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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Brine

Brining Your Turkey

Salt changes the structure of the muscle tissues in the meat, allowing it to swell and absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender-seeming turkey. This means that--despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time--the end result is a juicier bird. When buying a turkey for brining, choose a natural turkey, not a self-basted bird that's been injected with a solution of salt and other flavorings. Look for the words "natural", "no additives", and "minimally processed" on the label. Brine should be cold before adding the turkey or the meat will absorb too much salt.

Vegetable Broth Brine (Read the instructions on this one so you see how to use the brine for all the other Brine recipes that follow)

1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried savory
1 gallon ice water

In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water. Wash and pat dry your turkey with paper towels. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine. Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge. Place a gallon of frozen water in a large cooler (freeze in a water bottles) or ice bags (ice in Ziplocs) and brine the turkey and brine in the cooler while it marinates overnight. Or use a big bucket and put the iced water, turkey and brine in the bucket. Most refrigerators won't hold it so use the ice to keep your turkey safe while it marinates. Watch out for the cooking time on this as a brined bird cooks much faster - especially if you're using a roasting bag (which I did). A 22 lber can cook in only 2 1/2 hours!!

Citrus Brine

1 cup salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 gallons cold water

Rub salt onto your turkey, and place remaining salt, lemons, oranges, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and pepper into a large pot. Place the turkey in the pot, and fill with water. Refrigerate overnight. Discard brine after removing turkey. This is a good one to use if you are smoking your turkey.

Brine With Garlic

2 gallons water
1 1/2 cups canning salt
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar

In a large bucket or container large enough to hold your turkey, mix together the water, salt, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Store in a refrigerator, and soak turkey for 2 days before smoking or roasting.

Sweet Brine

4 quarts water (24 cups)
3 1/2 cups kosher or sea salt
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns
7-8 cloves garlic
5 bay leaves, crumbled coarsely

Prepare brine by combining ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel pan (do not use aluminum). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until all of the sugar and salt are dissolved. Allow brine too cool.

Smoked Turkey Brine

1/2 c. pickling salt
1 c. Morton's tender quick (found in spices near salt)
4 to 5 tbsp. liquid smoke (1 to 3 oz. bottle for 2 gal. brine)

Sage Brine

Toast about 2 tablespoons of the chopped dried sage (best using fresh sage that you have dried)
Put the sage into a pot of water with two parts kosher salt and one part sugar. Bring to a boil and then let it cool.

Cranberry Brine

2 medium onions, roughly diced
5 stalks celery, roughly chopped
5 medium carrots, roughly chopped
14 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
6 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh sage
12 sprigs fresh Italian Parsley
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup kosher salt
2 quarts cranberry juice

Mix together in a large pot 1 of the onions, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, 6 garlic cloves, peppercorns, 3 sprigs each of the rosemary, thyme and sage, 6 sprigs of the parsley, kosher salt and the cranberry juice; heat and stir until the salt disolves and mixture begins to simmer; remove and let cool to room temperature.

Apple Brine

1 1/2 cups, KOSHER salt (not regular, use Kosher)
1 1/4 cups, brown sugar
10 whole cloves
3 teaspoons, black peppercorns
1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) apple juice or cider (non-alcoholic)
The peel from oneor two orange or one tangerine (colored part only - not white pith)
Optional: 3 teaspoons, dried thyme and/or 3 teaspoons, dried sage

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot, bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (partly covered). Allow brine to cool completely.

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