Brine That Bird
We pick up our turkey Tuesday from Owen's Poultry Farm in Needham (no website, but the phone is 781-444-1861). Wednesday morning the bird (which we traditionally name Owen for obvious reasons) goes into its salty bath to brine for the day. Brining turkey results in tasty, moist turkey (or chicken or pork or any very lean meat, for that matter) that's all but impossible to overcook. This year brining seems to have become the latest food trend, but it's actually a concept that's been around for thousands of years (ever hear of corned beef?), and I've been brining the bird since I first heard about it in Cooks Illustrated about five years ago. It's simple, and once you've done it, you'll never go back.
A good brine for a 12 hour or so soak is 1-1/2 cups kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar to every gallon of water. Your standard 12-14 pound bird will rest comforably in two gallons of the stuff. Since I don't have a walk-in, I put the bird and the brine in a heavy-duty trash bag which I then place in a cooler packed with lots of ice. Some people add herbs or spices to the brine, but for a short brine time like this (as opposed to corned beef, which sits in it's spiced brine for days), I don't find that additions beyond salt and sugar add anything other than expense. After a 12 hour soak, I take the bird out of the brine and let it sit loosely covered in the refrigerator so that the skin has a chance to dry out a bit (a soggy skin going into the oven will be a soggy skin coming out of the oven, and I like my roast poultry to have a crispy skin).
Posted on Nov 22, 2002 @ 09:14 AM
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