Friday, December 24, 2010

How to Brine a turkey

Every year around the holidays there is always talk about brining a turkey, but it seems I've never gotten around to it.  This year, with a few days planning and a whole lotta talk about brine, I decided to do it!  It is a time consuming matter and requires four hands, two of which I didn't have and while placing the turkey in the bag, I almost lost the turkey.

What does brining do?  Well, it tenderizes the meat while adding flavor.  The typical brine recipe usually involves salt, sugar, water and spices.  While reviewing the plethora of information there is out there, I found these similarities, then I just worked with what I had on hand.

My brine:
1 cup of kosher salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used brown sugar instead of molasses so it wouldn't be as sweet)
8 cups of water
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
Lime

Dissolve the sugar and salt in boiling water.  Let the water cool.
I used the oven bags that you use to cook the turkey, to hold the brine (double bag the oven bags)
Remove the goodies from the turkey cavity and replace with a bunch of thyme and rosemary as a quartered lime.  Place the turkey in the bags.
Pour the cooled liquid into the bag.
Remove as much air from the bag as possible and tie tight.
Place in fridge or your cooling unit.  Just be sure to keep the brine under 40 degrees.
I had a 16 lbs turkey, so I marinated for 24 hours, rotating the turkey before I went to bed.

Once you're done brining, remove the meat from the brine, pat it dry and cook it the same way you would otherwise.  I like wrapping my turkey in bacon, the skin comes out nice and crispy when done!


Funny thing did happen while doing this though. Friends had told me that I would need a ton of ice and a large plastic container to hold the turkey and it's brine overnight. So I went out and bought (5) seven pounds of ice, thinking that my refrigerator would not hold it. But it did, so I then had 35 pounds of ice. No worries though, the ice was not wasted, it was a weekend of margaritas.


Stay hungry my friend!