Brining your Bird!
What’s Up Wednesday:
Today we are getting into Thanksgiving mode- seeing as it is the day before the feast, that means it is time to brine!! Ever brined your Turkey before? This can be the make or break between a juicy turkey and a dry one. What is brining you ask? Well it’s a good thing we got the straight facts from Serious Eats on the best way to brine.
What is a brine and why do it?
“Brining improves a turkey’s ability to retain moisture. Brining can be done wet or dry and involves salt. Certain muscle proteins are naturally dissolved by the salt in the brine solution. Once these proteins are dissolved, muscle fibers lose some of their ability to contract when cooking. Less contraction leads to less internal moisture being squeezed out, which in turn leads to juicier meat in the cooked bird.Brining also seasons a bird more deeply than simply salting just before cooking.”
What is the difference between a wet brine and a dry brine?
A wet brine involves submerging the turkey into a water bath with salt overnight. Simply take 1/2 cup table salt or 1 cup Kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. Next boil and let cool. Place the water in a large container, large enough to submerge the turkey in and still fit in the fridge. (try a cooler or large pot) Brine for at least 1 hr per pound, generally you want to do the day before cooking. You can also add all sorts of seasonings to the pot.
A dry brine is just that, dry! “A traditional wet brine will plump up your turkey with moisture, but that moisture is mainly water, leading to a turkey that tastes watered down. A dry brine, on the other hand, helps a turkey retain its natural moisture without adding any excess liquid, which leads to more intensely flavored end results.” Not to mention a dry brine is much easier and less messy- this doesn’t require a large pot and more fridge storage.
Want to learn how to dry brine, Serious Eat’s explains it best…
Combine half a cup of kosher salt with two tablespoons of baking powder and two teaspoons dried herbs of your choice (rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, etc) in a bowl. “Carefully pat your turkey dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle it on all surfaces with the salt mixture by picking up the mixture between your thumb and fingers, holding it six to ten inches above the bird and letting the mixture shower down over the surface of the turkey for even coverage. The turkey should be well-coated with salt, though not completely encrusted.
Warning: You will most likely not need all of the salt, in some cases less than half will be ok depending on the size of your bird and your salt preference.
Transfer the turkey to a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered for 12 to 24 hours. Without rinsing, roast the turkey omitting any additional salting steps called for in those recipes.
Dry-brining for more than 24 hours will produce even more juicy and well-seasoned meat.”
Loving the imagery and steps from Cassie over at Wholefully.
Regardless of wet or dry brine- we hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and one juice yummy turkey!!