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Tina’s Tried and True Holiday Turkey Brine

I suggest doing this on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. You will brine your turkey overnight in a large cooler or in a large nonreactive container in a refrigerator. Once brined overnight, you will remove the turkey and rinse with cold water and dry it well with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack inside of a roasting pan or use a broiler pan,  place in your fridge UNCOVERED overnight. Remove from the fridge on Thanksgiving Thursday, after it has air dried , roast or smoke as normal.

Below is the brine recipe that I have used for at least 18 years.

2 quarts of apple juice

1 pound light brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup Kosher salt

Zest from 2 oranges then cut oranges into quarters squeeze lightly the juice into your brine

Zest from 1 lemon squeeze juice into brine and cut into quarters

8 cloves of crushed garlic

1 TBL peppercorns

1 TBL whole cloves ( NOT GROUND)

10 Bay leaves

3  Fresh Thyme sprigs

6  Fresh Sage Leaves 

3 quarts very cold water.

Heat apple juice in large stockpot add all ingredients, except cold water.  Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir well until sugar and salt dissolve.  Once the sugar and salt has dissolved add cold water. Chill mixture until 40 degrees. I place my turkey in my chosen non reactive container first and the pour the chilled brine over the turkey (remember to remove giblets and neck from cavity and set aside for gravy or to cook for the pup)

If you have brine left over remove the spices etc and add to your container that you are using to brine in. Discard left over brine.

Note: If using turkey breast,  brine 6 hours max and cut brine  recipe in half


This makes enough for one cook if using as a mop, so I make 2 jars at a time. One for the table the other to mop, if I am doing Carolina style meat.

1 C Apple Cider Vinegar (Heinz)
1/2 C Clear Corn Syrup
1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 TBL Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Ketchup (Heinz)
1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (McCormick,Fiesta)
1/3 C Crushed Or Tomato Purée (Hunts)
1 Thin Sliced Jalapeño

Mix all ingredients and heat on low for a few minutes till flavors meld together usually about 15 minutes.


Makes enough for one large Brisket. Can be used on steaks, beef ribs, Tri- tip and burgers too. I prefer McCormick or Penzeys spices

1/2 C Turbinado sugar
1/2 Kosher Coarse Salt
1/4 C Smoked Paprika
1/4 C Light Sweet Chili Powder
1/3 Course Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tbl Granulated Garlic
1 Tbl Onion Powder

Mix well and keep in a air tight jar.

Sometimes I will add a little fine ground coffee to this recipe if I am doing a cap of ribeye or nice steak.

This is a trial and error recipe, with years of goof ups and bitter tasting briskets. Lots of money down the drain when you ruin a Brisket or expensive steak with bitterness from foo much paprika or coffee. Not to mention how much time waisted in cooking a whole brisket, up manning the Pit for hours only to finely take a bite and see the expression on my husbands or the company I invited over that expected something good and it’s a bitter mess!

hot honey shrimp

hot honey shrimp
Place shrimp in a bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and add soy, honey and hoisin sauce and  stir well. Set aside.
In large skillet on medium heat  melt butter.
Add ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and cook till aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add shrimp at one time. Stir constantly until shrimp turns opaque or curls into C shape; that means it’s done.  Stir in green onions and serve with steamed rice
Serves 2 Large Portions
Easily doubled


1 pound cleaned, peeled, and deveined shrimp
2 TBL Hoisin Sauce
1TBL Soy Sauce
3 TBL Southern Farms Stinging Sweet Honey
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes ( or more to taste)
1  1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
1 clove finely minced garlic
2 green onions sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
2 TBL Butter

Peach Bacon Jam

1 Pound Thick Sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon (I like Pepper Bacon)
2 Medium Sweet Vidalia Onion
2 Peaches diced small
1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
1/2 C Water
1/4 C Black Coffee
1 Tbl Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Tsp Smoked Paprika
Salt to Taste (depends on type of bacon)

Up bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and cooking medium heat till not crunchy but still done with a little chew to it. Remove from pan (I use my Pawpaws skillet for this, it holds the pound of bacon perfectly) I use a slotted spoon to do this. I pour out almost all of the drippings and save it. I slice the onion into quarters and them medium slices and add to the pan on medium heat once they are soft I add the diced peaches and cook till it is all very soft, add smoked paprika, and sugar, continue to cook till thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes, add coffee, vinegar and water and stir well, re add the bacon (not the drippings) continue to cook thill thick and jam like. Taste for salt. Store in a jar or container in fridge till ready for use.

Chanterelles and Cipollini’s

1 pound Cipollini onions
1 pound Chanterelle mushrooms
1 large Shallot
1 TBL Salted Butter
2 slices of bacon
2 TBL balsamic vinegar
1 TBL Brown sugar
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Cut bacon into small 1/4 inch pieces add to cast iron pan cook over Medium heat until bacon starts to render., add butter , while bacon cooks chop your shallot very fine and add to your pan. Add pealed onions and stir until coated with fat. Turn down the heat and put a lid on your pan for about 3 to 5 minutes until onions start to get tender. Add all of the clean chanterelles if they are small leave whole, if large cut in half. Sauté until coated well with the rendered bacon fat . Add salt and black pepper to taste.  mix Brown sugar and vinegar together and stir, pour into pan. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Serves 4, great with steaks and pork tenderloin . If you cannot find chanterelle mushrooms you can substitute domestic button mushrooms. 

Cranberry Bacon Jam

12 oz bag organic cranberries
8 slice of bacon cut into small pieces
1/2 of a sweet onion diced
2 or to taste TBL brown sugar
Zest of 1/2 of a orange
2 to 3 TBL southern farms honey creamed cinnamon honey

On you grill or stovetop cook bacon till almost crisp, add onions, cook till tender, add orange zest, stir till soft add cranberries, cook till jam like consistency (approx 20 min) stir in brown sugar and honey cook for 2 minutes and it’s ready to enjoy hot, cold or room temp

Cheaters one Pot Jambalaya

This is not meant to be a true jambalaya recipe this is for those last minute drop by guests or when you’re just too tired to spend hours in front of the stove. This is literally a one pot meal that takes about 30 minutes max to put on the table for 6 people.

2 TBL Olive oil
1/2 pound of cleaned shrimp or diced chicken (dried on paper towels)
1/2 pound of sliced dried style chorizo or spicy smoked sausage
1 small onion diced
1 diced tomato
1 bell peppers cut into strips ( I like red or yellow)
2 cloves finely minced garlic
2 tsp tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup fresh coarse chopped celery
2 Cups Arborio rice or converted rice ( I prefer Arborio)
3 cups, plus or minus chicken stock or seafood stock
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste

In a large pan add olive oil cook over medium heat; add sausage stir in the bell peppers, garlic, onions, tomato, celery, smoked paprika , salt and pepper, add chicken at this time and stir till coated well with pan ingredients. *If you’re using shrimp it will be added last* Still on medium heat stirring in your rice until it’s coated nicely with the seasonings in the pan. Stir in 1/2 the stock, as the stock is absorbed add more until the rice becomes tender. Once rice is tender add your shrimp stir well let’s sit with a lid for 3 minutes minutes. Serve with a nice salad and crusty garlic bread.