Kitchen Tip of the day:

This Thanksgiving, whether you are roasting or smoking your holiday turkey, don’t forget the most important step: brining.

Click below for directions

I have experimented with almost every technique I have come across and in my opinion, the best method is good old-fashioned brining. Although you have to plan in advance, brining is an easy process that yields the most flavorful, juicy results. Brining, much like baking, is a scientific process, therefore it is important to have the right ratio of salt to sugar to water. And brining times are key carrying the flavors of the herbs and other ingredients. The solution becomes trapped inside — creating a delicious, juicy turkey that is hard to resist.

I place my turkey in a brining bag (large, heavy duty plastic bag)

Serve a brined turkey at your holiday table this year and I can assure you, the turkey and the cook will be the star of the show.

Basic Brine
1 c. kosher salt
1/4 c. sugar
4 qts. Very Cold Water

Optional ingredients for flavor:
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup of your favorite dried herbs and spices (sage, oregano, thyme, basil, cloves, cinnamon, etc.)
1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
lemon or orange slices
crushed garlic cloves

First In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine  water, salt, sugar and optional flavor ingredients. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved, but do not boil. Remove pot from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Next Spread a layer of ice into the bottom of a cooler that is a little larger than the turkey. Set the brining bag inside cooler of ice and place turkey, breast side down, inside bag. Pour cooled brine over turkey. To further cool brine, add 2 scoops of ice into brine bag. Seal bag, making sure to let out as much air as possible. Add additional ice to cooler so that your turkey stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit while brining.

Brine for one hour per pound of turkey. Do not over brine, or turkey will be salty.

Last Remove turkey from brine, scooping some of the herbs and spices from brine solution and spreading onto the skin of the turkey for extra flavor. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or melted butter and cook as desired (roasting or smoking) until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Discard brine and use an antibacterial cleaner to clean area exposed to raw poultry.

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