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Soy Brined Turkey

kikkoman brined turkey I love Turkey.

Honestly, at Thanksgiving there are never enough leftovers for me, so when I got an e-mail from Kikkoman offering me a gift card to buy a Turkey and some Kikkoman products (YUM) for a pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Brining experiment… I was in for two reasons.  1) I’ve never Brined a Turkey before and 2.) if I’m going to brine my first turkey, it might as well be on someone else’s dime.. (oh wait… same reason…oops 🙂 )

So the GIANT GALLON of soy sauce and a couple of other delicious sounding flavored sauces arrived in the mail PLUS soy milk (did not know Kikkoman made that) and  um… Burgh.. what do I do with that and some Panko… I love me some Panko and an apron.

I read the directions and realized that I don’t own ANYTHING large enough to Brine a Turkey (13.5 lbs) until I went in our garage and unearthed our MASSIVE cast iron pot.  It weighs 13 pounds on it’s own, even with that I had to turn the turkey halfway through the process to ensure that the breasts got proper coverage.  Seriously, y’all should see this thing.  The handle alone is, no kidding a foot and a half long and pure cast iron.  (If you’ve brined and you have secrets, tips or INEXPENSIVE places you brine.. please share)  If you’ve never brined a turkey and you have an amazon account >> this is my new favorite turkey brining bucket <<affiliate link

The Breakdown: The Turkey was amazingly moist and flavorful and delicious.  This is (brace yourself) the first Turkey that I have ever cooked solo so, I can’t say that the brining was the definitive reason for it but, I kept having to smack Nathan’s hand while he was carving it because he was eating more than was making it to the plate… it was THAT good.  The brining itself was easy other than the turning it halfway because half the brine spilled out, my wrist got caught between the fridge and the cast iron pot and I got soaked in brine.  (once again.. there has to be an easier way :-)… I do have a side by side fridge.. SO large items are not that easily worked into it)

If you want to try brining…. I highly recommend this recipe:

  • 2 gallons COLD water
  • 10 oz Kikkoman Soy Sauce ( I used Low Sodium)
  • 1/2 C kosher salt
  • 1/2/ C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dried sage
  • 2 Tbs dried celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp dried Thyme

rachel’s note.. I wanted to dive into the brine.. it smelled SOOOOOOOO good

  1. The night before (or at least 8 hours prior to cooking) remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity; rinse turkey thoroughly inside and out.
  2. in a LARGE stock pot or 5-gallon bucket aka turkey brining bucket mix water, soy sauce and seasonings, blend well until salt is dissolved.
  3. Add Turkey turkey in brine
  4. cover with a lid and refrigerate at LEAST 8 hours ( I refrigerated about 17)
  5. Remove from brine, rinse well and follow your regular cooking regimen.carving turkey


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  1. That favorite Thanksgiving recipe is my sweet potato casserole. Soooo good!
    .-= Krissa´s last blog ..The kindness of strangers =-.

  2. My biggest Thanksgiving disaster is when the turkey that my niece was supposed to bring, (just one year), was raw from right under the skin to the bone. Took an extra two hours to cook. The hordes were ravenous by the time it was done!
    .-= Krissa´s last blog ..The kindness of strangers =-.

  3. I know this sounds silly, but my favorite recipes are those that are homemade – no canned sweet potatoes, no mashed potatoes or stuffing from a box. But if I had to pick one, it would be pumpkin pie 🙂

    I have not prepped a Thanksgiving dinner yet, but like with other big get-togethers, I have a fear of not getting everything done in time. It always seems to work out out in the end.
    .-= K @ Prudent and Practical´s last blog ..Ms. Jill’s Olive Chip Dip =-.

  4. Really interesting post. I’ve never brined a turkey either. What a great idea! I’m not sure if I have anything large enough to hold my turkey though. Hmmm. Will have to think about that. By the way, I found the way to submit to Blissfully Domestic, but haven’t had a chance to do it yet. But I will! Have a great Thanksgiving, Rachel. Thanks for your site and your great cooking ideas!
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Holiday White Bean Dip =-.

  5. I love to use Kikkoman soy sauce on my favorite green bean and garlic stir fry recipe from you! I also add a bit of sauce to the rice to give it some more flavor.

  6. The biggest fear about Thanksgiving is what if no one shows up? What if I cooked all this food and then no one comes over to eat? What in the world would I do with 20 lbs of turkey and 10 pounds of potatoes, 5 lbs each of green beans, corn and carrots? What about the 7 lbs of roasted sweet potatoes and then the 10 gallons of gravy? The 25lbs of pie would probably get eaten but who would I send the wiggly, jiggly cranberries (right from the can) home with??? OMG I wouldn’t know what to do. That is probably the biggest fear.:)

  7. I use the Ziploc huge bags for brining. You can set the bag in a roasting pan if you are worried about leaks. Williams Sonoma sells brining bags, but they are a wee bit more expensive.
    .-= Laurin´s last blog ..Hope for Anissa =-.

  8. My biggest fear about Thanksgiving dinner is that we’re going to make someone sick since we still stuff our turkey. I’ve thought about just doing dressing, but fear of being exiled from the family has kept the bread in the bird.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Just Can’t Contain It =-.

  9. I would be cautious using cast iron to brine. Don’t use anything acidic in the brine. It reacts with cast iron. I also wouldn’t want to leave liquid for extended periods in my nice cast iron vessel. I’ve used a storage bag set in a turkey roasting pan in case the bag leaks. This works well for 8 to 12lb or about turkeys, which I prefer, because the brine penetrates the smaller birds better. If you go bigger, I have also used a smaller cooler to brine.

    1. Great tips, Paul! Thank you!

      The handle is straight cast iron but the actual pot itself, is an internal cast iron that is somehow lined or coated with aluminum. It’s older than dirt and fantastic.

      I’m glad that you stopped in to comment and left those suggestions for the bags and teh cooler!

      If I ever brine a turkey again, it’ll be in a cooler for sure! Or in a storage bag 🙂

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