Photastic Vietnamese Turkey Brine
by Kim Knudsen in Nome, Alaska
6 quarts tap water
1 pound kosher salt
3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup fish sauce
10 star anise
8 inches of ginger root bruised and cut in half*
2 bunch of green onion cut into quarters
5 stalks of lemon grass bruised and cut into quarters*
2 heads of garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled, but bruised*
5 pounds of ice cubes
14 to 18 pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 lemons, zested
In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat. Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.
Add brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, star anise, ginger, green onion, lemon grass, and garlic. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. Add the ice to a cooler or bucket lined with a turkey bag large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all the ingredients.
Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with liquid as you are submerging it. Squeeze all air out of bag, tie off, and weight it down with a heavy plate. Allow the bird to sit in brine overnight for about 12 hours.
Remove bird from the brine. Discard brine. Rinse bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water. Dry the bird well with paper towels. Be sure to wipe the inside of cavity as well. Mix together butter and lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with other breast.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 ½ hours. Remove turkey from oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and serving.