The unique characteristics of an Imperial Red Ale, with its rich malty caramel and toffee undertones, mixed perfectly with a good herbal citrus hoppiness, mixes beautifully with the slight tang of pomegranate and a citrus twist of tangerine transform this beer brined turkey into a Moroccan delicacy. This Thanksgiving, bring the casbah to your dining room.
In a large stock pot, combine the cold water, salt, onions, celery, carrots, tangerines, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon and coriander. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir well until the salt has dissolved into the brine. Let the brine cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to fuse together. Turn off the heat, and add the honey and pomegranate molasses, stirring to blend thoroughly. Let the liquid cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the Imperial Red Ale. Make sure the temperature is 40°F | 4°C or below before using.
Remove the neck/innards of the turkey (reserving for stock or gravy) and wash well under cold water, rinsing the cavity and neck area, removing any quills or tags from the bird. Dry well with paper towels.
If cold space is an issue, use a large cooler and sanitize it with a bleach water solution (1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water or 200ppm) or Star San (1 ounce of StarSan per 2 gallons of water).
Place the cooled beer brine into the now clean cooler and add the turkey. Use several gallon size seal-able bags fill with ice, to keep the bird and brine ice cold, but not diluting the salinity or flavor of the brine. This will also work if you are beer brining multiple turkeys at once and have doubled or tripled the beer brine recipe to fill the cooler size you are using.
Beer brine the turkey for at least 36 (for a smaller bird 16 pound) to 48 hours (for a larger 22+ pound bird). Keep the turkey and brine cold during this marinating process. Every 12 hours, rotate/flip the turkey in the brine to evenly marinate it.
To speed up the process the beer brining process, an Stainless Steel Commercial grade meat marinade flavor injector can be used to marinate the turkey faster.
Preparing the Bird After Beer Brine:
Remove the turkey from the brine, and dry inside and out well with paper towels. This will help the browning of the skin, as moisture will steam instead of roast the turkey. Place the tangerine and cinnamon sticks inside the cavity of the bird, then truss the bird with twine to help hold its shape and to aid in cooking the turkey evenly. Lay the carrots and celery on the bottom of a roasting pan to replace a rack. Place the bird, breast-side up, in a roasting pan, centered on the carrots and celery. Let the bird sit at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours, letting its internal temperature rise. This will help the bird cook more evenly and require less oven time.
Conventional Oven Cooking Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F | 177°C. Place a temperature probe into the top center of the breast to make sure the turkey is cooked to a certain temperature (160°F | 71°C) versus a length of time. If you don’t have a probe, an 18- to 22-pound turkey should take between three hours and 45 minutes and 4.5 hours to fully cook at 160°F | 71°C temperature. Check both the breast and the thigh temperature with an instant-read thermometer to make sure the turkey is evenly cooked.
Remove the turkey from the oven and cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 20 - 30 minutes before carving. This will help the turkey remain moist as the meat is allowed to relax after cooking, and to redistribute its juices. Slice the turkey and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.
Smoke turkey Cooking Directions:
Prepare a smoker or indirect heated barbecue with a small fire; keep the temperature at 250°F | 121°C. Follow the above directions on preparing the turkey, then place into the smoker and cook until the internal temperature is 160°F | 71°C. For wood chips, try apple, pecan or cherry-wood chips soaked for 30 minutes in Imperial Red, adding a few cinnamon sticks. Add these beer soaked chips every 30 minutes to the fire while the turkey cooks. Also check the coals, making sure the smoking temperature stays pretty consistent.
Other Beer Brined Turkey Recipes and Cooking Techniques: