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Cranberry brine?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Smoking a turkey for thanksgiving this year. I've done two before, so like we all do, I'm thinking of creative ways to tinker. I was thinking that since I'm using apple and hickory to smoke, using cranberry juice in the brine could be delicious!  Or it could be gross.  Or it could not make any taste difference.  


Has anyone tried brining liquids apart from water or stock?

post #2 of 10
I don't know about cranberry might make it bitter but anything is worth a shot! Ive always brined my turkeys with Alton Browns vegetable stock brine a must try by the way! I've never cooked one in the smoker using that brine always in the oven. I've got a big enough smoker now and a 24lb bird in the freezer!
post #3 of 10
I use an apple juice based brine....I would give it a try, let us know how it turns out
post #4 of 10

th_dunno-1[1].gif , don't know don't Brine . . .normally :confused:

post #5 of 10

Just a quick thought...if it's a cranberry juice...it won't be a brine.   you have to have a high salt content to help the fluids/flavors move thru the bird and keep the parts moist.


Skip the cranberry...get a basic brine recipe and do that...make sure it's fully thawed and brine for (depending upon size) a minimum of 24 hours and up to 36 hours plus.  I get fantastic results.


If you want cranberry, then consider some type of stuffing for under the skin that will cook in 6 hours or less.


For me, on a smoked turkey the skin is sacrificial...no real taste...it's literally just a moisture barrier for me.


My 2 cents...Happy smoking!

post #6 of 10
I was thinking the same thing, I probably wouldn't eat it, but what if you stuffed the inside with cranberries? I have stuffed turkey's with other fruit with good results. I use salt in apple juice and water mix for a brine, so I assume you could do the same with cranberry juice if you wanted to.
post #7 of 10

I used about 2 or 3 cups of cranberry juice in my brine last year and it came out great - had a very light cranberry flavor. If you don't want to use the juice you could just take about 1 cup of fresh cranberries and lightly crush them with the flat of your knife and toss them in the brine.


I have also tossed orange slices in my brines as well!

post #8 of 10

Wouldn't the cranberry juice tint the bird to a pinkish color?  could be good though.. 

post #9 of 10

Okay, Here is a recipe that I have used in the past. If I remember correctly it was tasty, but we prefer the apple juice based brine that I make instead.


  • 2 medium onions, roughly diced
  • 5 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 5 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 14 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh sage
  • 12 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 quarts cranberry juice 
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries (half a bag, you can use the rest in your Cranberry Sauce)


Adjust amounts as required per size of bird (a double batch should cover a 12-14 pound bird). Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot, simmer for 30-45min. Cool overnight in fridge. Submerge bird in brine, I use food grade 3-5 gallon buckets with lids. You can also use jumbo ziplocks or place the bird in a cooler with ice and the brine. Brine for 12-18 hours. Air dry the bird uncovered in the fridge for 12 hours prior to smoking.

post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by Jaez View Post

Wouldn't the cranberry juice tint the bird to a pinkish color?  could be good though.. 

The tint is very slight when it is raw, but once it is cooked you don't see it at all. For about 2 gallons of brine I am only using approx 1 quart of cranberry juice - I basically just swapped out some of the water for juice.

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