Thanksgiving dinner is the meal we look forward to the most each year. So much work, preparation, care, and love goes into making the delicious dinner to feed a large group of people. Cooking, like brewing great craft beer, is one of the ways we send our love to others.
We’ve found that beer makes a wonderful complement to many of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. But this year we decided to try something new—to brine the turkey with ale! It turns out it’s the perfect way to prepare the Thanksgiving main course.
We wanted a beer that would give a fruity character, and decided to go with our Pyramid Apricot Ale. It adds a wonderful character to the bird. When you serve Apricot Ale brined turkey along with a glass of Apricot Ale to pair with the dinner, your loved ones will enjoy it so much they’ll ask you to cook the turkey next year too.
Make sure you plan ahead, the best roast turkey dishes take time and care for perfection.
And if you’re looking for more beer-infused Thanksgiving options, we have another recipe here for an Acorn Squash stuffed with sausage, kale, beer, and cheese!
This recipe was created by Jackie Dodd, The Beeroness.
What is a Turkey brine and how do you brine?
There are dry brines and wet brines. Our recipe is a wet brine because we’re creating a salty (and beery) solution with Apricot Ale and fresh herbs and dipping the turkey in it. Make sure that the turkey you buy is not previously brined or salted, or this process will cause it to taste too salty. You’ll want your unfrozen turkey to stay submerged for 16-18 hours. You then remove the turkey from the solution and let it dry in your fridge for 24 hours. The turkey soaks up a lot of the flavor from the brine, which also helps the turkey retain its moisture and not dry out. You’ll want to start the brine process about two days before you cook the turkey.
How long does it take to cook the turkey?
We like to cook our bird at 400 degrees because you’ll get a nice brown and crispy outside without risking losing too much moisture. We’ve seen that on average you allow 15 minutes of roasting per pound, but many factors can affect the timing. Brining may cause a turkey to cook a little faster, but stuffing the bird causes it to slow down. We recommend that once you calculate how long it may take to cook, you begin checking the temperature of the turkey half way through.
How do you know when your turkey is done?
Check the internal temperature of the bird with an instant read thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh. When the temperature hits a steady 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the turkey is done. Here is more information on how to take the temperature of the turkey.