Last updated September 16, 2018
Brined turkey is the key to a juicy bird. This brine uses a combination of olive juice and buttermilk for a hint of umami and sweetness.
Before cooking a turkey, I always recommend brining it. You can go with a wet brine where the bird sits in a bag of liquid, or a dry brine, where the bird is rubbed with seasoning and allowed to rest overnight.
Most wet brines for Thanksgiving include water, sugar, salt and herbs.
Brines for fried chicken however often include buttermilk and hot sauce.
So this brine is a variation on both.
The brine includes a combination of buttermilk, olive juice and peperoncinis along with aromatics. The olive juice, most often used for mixing a martini, provides an added umami flavor, while the buttermilk breaks down the bird to help it reach it’s juiciest state.
The peperoncinis are there to provide an element of heat that’s not too spicy.
You’ll brine the bird overnight, and then rinse it thoroughly before stuffing the cavity with lemons, celery, garlic, onion and fresh herbs.
These ingredients are not meant to be a stuffing that you eat. They’re tucked in there to flavor the turkey from the inside out.
Set your grill up to cook at a medium heat. This one was actually done on a gas grill.
In about 2 hours, the bird reached the magical point of 165 F degrees inside. You’ll want to baste it every 30 minutes or so to add even more flavor and color.
While it was cooking, I also grilled potatoes, for my grilled mashed potatoes recipe.
Grilled Olive Juice Brined Turkey
- 1 bottle Saucy Mama Dirty Martini Olive Juice reserve ½ cup juice
- 16 oz jar peperoncinis reserve 1/2 cup juice
- 12 lb turkey
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 5 sage leaves chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
- 4 cups water
Rub and Cavity Flavor
- 1 stick butter melted
- 3 tbsp poultry seasoning
- 1 stalk celery cut
- 3 lemons halved
- 1 onion quartered
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 sprig thyme
- Pour ½ cup Saucy Mama Dirty Martini Olive Juice and ½ cup peperoncini juice into a pitcher or bowl and reserve for later.
- Place turkey in a large bag. In a large pitcher, combine the buttermilk, remaining olive juice, peperoncinis with remaining juice, sage, garlic and 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning.
- Pour over the turkey. Add four cups water. Tie the bag to seal, place in a large pan and refrigerate 1 hour per pound.
- Remove from the brine and rinse. Season all over and under the skin with poultry seasoning and melted butter. Fill the cavity with celery, lemons, onion, garlic, sage and thyme.
- Place the turkey in an aluminum pan, breast-side up. Add ½ cup peperoncini juice, ½ cup olive juice and ½ cup water to the pan.
- Place on a grill over medium heat. Close the cover. Baste every 30 minutes and cook for 1 ½-2 hours, until thickest part reaches 165 degrees. Add more water to the pan, as needed.
- Turn the grill off and let rest in the covered grill, until ready to serve.