HOW TO BRINE A TURKEY
How to Brine A Turkey
Why Brine a Turkey?
First off, why do we want to brine a turkey? The reason being is that during the brining process the turkey absorbs the moisture. This in turn helps it stay juicy. Since the turkey absorbs the salt too, it is nicely seasoned. And, the salt breaks down some of the turkey’s proteins, making it more tender, and easier to digest. Some like to inject their turkeys, as oppossed to brining. Injecting works faster than brining because the liquid is delivered under the skin. With this method, the skin tends to come out darker and crisper than that of a brined bird. With injection, you can also vary the taste by adding cognac, maple syrup, lemon juice or other flavorings to the injector sauce. However, here, we will instruct on how to brine.
Dry Brining is a process of salting the turkey, sometimes with herbs or spices mixed in. After it is thoroughly seasoned inside and out, let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours; even up to three days. The salt draws moisture from the meat to the surface, this moisture mixes with the salt and then this salty solution is reabsorbed into the bird, thereby brining the turkey with its own juices. Another advantage of the dry brine method is that it dries out the exterior of the bird, resulting in lucious and tasty crispy skin.
For a 12-pound turkey, line a bucket with a large brining bag. Add two gallons of very cold water, three cups of kosher salt, a tablespoon of black peppercorns, two bay leaves and two peeled garlic cloves; mix well. Add the bird (giblet packet removed) and seal the bag; refrigerate four to six hours. When you remove the turkey from the brine, thoroughly pat it dry with paper towels so to get crispy skin.
Whatever method you use to season and moisten your turkey, during the holiday season, be sure to purchase your fresh, hormone-free Shelton Turkey from El Toro Gourmet Meats.
Interested in a delicious roast turkey recipe? Check out our roast turkey recipe from Chef Wolfgang Puck