Sweet Tea Brine

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by smokeytherobot, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. I've used this brine for both pork and poultry. I brine my Thanksgiving turkeys using the basic recipe and then add additional spices, etc. The last two Thanksgivings, I've added sliced fresh jalapeno's to the brine and under the skin of the breast portion of the turkey. You can add whatever you like! I also double the garlic and onions.

    Side note: My mom passed away in February of 2013. She was a wonderful lady and of course, the best cook on the planet. In an hand-written note to my dad she willed all of her cookbooks to me, her oldest son. It appears she might have gotten the basic  brine recipe from a magazine but it was hand-written...as that's the way she was. No email, no typing..just hand written recipes, notes, and letters in her old-school cursive. I had to buy another bookshelf to accommodate her collection.

    2 family sized tea bags ( Luzianne!)

    1-2 sweet onion ( Mom was from Georgia so I use Vidalia when I can get them. Texas Aggie 1015Y will work too.)

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    1 lemon or lime

    Peppercorns (Fill the palm of your hand at least twice!)

    3 or more cloves of garlic

    1/4 cup Kosher salt

    A couple of fresh rosemary springs

    About a tablespoon or more of oregano (I use Mexican oregano with the jalapenos)

    Other spices as desired!


    Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from fire, add teabags, cover and steep for about 10 minutes.

    Throw-out tea bags and stir in sugar and remaining ingredients until sugar is dissolved.

    Allow the mixture to completely cool...about 30 minutes or so. Stir in about 2 cups of ice cubes. Be sure mixture is cold before adding pork, chicken, or turkey.

    Place meat in plastic bag. I use an oven bag..then pour in brine. Mix well.

    Place bag in in small cooler and cover with ice. Or use your refrigerator.

    After 24 hours remove meat and discard brine. Pat dry.

    Smoke the meat until ready. I use Pecan wood almost exclusively.

    Hope y'all enjoy. The variations a limitless.
    floridasteve likes this.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds interesting thanks for sharing!
  3. Yes, I like the mix. Did the chile flavor come through? I like spicy. CF
  4. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    Can't imagine the combination of tea and meat, but it is intriguing. I'm keeping the recipe.
    Thanks for sharing! :points:
  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I wonder how the meat reacts to the tannic acid in the tea?
  6. You can definitely taste the chile. That version is a favorite of my in-laws.
  7. I thought the same until I tried the recipe. It's my go-to brine for poultry and pork.
  8. Not sure about the chemistry involved but the meat is tender, juicy, and has a great flavor.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Tannin in tea is a tenderizer. Same with Red Wine. Sweet Tea Brines are more common in southern states. This Brine sounds great...JJ
  10. New to this forum and smoking. I want to try this on my turkey. Is this recipe based on a certain size bird? I have an 18 lb turkey and I'm wondering if that is enough for it.
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You want to make enough brine to cover the bird. I usually use about 2 1/2 - 3 gallons for a 14-16 pound bird. This is brining in my brine bucket not a bag.
    mrshinaultjr likes this.

Share This Page