Mean Chef’s Maple Brine

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 1gallon
  • About This Recipe

    “I adopted this recipe fromMean Chef. “Great brine for turkey or chicken.””

    Ingredients

  • 2cupsbrown sugar
  • 1cupmaple syrup
  • 3/4 cupkosher salt
  • 3headsgarlic, cloves separated, not peeled
  • 6bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cupsfresh ginger, unpeeled, chopped
  • 2teaspoonsdried chili pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cupssoy sauce
  • 5sprigsfresh thyme
  • 3quartswater
  • Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in large stainless steel pot.
  • Bring to simmer, remove from heat and cool completely Remove turkey neck and giblets.
  • Rinse turkey well.
  • Put turkey in cold brine.
  • Use a stainless, plastic or other non-reactive container.
  • Add water if brine doesn’t cover bird.
  • Refrigerate 2- 4 days, turning bird twice a day.
  • To cook: remove turkey from brine, pat dry, brush with olive oil.
  • Either grill or cook in oven.
  • It is also advantageous to leave the dry turkey in the refrigerator for at least 4 hour or overnight, uncovered.
  • This completely dries out the skin to insure a crisp finish.
  • DO NOT stuff turkey.
  • Reviews

  • “Wow.. Mean Chef.. This was awesome! I used an oven stuffer roaster chicken. I put the brine and the chicken in a 2-gallon Zip Lock bag and then set it all in a soup pot to hold it in the refrigerator. I halved the recipe for the brine since I used a chicken instead of a turkey. This was the most moist chicken I’ve ever had. It didn’t taste like I thought it would. I expected it to taste like teriyaki because of the ingredients in the marinade.. but IT DIDN’T! It was just so beautifully browned and delicious. I left it in the brine for 2 1/2 days and then let it sit in the refrigerator to dry for 1/2 day. I am certainly going to do this again. I think I’ll even do my chicken pieces this way too. Thanks Mean Chef. :)”

  • “There just isn’t a better way to prepare a turkey than to “brine it” prior to cooking.This is an excellent brine – one I’ll likely use for my Thanksgiving turkey this year.I tried it on a turkey breast and the results were terrific.”

  • “This made a fabulous turkey.I had a 15-pounder in the freezer so I thawed it in the fridge for a couple days first.Then I made the brine exactly as posted and dropped the turkey in, brined for 3 days, turning as instructed.I roasted the brined bird in my large Nesco (with an onion, carrot, celery stalk inside – ala Joy of Cooking).It was falling-apart moist and tender and the flavor imparted by the brine makes a plain ol’ turkey something very special.Oh, btw, MC – I did end up making soup with the remains – thumbs up!!Probably will never prepare a turkey any other way again!Thanks, Meanie!”

  • “This was our first time ever brining. We normally have a stuffed turkey for the holidays, but this year it was just 3 of us so we purchased a whole bone-in turkey breast and made Recipe #267637 on the side. The brine is very easy to do, and we placed it with the turkey breast into a 2.5 gallon ziploc bag and then into a pot to marinade for 2 days, then dried as directed for about 8 hours. While the brine made for a nice, moist turkey, it was too sweet for us, and the left overs were a bit firm and rubbery. Thank you for sharing Mean’s recipe, but we feel we will revert to the old fashioned ‘stuffed and roasted’ bird for the holidays.”

  • “I have used this recipe 3 years running for thanksgiving and plan on using it again this year.It is the best I have ever used!”

  • “On vacation, I needed a brine that used ingredients I had on hand, and what a great suprise this was! It worked very well. I didn’t have bay leaves, but it turned out perfect anyways. For aromatics I put a half an onion and a red apple in the cavity.”

  • “I’d never cooked a Turkey before and was quite nervous about it but this turned out beautifully.My Turkey was 6.6 kilo and I left him in the brine for 3 days bringing him out, drying him off and leaving him in the fridge overnight before cooking. I used table salt and cut it back to half. I cooked him on a rack in the fan forced oven for about 3 hours on 160C – 180C using my meat thermometer to ensure he was up to cooked temperature. I have a new oven so kept a good eyeon the heat. This is a really moist, flavourful turkey and I will definitely use this recipe again.”

