilk. We cooked it on the big green egg, directly on the grill with the plate setter holding a drip tray. It was amazing! Thank you William's Sonoma chefs for this recipe.
Pros: Easy, Appearance, Impressive, Will Make Again, juicy
Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !


  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,335
    Thanks, I think I'm gonna try that too!  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • Thanks Grannyx4 for posting that recipe.  It reads like it would be a winner.  I may add a small sprig of rosemary and 2 sprigs of sage ad 4-6 whole peppercorns to the brine.  Then just butter the skin and under the skin.  Thanksgiving will be here ergo the eggs will get a workout.
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    I've been buttermilk brining my chickens but I couldn't find much info on doing the turkey. I found it interesting that everyone who wrote a review gave it 5 stars. Usually that many people won't all agree. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will agree with them too.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Tt. Have you tried buttermilk brine? What it really does is sweeten the poultry and gives a nice flavor. We all know that the bird is going to be moist on the egg. I'm looking for good flavor.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • T_t.  In southern cooking buttermilk has long been used as a tenderizer for poultry...think yogart in Indian cooking....Grandparents in law were chicken farmers, but grandma would only eat mature yard hens and she always brined them in buttermilk.  Nothing better that buttermilk brined southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes, beans from the garden and a buttermilk pie for dessert.  Now that is good eats!
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    edited October 2011
    Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat.

    Yep! That's what it said. You are so right. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • It says it needs 1 1/2 cups of turkey brine, but they don't mention how to make the 1 1/2 cups of turkey brine.
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    You buy it at Williams-Sonoma. This was a recipe from their web sight. But you could use your own salt brine mixture with kosher salt and spices of your choice.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Ok, but the bottom line is that buttermilk is a good thing. Have a good time at your brothers and be nice to little old ladies.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • If you like that kit from W.S., you should try their Ad Hock Fried Chicken Kit. It comes from Chef Thomas Keller's Napa Valley restaurant recipe. It is AMAZING!!! Here is the link in case you want to look into it.|ad+hoc+fried+chicken+kit|1|best|0|1|24||1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_- 
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Thanks - I'll check it out.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • This may be a dumb question; but, how do you make the 1 1/2 cups of turkey brine that that the recipe calls for that you use to make the buttermilk brine? My understanding is that brine is made of kosher salt and water and whatever spices you chose to use....what makes it turkey brine? Is it using leftover juices from a previous turkey roasting? This is my first time using the BGE for Thanksgiving and want to do a dry run this weekend.
  • lwrehmlwrehm Posts: 297
    Gofterdawg...Williams-Sonoma sells their pre-mixed brine mix.
  • jllbmsjllbms Posts: 381
    Here's a similar recipe from [email protected]  This one explains everything and you might find that helpful.  John.

    Buttermilk Brined, Butter Stuffed

    Start thawing the turkey about 3 days
    before you are ready to use it. Remember that turkeys thaw at a rate
    of about 5 lbs per day. If you have to hurry with it, you can put the
    turkey in a sink of cold water but you have to replace the water
    every 30 minutes and I don't recommend doing this from the git-go.

    Try to defrost as much as possible in
    the fridge then if it's still a little frozen when you are almost
    ready to use it, use the water method to finish it off.

    It needs to be completely thawed in
    order for the brine to work correctly.

    Brining the bird

    The first step in getting the bird
    ready is brining it. Putting meat down in a particular ratio of salt
    and water (or other liquid) causes a reaction and somehow through
    osmosis and other scientific terms that I really don't know a lot
    about, the salty water is pulled into the bird. The water molecules
    attach themselves to the protein strands and this just leads to a
    juicier bird in the end.

    When you cook a bird, moisture is going
    to be lost. So by adding more moisture to the bird, even though we
    did not prevent the moisture loss, we are left with a lot more juice
    inside that we would not have had in an unbrined bird.

    Needless to say, you and I don't have
    to understand exactly how it works but suffice it to say that it does
    work very well and if you try it, I fully believe that you will see
    and taste the difference.

