I adapted this recipe from the cookbook “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”. The reviews of this book are actually true, if you are just learning how to cook or if you are a chef in a three-star Michelin restaurant you’ll learn something from it. There is so much useful information in this book, even if it is not slated for wild game cooking. One of the first recipes in the book is a turkey brine. I wanted to give it a shot, but I had to change it to account for the active lifestyle of a wild turkey. Using a brine on a pen raised, saline infused turkey, requires a much shorter brine time. A wild turkey struts around the woods worrying about coyotes, wild hogs, hunters, and basically every other predator in the woods, and in turn requires a much longer brine time to account for the toughness. I also added some extra flavor and heat to the recipe. After brining, I roasted the turkey, and you can kind find that recipe here. I hope you enjoy!
Spicy Jalapeño Brine
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 garlic head halved horizontally
- 2 tsp peppercorn medley whole
- 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 wild turkey breasts boneless and skinless
- Place the salt, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves in a large pot with four cups of water.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the lemon zest into the pot, then half the lemon and squeeze the juice into the pot. Place the lemon halves into the pot as well.
- Cut the top off of the jalapeno and cut the jalapeno length-ways and add to the pot.
- Bring the pot to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar have fully dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add 8 cups of cold water.
- Allow the brine to cool to room temperature so as not to cook your turkey breasts (if you get impatient and have room you can put it in the freezer to speed up the process).
- Submerge the turkey breasts in the brine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours up to 48 hours depending on the size of the breasts. Wash the brine off of the breast in cold running water when you are done.
- The longer you brine the breasts the juicier they will become, but they will also get saltier.
- If you use my roast recipe save the garlic and jalapeno.