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Thanksgiving Turkey Beer Brine & Pairing Suggestions


Happy Thanksgiving!



Here at Empire, we are rather passionate about our local family, good food and of course, our beer. We have a lot to be thankful for, and as we prepare to celebrate with our friends and family, we’d like to share a little of our beer wisdom with you because Thanksgiving is a holiday worth savoring. Read on for a fool proof beer brined turkey recipe, and beer pairing suggestions that will put the cherry on your festive spread.

Beer Brined Turkeyturkey

There are several ways to cook the finished beer brined turkey.  This recipe is for your classic oven roasted turkey.    Below this recipe are several links to all the ways this base recipe can be cooked.  This recipe yields enough brine for a 16 – 24 pound turkey. Check out the recipe below, adapted from the Home Brew Chef.


Beer Brine Ingredients:
Turkey Ingredients:


Prepare the brine:

In a large pot, over high heat, add the water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, lemon and orange. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors together, dissolving the salt and sugar. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool for 20 minutes, then add in the ice and beer of choice. Mix the ingredients together and take the temperature of the finished brine. A thermometer should read 40°F/4°C or lower in order to be safe to use. If it is warmer, place the pot into a refrigerator/kegerator until 40°F/4°C is reached.

 Prepare the turkey: 

Take the fresh turkey and remove it from its package in a large sink. Remove the neck, gizzards and liver, setting aside (for stock or gravy). Rinse the bird under cold water, turning the bird over a few times, washing any blood from the cavity and under the neck flap.

Brine Time:

Once your brine mixture is cooled, get your bird in a brine bag and submerge it with the brining solution. Let the turkey soak for 16 – 24 hours in a cool location.

Discard the brine and rinse your bird under cold water. After that, fill the sink with cold water and soak the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove any excess saltiness on/under the skin and just leave you with wonderfully brined, tender turkey.

Roast your turkey:

Place the turkey, back side down, in a roasting pan. Place the bunch of sage inside the cavity, as the herbs will release their aroma into the meat as it roasts. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 2 hours prior to being cooked. This will let the turkey warm up, allowing it to cook more evenly. Put it your roasting pan on the bottom rack of a pre heated 350°F oven. A 16-20 pound turkey should take between 3 and 3 1/2 hours to fully cook to 165°F.

Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before carving. This is critical in keeping a moist and juicy turkey. This resting will relax the muscle fibers, helping re-distribute the juices and allow the bird to be easier to handle when carving.

Thanks it! Now you can enjoy with a tall glass of well deserved craft beer. Check out brewmaster Tim Butlers pairing suggestions for the whole meal.

Pairing Suggestions

Courtesy of Empire’s Brewmaster, Tim Butler.

1. Roasted Turkey – Amber Ale

2. Stuffing – Slo Mo’ IPA

3. Mashed Potatoes – Skinny Atlas Ale

4. Cranberries – White Aphro

5. Pumpkin Pie – Barley Wine