    The cool thing about the brine being
    pulled into the meat is no matter what you put in the brine, it will
    end up inside the bird.. it just works that way. For this reason, we
    add spices, juices, beer, wine, and anything imaginable to the brine
    as a better way to get it into the bird.

    Injecting the bird also accomplishes
    this task and is faster but I feel that the brining process is far
    superior when time and space allows it.

    So let's get to brining!

    The first thing you'll need to know is
    how much brine you're going to need to make.. this is easy.

    Place your turkey in the brining
    container such as an empty ice chest, large bowl, Jumbo 2-1/2 gallon
    ziploc, etc. and pour plain water over it to see how much brine it
    will take to cover it. Discard water when finished making a note of
    how much water was required to cover the bird.

    My 12 pound bird required just under 2
    gallons to cover it in a small ice chest.

    Now that we know how much we'll need,
    go ahead and mix up the brine adjusting the recipe if you need to
    make less or more than 2 gallons.

    Jeff's Buttermilk Brine for Poultry


    1 gallon buttermilk

    1 gallon water

    2 cups kosher salt

    6 TBS Jeff's rub recipe


    Pour buttermilk into 1 gallon pitcher.
    Add 1 of the cups of salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add
    the 6 tablespoons of rub and stir again until well mixed.

    Pour brine into brining container.

    Pour water into the 1 gallon pitcher
    and add the last cup of salt stirring until it is completely
    dissolved. Pour into brine container with buttermilk brine and stir
    both together to mix.

    Q: Why not add both cups of salt to the
    buttermilk or the water all at one time? A: Only so much salt will
    dissolve in a gallon of liquid and I did not want to push those
    parameters. Feel free to try it if you wish.

    Once the 2 gallons of brine are in the
    brining container, it's time to submerge the turkey in it.

    Remove the packaging from the turkey
    and be sure to remove the neck, giblets and anything else that might
    be in the birds cavity.

    Place turkey down in the brine and use
    a heavy plate, bowl or even a bag of ice to weigh down the turkey if
    it tries to float. It is important that it be completely submerged.

    The turkey must stay between 33 and 39
    degrees for it to be safe so the fridge is the best place to keep a
    brining turkey if possible and you have the room.

    If you cannot use the fridge then you
    will have to use one of the following methods:

    1. Add some ice to the brine (see photo
    above) to get the temperature down to where it needs to be. Use a
    thermometer to make sure the temperature is in the "safe"

    2. Place the turkey with the brine in a
    very large ziploc or plastic bag. Set the closed bag down in an empty
    ice chest and pour ice all around the bag to keep it cold. This will
    keep the brine from being diluted.

    I usually just use the first method
    since most of the ice does not melt throughout the night and I have
    had really good results using that method.

    Let the turkey brine for 10-12 hours
    then rinse well under cold water and set aside.

    Seasoning the Turkey

    I usually place the seasoning on the
    outside of the turkey and try to get a little under the skin wherever
    possible but this time I had this bright idea to flavor some butter
    with my rub, some garlic and a few chives and to stuff that under the
    skin.. all the way under.

    Great idea so let's make up that
    butter.. it's easy!

    Garlic, Rub and Chive Flavored Butter


    1 lb "real" butter

    2 Roasted Garlic heads (see directions
    below) or 2 TBS minced garlic (easier)

    1/2 cup of Jeff's Rub recipe (adds
    amazing flavor)

    3 TBS of fresh chopped chives


    Let butter sit on counter for several
    hours to soften slowly. Place butter into medium sized bowl and beat
    on low speed for about 1 minutes or until it is nice and creamy. Add
    rub, garlic and chives and use a fork to fold it all in and make sure
    it is well mixed.

    I wanted the butter to be cold when I
    put it under the turkey skin so I formed it into a rectangular block,
    wrapped it in wax paper and placed it into the fridge a few hours
    before I needed it.

