Monday, November 5, 2012

Brining your Bird

Thanks to kiddo sicky germs I'm going to repost this Brining tutorial rather than share with you the great Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe I made this weekend.  (You'll just have to stay tuned for that one cause it's delicious.)

A simple brine is our super special secret for a perfect Thanksgiving turkey.  And it's time to start thinking about that Turkey!  Though from the state of malls and big box stores these days it appears we are skipping straight to Christmas....but enough on that.

If you still fear the dried out turkey, this one is for you.  Happy Thanksgiving Planning!

A Simple Brine makes a Simply Delicious Turkey!

I made my first brine when I was doing my first Thanksgiving turkey.  My motto is obviously, go big or go home.  Luckily it was a huge success. The brine gave the turkey so much flavor and it was so juicy.  A friend who shared the holiday with us always talks about how much turkey he ate that day.  It was just that good.  With the success of the turkey, I started to think about what else I could brine.  Like those frozen pork chops that we purchased in bulk from the local warehouse club that we had been less than enthusiastic about cooking.  I brined that pork for a couple of hours... and MAGIC!  Brining really is super easy and an almost fool-proof way to come away with some pretty amazing, juicy, meat.

Water, Salt, Sweet.   That’s all you really need.  You can sub honey for the sugar if you want.  Then add whatever spices you are in the mood for, or even some veggies.  I like to add rosemary, sage and thyme.  We grow those in the backyard so it is easy to snip off a couple of leaves and sprigs and add them in. 

Basic Brine, adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller
1 gallon of water
1 cup of Kosher Salt
½ cup of brown sugar
4 sprigs Rosemary
6-12 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp. Peppercorns
1 bunch of Thyme
6-12 leaves of Sage

Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Let boil for just a minute and then turn off the heat and allow it to cool down. 

Once it is cool, put your meat into the pot and put the pot into the refrigerator.  A good rule of thumb is to let your meat sit in the brine for 1 hour per pound, if you go longer the meat may come out salty.

After you take the meat out of the brine, rinse it, pat it down and then cook it as you would normally.  But remember, if you add herbs or other spices to your brine the meat will pick up these flavors, so there is no need to season as much as you usually would.  Just a bit of salt and pepper should do.

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