There is a local Hispanic market near my house that grills chickens on the weekend. The chickens are marinated in a mixture of intense latin flavors that, when grilled, fill the air with wonderful aromas that pull you into the parking lot to buy one. After becoming slightly addicted to these birds, ideas about trying this on my Thanksgiving turkey were floating around my head, and I decided to ask the market about their recipe. As you might imagine, they were willing to share a few of their secrets, but not all of them. Using my sense of smell and taste, I re-created the recipe, making it a lot larger to work with a turkey; however, the portions below would also work for 2 – 4 chickens if you have a smaller crowd. Serve this turkey with an Imperial Stout Mole Gravy.
This recipe is slightly different than my Beer Brined Turkey recipe | technique. This beer brined is more intense, as it doesn’t use all the water, creating a almost marinade. The turkey isn’t fully submerged either, so a rotation of the poultry is necessary to evenly marinate this turkey.
Serves: 10-16 people, with turkey for leftovers. This leftover turkey would be wonderful chopped up for tacos, tamales (chopped, mixed with Oaxacan queso and caramelized peppers & onions and served Imperial Stout Mole Gravy) or in enchiladas.
South of the Border Style Beer Brine | Marinade Directions:
In either a Cambro 22 qt Polypropylene Food Storage Container, large stock | brew pot, or Ziploc XL HD Big Bag, add the olive oil, citrus juices and zests, chopped oregano, cilatnro, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, salt, sugar, cumin, coriander, garlic and Mexican larger (cold). Stir the ingredients together with either a Hand Blender (to purée all the ingredients) or purée the brine in batches in pitcher of a blender.
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. Remove any remaining quills from the skin, if visible. Remove any excess fat from around the inside cavity. Turn off the water and lightly dry the turkey off with paper towels.
Using the Beer Brine Directions:
Place the turkey into the container of choice, then top off with the chilled brine, submerging the turkey as much as possible. Then place in the cold storage, for example a refrigerator or kegerator.
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 bag or container into the now clean cooler and add the turkey. Surround the bird with ice and seal.
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 8 hours, rotate | flip the turkey in the brine to evenly marinate it.
Cooking the Turkey
Place the prepared turkey (draining it, not rinsing it) in a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. Seasoning the outside and cavity with Mexican Style Spice Rub. Truce the turkey using kitchen twine and let the turkey rest on the counter for 2 hours. This will allow the rub to further marinate the turkey, as well as taking the chill off the turkey. As the turkey is at approximately 38°F | 3°C, this will make cooking the turkey evenly an issue. but letting it rest at room temperature, the turkey will cook more evenly, meaning the breast and leg | thigh will cook faster.
Preheat the oven to 400°F | 204°C, thirty minutes before you place the turkey into the oven.
Place the turkey in the center of the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 325°F | 163°C after 15 minutes and continue to cook until the internal temperature is 160°F | 71°C in the breast, about 4 hours for a 20-pound turkey. Once the bird is at temperature, remove from the oven and tent the bird with aluminum foil. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Recipes & Dishes to Serve with this South of the Border Style Beer Brined Turkey: