Wait, Sear and Brine

“How do you keep your meat from drying out?”

It is a common enough question. In fact, I’ve been asked it here on the blog. All of us have had bone dry poultry put on our plate and the leaner the bird (as in turkey) and the leaner the cut (as in turkey breast), the greater the risk of it drying out. So what do you do?

  • My first tip actually comes at the end. Don’t cut into it too early. A good 10-15 minutes rest after it comes out of the oven (with a loosely tented piece of foil over it) will allow the juices evenly distribute back into the meat.
  • Sear. If you have the chance to heat up a nice pan to the point where oil is just about to smoke and allow the meat to cook for three minutes on each side, you create a barrier that makes it difficult for the natural juices in the meat to escape.
  • Brine. Letting the meat spend time before you cook it in a salt bath increases the liquid retention in the meat, so you start with a juicier piece to begin with.

Haven’t brined yet? It is simple. The ingredients are not difficult. The key is time. You need quite a bit of it. Overnight is best, so plan ahead. I planned ahead and made a Beer Brined Turkey Breast.

I served these with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

You can’t tell, but the turkey is in the bowl. I used two Guinness and one Michelob Light. Don’t ask me why, they were the first three beers that I grabbed.

Post brining. The recipe calls for one on the bone, but my local store more often has the boneless kind, so just check it a little earlier as it won’t take as long to cook.

Spiced before cooking.

Still spiced after cooking.

I also roasted some potatoes. I quartered them, drizzeled olive oil over them and stripped a piece of fresh rosemary to sprinkle over.

Bake them at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.


Beer-Brined Turkey

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins | Servings: 6 | Difficulty: easy


  • 1 1-3/4- to 2-pound turkey breast portion with bone
  • 3 12-ounce cans beer
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Place turkey in a very large bowl. Pour beer over turkey. Add salt, bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, and sliced garlic. If necessary, add just enough water to cover turkey. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

2. Drain turkey, discarding beer mixture. Place turkey, bone side down, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. In a small bowl stir together the melted butter and minced garlic; brush over turkey. In another small bowl stir together the paprika, thyme, onion powder, sage, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over entire surface of turkey; rub in with your fingers.

3. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into thickest part of the breast, making sure it doesn’t touch bone. Roast in a 325 degree F oven for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until juices run clear and turkey is no longer pink (170 degree F). Remove turkey from oven. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Makes 6 servings.

Source: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/turkey/beer-brined-turkey/

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer, kosher, Low Carb, Main Dish, Recipes, Tips, Turkey

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

46 Comments on “Wait, Sear and Brine”

  1. April 4, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I have always had trouble with brining because of the obvious problem.. salty meat, but i have not tried it with beer before, this is doable, if i get to the beer before John! Good tip.. thank you.. c


  2. April 4, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    That looks amazing!! These are great tips… especially because I usually cut in to the meet too early resulting in dry meat. Usually with chicken ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


  3. Loads of Things
    April 4, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Wait yes, sear yes, brine… not sure until of course you mention beer, then all of a sudden it sounds like the must do this weekend recipe – so I will for Easter. Thanks for the tip!


  4. April 4, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I am a big fan of brining. Last night I brined 80 lbs of chicken leg quarters in brine a apple juice. It turned out lovely. I will be blogging that recipe later this week. I really like how you spice crusted your turkey. Turkey is such a bland meat and that is a great idea.


  5. April 4, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    *meat, rather ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. April 4, 2012 at 11:10 am #



  7. April 4, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    A couple years ago I brined a whole turkey for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! It was salt water and spices and I was afraid it would come out too salty. Just a rinse before roasting and it was perfect. I would definitely do it again. Thanks for the recipe with the beer – I’ll have to try that!


  8. April 4, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I love brined meat of all kinds but I find that with poultry the meat often has a pinkish tinge after cooking that makes it look undercooked even when it is not … have you had that experience?


  9. April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am #



  10. April 4, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    One day if I’m ever eating meat again, I’ll have to make this for my fella. I’m sure he’d love it! Awesome tip, thanks!


  11. April 4, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    looks delicious! i rarely cook meat, but this is making me consider a trip to the grocery store. i’ll definitely try the brussel sprout recipe, as i could happily eat brussel sprouts every day of my life (well, theoretically. i haven’t tried it.). in trade, i’ve got a great brussel sprout salad recipe if anyone wants it..


  12. April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Yum! I haven’t tried brine more than a couple times, but this reminds me I should do it more.


  13. April 4, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Looks delicious!!!


  14. April 4, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    All look soooooo good. Next time I cook meat I will definitely wait for it to rest longer. Those potatoes look great, too. Thanks!


  15. April 4, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Wonderful! It looks delicious. I’m a wait, sear and brine person, too. I love your blog and have recommended it to several young friends who want cooking tips.


  16. Wheat Free GG
    April 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Great looking turkey ๐Ÿ™‚ We are big brine fans as well, usually using a combination of sea salt or soy sauce and brown sugar, herbs and spices in water, which turns out great. Next we’ll try your beer method, and I expect that it will be wonderful! Thank you for sharing.


  17. April 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Well….you’ve almost convinced me that I could do this! Everything looks fantastic, Chef!


  18. April 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    This is great! Thanks for the information ๐Ÿ™‚


  19. April 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I just roasted a small portion of locally raised boneless skinless turkey breast today. Interesting that you featured a beer brined version today as I don’t think of April/Easter/Passover as turkey season. Some strange cosmic occurrence ๐Ÿ™‚ Good tips. I would have enjoyed your roasted potatoes as a side, in place of my brown rice with celery and onions. Ah well.


  20. April 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    This post is just what my husband needs. He is always in charge of cooking the turkey; and is always in search of a good brine recipe. I’m glad I discovered you.



  21. April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    I love the idea of using beer for marinating. Thank you for that idea.

    Last Thanksgiving we had three turkeys. I baked a traditional one in the oven. My son-in-law fried one in a deep fryer. And my son marinated and then smoked one on the barbecue. Everyone had their favorites but the marinated and smoked one topped the list.


  22. April 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the recipe–I am starting the recipe tonight so we can enjoy beer-brined turkey tomorrow!


  23. April 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Brining can be fabulous. Need to watch the time to make sure small pieces don’t get too salty. I’ve had that happen. Now I’m time sensitive. Also, it is very easy to do with just a plastic bag, a bit of salt/sugar and seasonings. Great for meat that tend to be dry like chicken breasts.


  24. Alli
    April 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Oh yum! I am so trying this.


  25. April 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Fantastic! Can’t wait to try beer brine. Thanks!


  26. April 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Very useful facts indeed.


  27. April 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Thanks for visiting my blog recently. I had to check yours out. Great stuff here!


  28. April 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    I love the beer brining concept. I can’t stand the brine they use in things like grocery-store pork tenderloin… but I’d love to try this one. I tend to marinate with things like soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic, etc., but this gives me a different type of thing to try. Thanks!


  29. April 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Ah, ha! Now I know what to do with leftover (yes, leftover) beer from a recent party!


  30. April 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    When I lived with my grandma for a while, she taught me an old farm-house trick… For a cut of beef that she expected to be tough, she actually rubbed it with flour and then seared it in the pan before roasting/baking it. It kept the sodium down and the meat tender and juicy.

    Your use of beer in this recipe, though, reminds me of the beer brats I made last summer…. soo good. We sliced onions and garlic and lined the bottom of the roaster, piled in the brats and then soaked them in beer. The next day, we grilled the brats and it was the best I’ve had to date.


  31. April 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    This looks great. I wonder if there is any of the beer flavor left in the meat. Only because I’m thinking a pumpkin beer brined turkey breast might be cool at Thanksgiving.


  32. April 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    I’ve been cooking for over 40 years and didn’t know some of these ideas. Thank you for sharing them! One of the things my husband does is marinade in Zesty Italian Dressing for anywhere from a day to an hour before he grills or I cook beef. He seasons the meat with a rub of salt, pepper and garlic ahead of time and after it is cooked the beef is so juicy and melts in the mouth. But I may use some of these ideas for pork and poultry, because those really seem to dry out.


  33. April 5, 2012 at 2:09 am #



  34. April 5, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Brining is great. Resting works a treat. But I’m afraid I need to correct you on the (rather stubborn) myth that searing will seal in juices, although useful to develop flavour through the Maillard reaction. On the contrary, any high temperature cooking will dry out meat because the protein of the meat will contract and squeeze out any moisture in there. What keeps meat juicy when searing most of the time isn’t the searing itself, but rather the short cooking times associated with it (we all knows what happens if you keep searing a steak for twenty minutes, right?)

    If you do want to create a barrier that really prevents juices from escaping, use the natural enemy of water: Fat. Try smothering a whole chicken in it, ideally injecting it underneath the skin so it can’t escape as the chicken is cooking.

    When cooking, go “low and slow” – cook meats at 72ยฐC until the whole piece of meat is at that temperature (use a probe thermometer). (Some chefs cook at even lower temperatures – obviously this has some implications for food safety and will therefore require some extra safety measures such as plunging a chicken into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds to kill surface bacteria).

    Cooking at low temperatures won’t give your meats a browned appearance. When the meat is already cooked, blast shortly at high temperature to brown and crisp things up just before serving.

    In addition to getting meat juicy, you may want to get it tender as well. A marinade with some acid (vinegar, wine, lemon juice) and/or an enzyme will help. Good sources of enzymes that break down protein are papaya leaf, pineapple, kiwi fruit. Don’t overdo it on the enzymes though, or the meat will turn to mush.


  35. April 5, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Very Cool ~ I’m a fan of pan seared Tuna!


  36. April 5, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I’ve brined a whole turkey before, but a turkey breast looks much easier. And in beer! Can’t go wrong.


  37. April 5, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    great tips!! Thank you!


  38. April 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanks for “liking” my blog. Love your format. Also, this turkey recipe looks delicious. I love brined turkey as it is so naturally dry.


  39. April 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Another way to keep meat moist: injecting. It’s not just for fried turkeys. I often inject chicken before I roast it, and it is always super-moist and flavorful.


  40. April 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Wow this looks really good…making me hungry


  41. April 6, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    My mouth is watering! Yum!


  42. April 6, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Yum, I love the idea of a beer brined turkey! Would surely make a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce! Beer also makes everything fast so much better! At least, that’s what my taste buds think after a big night out, ha ha…


  43. April 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    This is something that I’ve been interested in trying and for one reason or another I have always shied away from it. I may go ahead and take that leap.


  44. April 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Mu husband is going to try this brine tonight on Cornish game hens for our Easter dinner tomorrow. I’ll be sure to report back ๐Ÿ™‚


  45. September 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I will remember this post for the Christmas/Boxing Day dinner! Great advice and photos


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