Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brining Your Bird

Brining poultry is one of chefs' best-kept secrets for perfectly tender and moist meat.  It takes just a little bit of planning, as you will need to brine a thawed bird for about 24 hours before roasting it. 

I've combined several different brine recipes here.  Remember:  use what you have on hand and modify if necessary.

You'll need a large non-metal container to let the turkey soak in the "brine bath" in the fridge.


My fridge is packed to the gills because of all the cooking I've done this week, so instead of a giant Tupperware container that I've brined in previously, I'm using Slow Cooker bags.  I'm double-bagging the turkey and brine, to be safe (how gross would that leak be?).  I then set the turkey-containing brine bags inside a large stockpot inside of the fridge. 

Also--we're hosting a smaller crowd this Thanksgiving, so I cheated and just bought a turkey breast (about 6.5 pounds).  You'll want to make enough brine to totally cover your turkey.

Here's the printable recipe.

Turkey Brine
(enough for a 7-pound bird)

1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice
rind of one orange, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or use 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary or thyme)
2 quarts ice water

Combine 1 1/2 quarts of the water with the salt and sugars in a large stockpot.  Heat just until sugars and salt are dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Add in remaining ingredients. 

Pour cold brine over a turkey that has been well-rinsed.  Set in a non-reactive pot and/or a large plastic tub. (Or you can use a large brining bag.) Ensure the turkey is completely covered with brine.  Refrigerate for approximately 24 hours before roasting.

Before roasting the turkey, discard the brine and rinse the turkey, and pat it dry with paper towels. 

*Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.  Her original recipe is here.


Unknown said...

Okay, at first I thought your title was "Bring Your Bird".. and I thought ~ BRILLIANT.. BYOB Thanksgiving dinner. ! :) I could even host that!... then I realized I just can't read.
Still a brilliant post and I want to try it for an "everyday" meal sometime!