Skip to main content

John Boehner, king of the turkey brine?

By Deirdre Walsh, CNN Senior Congressional Producer
updated 8:48 PM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
Processed turkeys that were raised on the farm are seen at Springfield Farm in Sparks, Maryland.
Processed turkeys that were raised on the farm are seen at Springfield Farm in Sparks, Maryland.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • House Speaker John Boehner is famous for the way he prepares a Thanksgiving turkey
  • He learned the technique from his mother
  • Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, however, says, "I'm cooking nothing"

Washington (CNN) -- Move over Martha Stewart -- House Speaker John Boehner boasts his recipe for brining turkey is the key to a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

The Speaker is spending the holiday with his wife, Debbie, their two daughters and their husbands at his home in West Chester, Ohio.

As is the family tradition, Boehner will prepare dinner, and the centerpiece is a turkey that soaks up juices in a special brine - a Boehner specialty he learned from his mother.

Watch Boehner's Thanksgiving message

In an essay published in this week's Time Magazine about Thanksgiving, the Speaker says he's looking forward to cooking, writing: "It will be wonderful to spend a few days with our two daughters and make what I consider to be the best turkey brine around."

The dinner takes advance preparation and Boehner begins the process the day before.

He mixes garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves and maple syrup (what he calls the secret ingredient) and then adds that to water to make the brine. He then submerges the bird in the brine overnight.

Boehner's Washington staff can attest to the Speaker's skills at preparing the holiday feast.

For years, he invited his aides to his Capitol Hill apartment and used the same brine recipe to serve up an early Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, a Boehner aide says the schedule was too busy, so he didn't have time to cook for them.

By the numbers: Thanksgiving

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is also spending Thanksgiving with his family.

But when it comes to the dinner Reid is less hands on than Boehner, telling reporters: "I'm cooking nothing."

In addition to the turkey, Boehner also makes his own stuffing and creamed spinach that includes bacon.

His office has posted the recipes on the Speaker's political website.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade coming with a side of controversy

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Thanksgiving
updated 8:44 AM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
My mother, brother, cousin and I gathered in my 87-year-old grandmother's room at the nursing home. We knew it would be one of the last times we would see her alive.
updated 9:17 AM EST, Thu November 28, 2013
Jamie Ordonez is one of the lucky retail employees who will enjoy Thanksgiving Day without having to rush to work. But a brother-in-law isn't as lucky.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Fri November 22, 2013
Everything you need to know about this November holiday.
updated 2:42 AM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
This Thanksgiving, a battle is brewing. A life-and-death contest orchestrated at the highest levels of power.
updated 11:14 AM EST, Thu November 14, 2013
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year, with tens of millions expected to hit the road over the extended four-day weekend.
updated 12:34 AM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
Along a pastoral lane at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate sits a sizable wooden pen built specifically to house the two turkeys that will be "pardoned" at the White House on Wednesday.
turkey thanksgiving kid
We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love.
updated 11:53 AM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
Find out what celebrities are doing this Thanksgiving.
updated 12:05 PM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
Real Simple asked three creative geniuses to come up with beautiful, unusual displays that anyone can successfully replicate.
updated 8:51 AM EST, Thu November 21, 2013
Martha Stewart lends some great ideas for the center of your Thanksgiving table.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Thu November 21, 2013
The dining room has had a difficult few decades. Here are some top tips for setting the scene and the table for your biggest feast of the year.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Tue December 10, 2013
Here's some background information about Thanksgiving Day, celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November.
updated 7:13 AM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
On a clear dry day, driving 55 mph, it takes long-haul trucker Camille Pask the length of three football fields to stop her fully loaded rig.
updated 9:28 AM EST, Thu November 22, 2012
Judy Warzenski didn't realize how bad her father, Donald's, memory had gotten until he turned to her sister Joyce and asked, "Where's the girl who was sitting next to you?"
updated 6:10 AM EST, Mon November 19, 2012
These clever strategies will help you handle Thanksgiving with less stress and more sanity.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Mon November 19, 2012
What topics do you avoid over dinner? How do you coordinate visiting all of your relatives? Real Simple breaks it down.
turkey head
Gratitude is the watchword, and it's incredibly easy to lose sight of that while you're bogged down in the details of serving a dinner that packs a certain amount of expectation. So how about giving yourself a break?
ADVERTISEMENT