Recipe: Beer Molasses Brined Turkey with Molasses Glaze

I love the buzz that Thanksgiving creates in the culinary world, and I’m not just talking about famous chefs. It’s the chatter between Sons-in-law and Fathers-in-law, mothers and grandmothers, sisters, and everyone in the grocery store and carpool line. Everyone is talking about their favorite recipes or family traditions. Things can heat up if you begin to debate dressing versus stuffing or to brine or not to brine. That is the question! I am a big fan of brining. Whether it is chicken swimming overnight in buttermilk before a fry or quick salt and sugar for a family dinner Turkey, I try to find the time to brine.

We make turkey at least 10 times through out the year, and this is still my favorite preparation. I first made it 5 years ago for a crazy, night before Thanksgiving party, and I just recently had a friend call me to say it was the best they have ever had. Turkey or take out… what ever Thanksgiving traditions make you happy, we wish you all the best!

Ingredients: Glaze

  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 fresh sage sprigs
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted Kerrygold butter


Ingredients: Brine, Turkey, and Aromatics

  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cups coarse kosher salt
  • 3 12-ounce bottles stout beer (such as Guinness)
  • 1 1/2 cups molasses
  • 1 14- to 16-pound turkey
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 peeled onions, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 apple, cut in half
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 unpeeled head of garlic, cut crosswise in half
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (or more) water
  • Special equipment: 2 turkey-size oven bags


Instructions: For Glaze

  1. Bring molasses, vinegar, herbs, and pepper to boil in small saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer until glaze coats spoon, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in butter.
  4. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before using.


Instructions: For Brine, Turkey, and Aromatics

  1. Pour 4 quarts water into 16-quart nonreactive bowl or pot.
  2. Add salt; stir to dissolve.
  3. Mix in beer and molasses.
  4. Insert 1 oven bag into second bag; place in large bowl.
  5. Rinse turkey inside and out.
  6. Slide turkey, breast side down, into doubled bag.
  7. Pour brine into bag. Press out any air; seal bags.
  8. Chill turkey in brine (still in bowl) 16 to 24 hours.
  9. Remove turkey from brine. Pat very dry, inside and out, with paper towels.
  10. Sprinkle main cavity with 2 teaspoons pepper; fill with onions, celery, sage, thyme, apple halves, and garlic.
  11. Close cavity with turkey lacing pins.
  12. Tuck wing tips under; brush all over with oil.


Instructions: To Roast Turkey

  1. Set oven rack at lowest position; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan; add 2 cups water.
  3. Roast turkey 2 hours.
  4. Brush with glaze; add water if pan is dry.
  5. Roast 30 minutes.
  6. Brush with glaze.
  7. Tent with foil if the turkey is browning too quickly.
  8. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes.
  9. Brush with more glaze.
  10. Transfer to platter; let rest 30 minutes (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

Makes 8 to 10 servings.