Lindsay Ann Bakes: How To Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How To Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey

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So after posting so many Thanksgiving desserts, I thought I would throw in some recipes to make your traditional Thanksgiving dishes even better too! So, today I am going to show you get an extra moist, tender and flavorful turkey by brining your turkey before you roast it.

By letting the turkey sit, submerged in a brine, it will be able to absorb the moisture and flavorings that can be lost during the roasting process, A typical brine has water, salt, a little sugar and the flavorings like herbs, fruits and aromatics. My secret ingredient is the vinegar, because the acidity is going to break down the meat to make it ultra tender and give you that melt-in-your-mouth texture!

NOTE: Do not brine a self-basting  or kosher bird, as this will make it way too salty.
Start by adding salt and sugar, herbs, garlic and pepper to your simmering water. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and as soon as the brine boils, remove from heat. Then stir in the remaining water, vinegar and ice (that is what you see floating in the water. 

Rinse the outside and inside of thawed turkey. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. 

Put the turkey, breast side down, in a bag larger than the bird (I used a turkey size oven bag) and knot the bag.

Then pour the brine in the bag with the turkey and seal it shut.


Let sit in the fridge for one hour per pound of turkey to brine your bird. You can flip it over occasionally to let the top and bottom of the bird get soaked equally in the brine.



After brining, rinse turkey and pat dry. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or melted butter and scoop some of the herbs and spices from brine solution and spread onto the skin of the turkey for extra flavor. 


Cook your bird as directed. I always roast mine in the oven.


Don't forget to baste every once in a while.


Voila, plump, juicy, tender and bursting with Thanksgiving flavor!



Turkey Brine: Enough for an 18-20lb turkey
Ingredients
  • 2 gallons (32 cups) cold water 
  • 1 ½ cup kosher salt 
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage*
  • 2 tablespoons ground thyme*
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves*
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • peel of 2 large oranges (remove as much of the white pith as possible)
  • 2T black peppercorns 
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
*double if using fresh, chopped herbs

Directions 

In a large pot, add half of the water, the salt, sugar, herbs, garlic, orange peel and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in remaining gallon of cold water and apple cider vinegar.

Rinse the outside and inside of a fresh or thawed turkey. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Completely submerge the turkey in a large pot or brining bag larger than the bird (I used a turkey size oven bag) and cover with a lid or seal/knot the bag, adding extra water if the bird is not fully submerged. Let sit in the fridge for one hour per pound of turkey to brine your bird.

After brining, rinse turkey, (soak in water for about 15 minutes if you are using drippings for gravy so they are not too salty), and pat dry. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or melted butter and scoop some of the herbs and spices from brine solution and spread onto the skin of the turkey for extra flavor. Cook your bird as directed.

NOTE: Do not brine a self-basting or kosher bird, as this will make it way too salty.




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