Blame it on Hallmark Channel movies and the Thanksgiving plays we appeared in over the years. What we take for granted about the beloved holid…
There’s another, less direct way to incorporate beer into a Thanksgiving meal — marinating the food, instead of the guests. “The Beeroness” (also known as Jacquelyn Dodd) is one of the country’s leading experts on cooking with beer (in addition to quaffing it). She recently shared her recipe for beer-brined turkey with Pasatiempo.
“It’s actually one of my favorite things to cook. Usually with a turkey the white meat and the dark meat are done at different times, so you end up with one undercooked or overcooked,” she says. “Brining allows the white meat to be cooked longer, so it’s still juicy when the dark meat is ready. Plus, beer is a natural tenderizer!”
Don’t worry about your turkey tasting only of Moose Drool Brown Ale (or whatever beer you use). Dodd says the additional flavor from the beer is subtle, unless you use a highly hopped beer like many IPAs. They add a bitter quality so must be used carefully in recipes where you really want more of their bite.
“Brown ales, stouts, and porters are the best place to start,” Dodd says. “Belgian ales are also good for cooking. They’re a great food beer because they have a complex flavor profile and are usually malty and a bit sweet.”
The most unusual thing she cooks with beer? “It might be chocolate stout mint ice cream. It’s like a combination of beer, ice cream, and Girl Scout Thin Mints. What could be better?”
Dodd’s cookbooks include The Craft Beer Cookbook: 100 Artisanal Recipes for Cooking with Beer (2013), and Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce (2019), which features lots of her own food photography. They’re available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and her own website, thebeeroness.com.
Jacquelyn Dodd’s Beer-Brined Turkey
NOTE: Start the brining process the day before you cook the bird. If you want a crispy-skinned turkey, start two days before.
▼ Buy a 12- to 16-pound natural turkey or one that hasn’t been treated with salt. (If the label lists sodium, it will be too salty.)
▼ In a large pot, combine 10 cups water, 1 1/2 cups kosher or sea salt, 5 cloves quartered garlic, 1/4 cup whole allspice berries, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, and 2 quartered onions. Bring to a boil and remove from heat, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add 5 to 6 cups of brown ale and 2 cups ice. Stir and allow it to come to room temperature.
▼ Rinse the thawed turkey and remove anything inside the cavity. Put the turkey and brine into a large bucket and refrigerate for 16 to 18 hours. Remove the turkey and rinse well, inside and out, with cold water.
▼ Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. For a crispy-skinned bird, place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 18 hours to dry the skin.
▼ Let the turkey come to room temperature. (This may take up to 2 hours.) Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put 1 quartered onion and 3 ribs celery cut in half inside the turkey cavity, brush the outside with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt. Pour 2 cups chicken broth into the pan.
▼ Cook the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, adding water to the pan if the broth starts to dry out. Remove it from the oven (it will continue to cook to reach the 165-degree mark) and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
For more Thanksgiving-worthy, cooked-with-beer recipes (such as Beer and Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes or Apple Pie with Pale Ale Mascarpone Cream and Beer Pie Dough), visit thebeeroness.com.