I’m not really a big fan of the whole holiday season thing. I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed Christmas or New Years… ever. Not even as a little kid. My favorite holidays are without question the Fourth of July and Halloween. Thanksgiving runs a close third, but the days after this holiday really chap my ass.
I like to cook so it makes sense that Thanksgiving is a fun time for me. Last Thanksgiving I deep-fried a turkey and it was delicious. This year I’m going with a traditional preparation, the only deviation will be in brining the turkey before cooking.
Brining really brings out the flavor of a turkey and I would recommend this process to anyone who likes juicy turkeys that are more flavorful than normal.
Damn… I sound like Martha Stewart.
For those of you not in the “know,” brining a turkey is submerging the turkey in seasoned water to produce a moister, more flavorful meat. The Brine solution includes diced vegetables and seasonings like fennel seeds, coriander seeds and red pepper flakes. A simple variation can be made with 2 gallons water, 3/4 cup kosher salt, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 bay leaves, 1 bunch fresh thyme, 1 halved head of garlic, 5 allspice berries and 4 crushed juniper berries. You cook this mixture until all the salt and sugar are completely dissolved then you let the brine cool to room temperature. Transfer the solution to a large stockpot (big enough to hold your turkey and the water without overflowing) and submerge the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
Just before your scheduled cooking time, remove the turkey from the solution and pat dry. Prepare as normal.
You won’t believe how much more juicy and flavorful a turkey which is brined is than your every day garden variety turkey. If you need further tips on how to brine a turkey, drop me a line.