  • “Absolutely wonderful!I used this brine for my first-ever turkey this Thanksgiving.I normally don’t eat turkey because I don’t like the taste, find it too dry, etc, but this TURKEY was incredible, thanks to the Maple Brine!I made myself shrimp, since I don’t normally eat turkey, but I ended up eating the turkey and NOT the shrimp!A+++”

  • “Fabulous, we have been smoking turkeys for years and have never found a brine that we thought actually did anything special.Well, this is it!Just by the smell of it we knew it was it.I was tempted to get out a straw and sip a little.Anyway, the turkey only sat in the brine for about 12 hours because thats all the time we had.My husband then stuffed it with oranges, pears, onions and hickory smoked bacon and then smoked it with cherry wood for about 15 hours.WONDERFUL, it was his best ever.Thanks so much!”

  • “this was the first time I brined a turkey.Everyone raved how moist the it was.I’ll probably do my Thanksgiving turkey this way from now on.Thank you!”

  • “Bekah, thanx for recovering this lost recipe from Mean Chef!His recipes ahve never let me down before and they still haven’t!I have never tasted a turkey like this before!I’ve been disappointed in brines int eh past and almost have given up on them.As a lat ditch effort and because Mean Chefs name is attached, I tried this recipe and it turned out awesome!”

  • “Thank you for making me a star for my first Thanksgiing as hostess. Never will I make a turkey without brining it first.Wow.I am converted big time.I have always been the kind to grab a big piece of ham and a few slivers of turkey just to say I had some.Not anymore.I don’t care how moist people say a turkey may get with various other methods, this one takes the cake.Every last piece was full of flavor and every bite moist.Leftovers are going to be awesome.Even the kids were picking at it before it left the roasting pan. I stuffed the cavity with carrots, onion, bay leaves, and garlic for added flavor and infused with butter.Definately the best turkey I have ever had and I am impressed with myself.Thank you so much for introducing me to brine and I am so glad I came across this recipe!”

  • “This was my first year to be the hostess for the entire family at Thanksgiving.I wanted something to really “wow” them – and this didn’t let me down.My mother said it was the best turkey she had ever tasted.”

  • “We used this for Turkey Day. OH YUM. I left the turkey out in the open air of the fridg., for the last 6 hours to dry the skin out even more for extra crispness. Works for chicken too.I also use this in a smaller quanity and less time, obviously, for SHRIMP (cocktail). I will be posting a recipe for this using your number as the brine.. soon.Thank you for posting.”

  • “MC…I don’t know who you are, but between you and Richard, you boys ALWAYS make me look so darned good!I used this on a smoked ham, and it rocked!This one’s a keeper!Keep em coming!!!!LA :-)”

  • “Out of all the brines I’ve tried for smoking poultry, this is so far the best. Thank you!I made a point to use REAL maple syrup. Followed the recipe exactly for a 4.5 pound fresh chicken. The measurements yeilded more than enough brine. Would have been enough for up to a 10 pound bird. I brine my meat in an insulated Igloo Water Cooler. Dust the bird with some sort of poultry rub and then into the cooker.Works great.”

  • “Wow! This is so wonderful – I loved the maple syrup. It is more complicated than the brine I usually use, but for a special occasion, it’s well worth it.”

  • “I have to echo everyone else’s responses.This turkey was a hit!Thanks for making me look good in the eyes of my guests this past Thanksgiving.”

  • “Wonderful recipe!We took a chance based on the great reviews and brined a 16 pound turkey for our Christmas dinner.We put the brine and turkey in a turkey roasting bag and then set it in a canner for 3 days.We let the turkey dry out in the refrigerator overnight as suggested.The result was an extremely moist, delicious turkey that got rave reviews from a picky family.Thank you Mean Chef!”

  • “Thank you for this wonderful brine.I’d only roll the dice with one of your recipes and try it for the first time on a houseful of holiday guests.I’m so glad we did.We brined a 7.5 lb. turkey breast and used the rotisserie to slow cook over med-low flame for 3.5 hours.Everyone loved the flavor, now I wish that I’d brined the 20-pounder that I cooked in the oven.Definitely will next time.Thanks.I hope you start posting more recipes again.”

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