    You can use the minced garlic in this
    recipe and it is very good but I am partial to the smoke roasted
    garlic and if you want to take the time to do it, it's not difficult
    and I think you'll really like it.

    How to Smoke Roast Garlic

    Make sure the garlic head is clean. Cut
    off the top about 1/2 inch down or so just so you can see the top of
    some of the cloves. Leave the skin on.. it won't hurt a thing.

    Place the heads of garlic in individual
    foil boats.. just press some foil around the bottom of the head but
    leave the top spread open.

    Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top
    and place them in the smoker at normal smoking temps of 225-250 for
    about 2 hours or until they are soft and mooshy.

    Cheat: roast in the oven at 275-300 for
    about an hour. No smoke but it'll still be good.

    When done, let them cool for a bit then
    use a butter knife to pop the cloves out of their little cocoons.
    Mash them up a bit and you have garlic puree that can be spread on
    toast or added to butter for some flavor.

    Stuffing the Turkey with Butter

    The turkey has been brined, rinsed and
    is ready for some flavor. Take the flavored butter out of the fridge,
    and slice about 1/3 of it into pieces that are about 1/8 inch thick.

    Now, in order to properly stuff the
    butter under the skin we have to very carefully loosen the skin from
    the meat so we can really get up under there. Lay the turkey breast
    side down and work your hand under the skin little by little all over
    until it is loose from the back and from the sides.

    Starting with the sides and working
    toward the backbone, stuff the pieces of butter between the meat and
    the skin so that it completely covered with the butter. No need to
    massage it or press it smooth. If you have some extra pieces, throw
    them into the cavity of the turkey and it's ready to smoke. A little
    rub on the outside for good measure!

    I like to save the metal piece that
    holds the legs together and reuse it at this point to hold things
    together a little better while it smokes. Regular butcher twine will
    also work to tie things up a bit if you are so inclined.

    Smoking the Turkey

    Whether you are using a gas, electric
    charcoal or wood smoker, do what you have to do to get it going and
    set it to maintain about 240 degrees. Once the smoker is holding
    steady and producing light smoke, place the turkey directly on the
    grate breast side down to allow all of that butter to do it's job on
    the sides of the turkey and then ooze down toward the breast meat.
    This will make the breast meat really juicy.

    If you are cooking a 12 lb bird which
    is the recommended size for smoking, it will take around 6 hours at
    225-240 degrees +-30 minutes.

    Use a digital probe meat thermometer to
    tell you when the turkey reaches 165 in the thickest part of the
    breast or thigh.

    Don't use the little red popup to tell
    you when it 's done.. it is normally set to 180 degrees and that's
    overcooking the bird. I usually remove and discard.

    Important: When smoking meat, use time
    to estimate and plan, use a thermometer to cook.

    Once the turkey has reached it's goal
    temperature, remove it from the smoker and set it aside with foil
    tented over the top for about 20-30 minutes before carving, poking or
    messing with it. This allows the juices to redistribute through out
    the meat. If you cut it early, the juices will all run out onto the
    cutting board. It's worth the wait.. trust me.

    Serve the Smoked Turkey

    Carve that bird up, hack it up,
    whatever.. depending on your skills. Mine are not the best when it
    comes to turkey so I won't bore you with my recommendations on
    carving a turkey, just get it cup up and into plates before the
    natives get any more restless and you have a mutiny on your hands.

    Kemah, TX
  • i just brine in beer.  this all sounds wàaaaay too complicated.
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Wow! There's one I missed. I might have to give beer a try.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • Yea, but that's a gallon of beer.  I may drink the beer and brine with salt and buttermilk.
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Not so much if you just do the breasts. Worth a try. I am going to buttermilk brine some breasts on Friday. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • Here is a website for a really well respected chef that cooks a lot with beer, Under recipes he has some beer brine recipes that I used and are really good. Also, he has a great chocolate ancho chili rub for briskets. I highly recommend it. 
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,479
    Thanks for the info - it really looks interesting. I will give some of them a try.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.