Turkey Brine

Turkey Brine

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  1. When you are preparing for cooking a turkey, one of the best ways to unsure it will remain tender and juicy is to brine it. In cooking, brining is a process similar to marinating in which meat is soaked in brine before cooking. Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation.There are several recipes for brines from east turkey brine to ones with exotic ingredients.

    Traditional Brine

    This is the standard method for brining before cooking a turkey. This recipe is pretty standard for those who use the brining process and is an easy turkey brine recipe.

    • 1 Gallon Distilled Water (may need more for a larger bird)
    • 3/4 to 1 cup Kosher Salt

    Warm the water just enough to dissolve the salt and allow to cool to room temperature. Wash your turkey inside and out and place in a container that will allow the brine to cover the bird completely (or you will need to turn it periodically). Pour the brining solution over the turkey and refrigerate for 24 hours for best results. Remove the turkey from the brine and slightly rinse it to remove any excess salt. Cook your bird in your favorite manner and serve with stuffing, potatoes, and/or gravy (although it should be so juicy you may not even want it).

    Orange-Brown Sugar Brine

    This could absolutely not be written without this recipe by Steven Raichlen. This is one of the best flavored turkey brine recipes out there. The flavors are amazing. Whether you smoke, fry, or roast your bird, it will come out unbelievable every time with these flavors. 

    • 1-1/2 cups Kosher Salt
    • 1-1/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
    • 1 Gallon Cool Distilled Water
    • 4 Bay Leaves
    • 4 Strips of Orange Zest
    • Juice of 1 Orange
    • 4 Whole Cloves
    • 1 Medium Onion (thinly sliced)
    • 1 Cinnamon Stick
    • 1 Tablespoon of Black Peppercorns

    Place the salt, sugar, and 1 quart of water in a pot and warn slightly, just until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour warm water mixture into a large container and slowly add in the remaining water. Then, add the bay leaves, orange zest strips, cloves, onion, cinnamon, black peppercorns, and orange juice to the brine. After washing the turkey inside and out, carefully put the bird into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. When ready to cook, drain and pat dry. The link on his name above will take you to how to smoke the turkey with a couple of different techniques.

    Savory Brine

    If you want to add a deeper flavor to your roast turkey, try this savory turkey brine recipe. This brine will mirror and enhance the traditional turkey seasonings you will already be using. This is an easy turkey brine, but the results will seem like you basted your bird every half hour. 

    • 1 Gallon of Organic Chicken Broth (4 – 32 oz. containers or 8 – 16 oz. containers)
    • 1/2 Bottle Organic Soy Sauce (10 oz. bottle)
    • 4 Tablespoons of Dried Sage
    • 2 Tablespoons of Poultry Seasoning
    • 4 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
    • 2 Tablespoon of Black Peppercorns
    • ½ Cup Sea Salt

    Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and heat until salt has dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature. Wash your turkey inside and out and place in a large container. Pour the brine over the turkey covering it completely and refrigerate for 24 hour. Remove bird from brine and pat dry. Now your turkey is ready to cook.

    Whether you are cooking a turkey with an easy turkey brine recipe or a more exotic or involved turkey brine recipe, you cannot go wrong. This is the perfect solution to the dry turkey. You may find your guest not even wanting to drown it in gravy.

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