Romance Cooks

Beer Brined Turkey – Liz Crowe

Rob Frietag also loves the beer brewing business and when he returns, after a few jobs in a brewery, he opens his own brew pub in downtown Ann Arbor with his lover/partner, Blake Thornton.

Rob later goes on to host his own successful “Brew Chef Rob” show on the Food Network….but that’s all in the book!

So….I’m letting ROB share his favorite beer-influenced Thanksgiving recipe! This is one that I’m lucky enough to have sampled, thanks to a spouse who loves to cook (but rarely has time)….

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Beer Brined Turkey

Beer Brine Ingredients:

4 QuartsBeer*

4 QuartsIce or Water

2 Cup Kosher Salt

1 Cup Sugar

4 Each Bay Leaves

3 BunchThyme, fresh

3 Each Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped

3 Stalks Celery, sliced

3 Each Carrots, peeled and sliced

2 Each Lemon, quartered

4 Each Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced

1 Each Turkey, preferably free range

Brine Option 1:

If you have planned ahead, this option will give you more flavors as the sugar and salt crystals completely dissolve.  In a large pot, add beer, salt, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, onion, celery, carrots, lemon and garlic.  Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat.  Add the ice or cold water; it will help cool the brine solution.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or until brine is well chilled. 

Brine Option 2:

In a large container or a cleaned ice cooler, add all the ingredients (water instead of ice) except the chicken or turkey; mix well. 

Brine Instructions:

Use either a large 3-4 gallon container or a cleaned ice cooler and add the turkey, then top off with the brine (for the ice cooler, add a few zip lock bags full of ice).  Place in the refrigerator or ice cooler for 24-48 hours.

Oven Cooking Instructions:

Follow either brine option 1 or 2.  Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Remove the turkey from the brine and dry well.  This will help the browning of the skin, as moisture will steam instead of roast the turkey.  Truss the bird with twine, to help hold its shape and to aid in cooking the turkey evenly.  I highly recommend using a temperature probe to make sure the turkey is cooked to a certain temperature (165°F) vs a length of time.  If you don’t have a probe, a16-20 pound turkey should take between 3.5 and 4 hours to fully cook at this temp.  Check both the breast and the thigh temperature to make sure the turkey is evenly cooked. 

Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.  This will help the keep a moist turkey by letting the meat relax and re-distribute its juices. 

Smoking Instructions:

Instead of using an oven, use a smoker and keep the temperature at 250°F until the internal temp is 165°F.  For wood chips, I would recommend Apple, Pecan or Cherry wood chips soaked for 30 minutes in the same beer you used in the brine.

· For Beer, my suggestions are: Oktoberfest, Hefeweizen, Bock, Pale Ale, or Brown Ale.  You may use a Stout or Porter if you wish, just cut the brine time to 6 hours or the bird will just taste like a Stout or Porter.



For years, Rob Freitag has resisted anything resembling a true emotional connection, preferring instead to explore life and his own desires without committing to anyone for very long. While he is close to achieving his career goal as head chef of a five-star restaurant in Chicago, he is still very much alone.

Blake Thornton’s heart has been shattered by an intensely emotional relationship with Suzanne Baxter in Ann Arbor. When the two men meet, their lives are changed forever. But time is of the essence for Rob and when he acknowledges his true feelings, he will stop at nothing to keep them together, including finding a surrogate mother for the child Blake so desperately wants.

Lila Warren is recovering from a nasty divorce, needs cash and believes carrying their baby will fulfill her in ways her marriage never did. None of them suspect that the connection they share will provide the final emotional key to their life-long puzzle. When Rob’s secret is revealed, time becomes the one luxury they don’t have, setting in motion a chain of events that shatters the fragile illusion of happiness for them, and everyone around them

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