Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recipe: Out of This World Turkey Brine

True confession:
Last year was the first year we ever attempted brining a turkey. Until then, though one kind soul had strongly recommended the idea to us previously, I didn't really understand what it involved. It took only ONE well-soaked bird to convince us, however, that it was worth the little extra time and effort. We have made multiple turkeys since then, each one incredibly moist and delicious, thanks to the brining process (and we even brine whole chickens now!)

What is a brine?
Basically, it's a salt-water soak for meat. It usually includes sugar as well. Other spices can be added.

What does brining do?
From Wisegeek: When used as a marinade, brine serves several functions. The first is as a tenderizer, because the brine begins to break down the cellular structure of meats. It also infuses the meat with water, since the high salinity forces the brine into the cells of the meat. When the brine pushes into the meat, it also brings the spices in the mixture along with it, concentrating the marinade inside the meat. As the brined meat cooks, it stays moist and tender, and develops more flavor.

Our favorite Turkey Brine Recipe
Out-of-this-World-Turkey-Brine from Allrecipes

Some (Possibly) Helpful Notes:
  • You can use 1 1/2 cups Kosher or canning salt OR substitute 1 cup table salt.
  • If your bird is VERY large, you may need to double the brine recipe to cover the turkey. We use a large stock pot or canning pot to soak in.
  • We thaw the turkey most of the way first, then use the brine for the last 48 hours as recommended. It finishes the thawing process and adds incredible flavor! For our 14 pound turkey, we'll thaw for 3 days, then brine for 2 more.
  • We like Reynold's Oven Bags (turkey size) for easy baking. You'll find these free after coupon at a couple stores this season! You could also smoke, grill or roast your turkey - it really doesn't matter!
  • No matter how much I manage to overcook the turkey, it's ALWAYS moist and delicious!
  • To avoid stress, we often cook and carve our turkey the night before Thanksgiving. We keep it in a casserole with a little broth, then reheat in the oven for the Thanksgiving meal.

Do YOU have any great Thanksgiving hints, tips or recipes? Have you ever tried brining? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. Working on my husband to try this. I always make dry turkey and chicken. LOL! Thanks for some more awesome ideas!


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