Thursday, December 2, 2010

36. PW's Favorite Turkey Brine

We will start off the Thanksgiving recipes posts with the brine! Really, this would make more sense to have posted all of these prior to Thanksgiving, but I wasn't making them twice. There just wasn't enough time. Though you could use them for Christmas. Depending on how my family is feeling, depends on what we eat for Christmas dinner.

We've brined meat before that we've smoked. Though PW (the Pioneer Woman or the love of my life) didn't smoke her turkey, we chose to this year. Amazing!

I went back to work and told my coworkers about this brine. Somehow I managed to recite the entire recipe by heart and had only put it together once. My freakish mind never ceases to amaze me. I mean, seriously, we have partial caller ID on the business lines at work (number only,  no name) and I know who the number belongs to. So strange.

Water, apple juice, brown sugar, salt, whole peppercorns, fresh rosemary, garlic and the peel of three oranges. It smelled devine. But nothing quite like how it smelled after it started boiling. We brought it to a boil then removed it from the heat and covered it to let it steep. I breifly lifted the lid for a whif and the aroma filled the entire house. It was heavenly!

We left the brine to cool that night and had the turkey prepped in it's big bowl waiting for the bath of a life time. The next morning we poured everything we could manage to fit in the bowl over the turkey and covered it. It sat and bathed in the fridge for 24 hours. Just the tiniest part of the breast poked out above the brine so my husband was sure to flip it over half way through the soaking process to ensure an even brine.

Here's my honest review of the brine recipe: She gives lots of tips on how to prevent the turkey being overly salty when prepared, and I'm sure most aren't a fan of an overly salty meat. We purchased a fresh turkey, containing less salt product than a frozen turkey, and followed all of the instructions to the letter when preparing the brine and turkey.

It was still just a tad too salty for our taste. Don't get me wrong, the meat was amazing! I've never had a jucier turkey in my life. The flavors imparted by the brine and the smoke, a mix of hickory and alder, were just delicious. We will absolutely use this brine again, but will lessen the salt used.

I even think just a fraction of this recipe would be great for a roast chicken and even pork chops. Something to try in the future.

PW's Favorite Turkey Brine

3 cups apple juice or cider
2 gallons cold water
4 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
3 tbsp whole black peppercorns
5 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, stir until salt & sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and cover. Allow to cool completely.

Remove neck and giblets from turkey & rinse. Place in a large pot, bowl or brining bag & pour brine over the top. Cover and place in the fridge 16 to 24 hours.

When turkey is ready to be roasted, remove from the brine and submerge in a pot or sink of fresh cold water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside of the turkey.

Remove turkey from the water, pat dry and prepare to your roasting desires! And be sure to discard the brine, we don't need it anymore.

Please try it & enjoy!

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