Thanksgiving: It’s Time to Brine the Turkey!
I have only ever once done a brine and that was on chicken, so I am excited to dip my turkey in a bath of brine.
Now I do not profess to be an expert on this, but I do trust my favorite Food Network star, Alton Brown and he has had an award winning turkey every year.
The only variation for me in attempting this method is the aromatics. Because I am a savory, I am too scared to add them. I am afraid they will alter the taste of my turkey, where I know the brine will only enhance the flavors and keep my bird moist.
For the brine, Alton suggests doing this for at least 6 hours, I plan to stick to brine base ingredient for ingredient.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 gallon vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
- 1 gallon heavily iced water
Combine all ingredients, except the heavily iced water and cook on medium high heat in a large saucepan until all ingredients dissolve-stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. (you can do this the day before and soak your bird before you go to bed) We don't typically eat until about 430-5pm and the bird will take 3.5 hours to cook, so I will likely dip my bird in its brine bath when I go to bed, but I could do it when I get up as well-it's not going to hurt the bird. (bathing the turkey in the brine for 6-16 hours is perfectly acceptable) It's really just up to you and what you are comfortable with.
Alton also using aromatics, things like cinnamon and apples in the cavity of the bird and some use oranges and/or lemons, I'll leave that up to you.
No matter if you brine or not, use aromatics or not, I hope that your Thanksgiving is the best it can be. And remember, if something burns or is undercooked or lacking salt-relax and breathe... the whole point is to be together and sharing memories of the past and creating new ones for tomorrow.
Make sure that your turkey is clean and free of all the "goodies" in the cavity, pat it dry and put it 'head' first into a clean/new 5 gallon bucket