Main Dishes · meat dishes

Let’s talk turkey: Brining

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It was a struggle but you took your trusty chef’s knife to that turkey and now you have a beautifully butchered butterflied butterball. Just try saying that three times fast. The next part is as important to the turkey’s flavor as it is alliterative: Brining

Brining is, simply put, salting your turkey and leaving in a cool place anywhere from one to three days.  There are three major benefits to brining your turkey.

It seasons your turkey completely and evenly

As the salt pulls water out of the turkey, the salt dissolves into the liquid and sinks into the nooks and crannies of the bird, fully seasoning it.

It helps your turkey retain its juiciness when roasted

As the salt and water dry, they form a thin protective layer around the turkey sealing it. This prevents it losing any more liquid while roasting. Additionally, as water is pulled out of the turkey, it concentrates the natural game flavors within the meat.

It leads super crispy crackling skin

The skin dries out due to evaporation as the bird is left in the open air. The dry skin becomes wonderfully crisp and crunchy when roasted in the heat of the oven.

How to brine a turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 10-12 lb spatchcocked Turkey
  • Kosher salt

Tools

  • Baking pan
  • Food wrap

Instructions

  1. Wash your spatchcocked turkey and pat it completely dry.
  2. Move your turkey on to the baking pan.
  3. Holding your hand about a foot above your turkey generously, sprinkle your turkey with kosher salt. Make sure to sprinkle the undercarriage of the bird as well.

A good rule of thumb for how much salt to use about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per pound of turkey. Do not substitute with any other kind of salt.

  1. Store your turkey in a cool dry place (No warmer than 4 °C (40 °F)  as recommended by the Government of Canada) for at least 24 hours.

You can keep your turkey brining safely at the listed temperature for up to three days but you will need to cover the turkey with plastic wrap to prevent excessive moisture loss. 

One to three days later and we’re ready to move onto the final step: Roasting

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