Brined Turkey Breast and Cooking it in the Crockpot
Brining a turkey breast is one of my favorite ways to cook a turkey breast. I can’t remember the last time I made one that wasn’t brined, even if it was only brined for 4 hours.
You are going to start with a really salty water mix and flavor it however you want. I use brown sugar, peppercorns and sometimes fresh herbs. I don’t think dried really work well in this. Overnight is the longest I would do a turkey breast especially if you have removed the skin like I did here. If you leave it too long in the brine it will have a mushy texture to the meat when cooked.
I cooked this turkey breast in the crock pot. I love cooking turkey breast in the crock pot as it is almost impossible to have a dry turkey breast. This one was 8 lbs. before I boned it and it fit in the smaller crock pot but just barely. I take the skin off carefully before I boned it. Then I removed the breasts from each side. Put the skin in a small baggie and refrigerate it. Add the turkey breasts to the brine and cover overnight in the refrigerator. I then put the carcass of the breast in a pan and cook the heck out of it with water. After a couple of hours strain the broth into a bowl and refrigerate it.
So it is time to put this baby back together. Lay the turkey skin out on a cutting board. Lay one of the breasts on top of the skin. Flip the other one on top doing it so the fat end is on top of the thinnest end of the first turkey breast. Then you are going to wrap the 2 breasts with the turkey skin. Using kitchen thread tie it in 3 places to keep everything in place. Wallah…. you now can cook this bad boy! Season the skin well with pepper, no additional salt is needed. Don’t worry about the skin we are going to remove it after cooking. I am having you do it this way for a couple of reasons. One it is going to slice beautifully when ready to serve and the other is the skin will keep the turkey breasts from drying out.
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 4 cups water
- 8 lb. turkey breast
- Debone the turkey breast. Remove the skin first. You can use your fingers to go under the skin to loosen it from the meat. You may need to use a knife at some places, just do the best you can to not tear it. I find it easier when I am boning a turkey breast to start at the bottom and work up. When you get the middle just cut down the center of the breastbone.
- Mix all of the brine ingredients together. Add the turkey breasts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Take the breasts from the brine and put on a paper towel to dry them a little. Lay the skin down on the cutting board and put the first breast half down on top of the center of the skin. Flip the other one on top doing it so the fat end is on top of the thinnest end of the first turkey breast. Then you are going to wrap the 2 breasts with the turkey skin. Using kitchen thread tie it in 3 places to keep everything in place. Pepper the turkey breast well.
- Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the crockpot. Add turkey breast. Put lid on crockpot and turn it to high. When you see the steam start to condense on the top turn it to low. Cook for about 6 hours on low at this point or 160 degrees in the thickest part. Turn off and leave in crockpot 30 minutes before serving.
- Remove the liquid with a turkey baster to a pan. Add the reserved broth from boiling the turkey breast bones and make gravy while you wait.
- Remove turkey breast from crockpot and carefully remove the skin, discard. Slice the turkey into serving size pieces.
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