If you want to make sure your turkey is nice and moist when you slice into it this Thanksgiving, then you need to consider using a turkey brine. A brine is similar to a marinade, but instead of adding flavor to the meat, the brine locks in moisture and brings out the natural flavor of the turkey.
To brine a turkey, it must be fresh or completely thawed before you soak it in the brine recipe you’ve chosen. According to Butterball.com, to properly brine a turkey, you should expect to soak it 45 to 60 minutes per pound. So, if you have a 12 pound turkey, plan on brining it for 8 to 12 hours.
There are many brine recipes you can use to make your turkey more flavorful, but one of the simplest recipes for turkey brine is salt and water. There are recipes that call for other ingredients like sugar or herbs, but they are not necessary to produce a juicy, tasty bird.
According to Real Simple magazine, you won’t have to worry about too much salt in your turkey brine because brine recipes contain about 5% to 8% salt. It takes several hours for the brine to penetrate the turkey, so if you soak it in the turkey brine for the recommended amount of time, then your meat shouldn’t be too salty.
A very basic turkey brine recipe listed in the magazine calls for the following ingredients.
- Two gallons of cold water
- Two cups of kosher salt
- 1 cup of white sugar
You will need a container big enough to hold a 12 to 18 pound turkey in the brine, and one that fits into your refrigerator. Mix the salt and sugar in the water until the salt dissolves and place the turkey into the brine. Place a lid on the container and set it in your refrigerator for at least 8 hours. If you don’t have an appropriate container, you can purchase a brining bag in which to hold the turkey and the liquid.
Fine Cooking reported that not only do turkeys benefit from brining, but other leans meats do as well. Pork chops, shrimp, fish fillets and chicken will all be juicier and tastier if they have been soaked in a brine before they are cooked.
If you have questions about using a turkey brine or cooking turkey for your holiday table, the Inquisitr reported that Butterball will once again offer a 24-hour support line and Twitter feed to answer your questions about proper turkey preparations.
[Image from BurnBraeWines.com.au]