If you hate dry, tasteless turkey and only eat it because tradition calls for it, then I’m getting ready to show you something that will change your mind about turkey for the rest of your life.
In the past Turkey just never really tasted very good without drowning it in gravy, turkey tends to be dry.
Fast Forward and discover brining and what it does for poultry and turkey, it becomes juicy, delicious white meat turkey that is so succulent and moist that you don’t need gravy on it and you go back for seconds and thirds.
Seriously, brining really does that much for turkey!
Without going into a lot of science about why you should ALWAYS brine poultry and especially the Thanksgiving turkey, let me just say that if you ever try it one time, you will probably never skip this step again.
Meat tends to dry out some as it is being cooked. Brining adds extra water into the meat causing the end result to be less dry/more juicy than it would be if you decided to skip this step.
What is brining?
Brining is simply soaking the meat (turkey, chicken, etc.) in a salty solution for a certain amount of time. Some sort of chemical reaction happens and the water is drawn into the meat where it gets trapped within the protein strands. This process results in a product that is a lot more juicy and if you happen to add other things into the water such as maple syrup, juices, wines, flavorings, herbs, etc, the essence of each ingredient gets pulled into the meat with the water affecting the flavor in a very good way
Choose your Brining Recipe Here
Place a quart of the water in a pot over medium heat and add your preferred spice mixture to the water to help it melt and mix together better. Stir for about 3-4 minutes then remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Tip: do this step ahead of time so you’re not stuck waiting on it.
Put the 3 quarts of cool, unheated water into a gallon sized pitcher and mix in the salt. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved.
Add the heated mixture to the salted water
You need a food safe plastic/glass or other non-reactive container large enough to hold the turkey and enough brine to cover.
Remove the turkey from it’s packaging and remove any “gifts” that are stuffed down inside of the cavity.
Place the turkey in the brining container or an insulated cooler
Pour enough brine over the turkey to cover it. If the turkey tries to float, put a heavy plate on top of it to hold it under the water.
I recommend using a smaller container if possible and placing the container in the fridge for optimum cooling. For a cooler, add a bag or two of ice to help keep the water at less than 40°F.
Some of the ice will melt over time but I usually do not add extra salt to make up for this. For one thing, the ice melts over time and causes the dilution to constantly change. I simply choose to leave it alone and it always turns out great that way.
Leave the turkey in the brine for 10-12 hours or overnight.
When the turkey is finished brining, rinse it well under cold water to remove any residual salt on the surface of the meat.