This year we served a turkey for Christmas Dinner. As is my way, the turkey was brined for maximum flavor and moistness.
I learned about brining turkeys from Alton Brown a few years ago. His recipe is good, but after a few years of tracking down all the ingredients, I have slimmed down the recipe dramtically. Basically, it's the sugar and salt doing most of the work and the assorted flavors are generally lost IMHO.
You must brine a turkey a day in advance. If you are reading this an hour before the turkey needs to go into the oven, you are out of luck.
(for ~20 lb turkey)
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 quart vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5-6 pounds of ice
Boil up all the ingredients until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add ice to chill down the brine until ice still floats in the pot.
It should look like this:
Next prepare the container to hold the turkey in. This year I used the Turkey Brining Bag by Grill Friends/Elizabeth Karmel. Elizabeth's invention is great and worked wonderfully. The bag lets you use less brine and make less of a mess. If you don't have a brining bag, you can use a large pot, big enough to hold a turkey.
Place the washed and empty turkey in the bag/pot (you did save the giblets didn't you?). I resused a styrofoam box to hold the bag.
Pour the bring over the bird. Then put the rest of the ice in. You want the turkey submerged and cold.
You can put it in the fride if you have space or if you have a styrofoam box you can put it in the laundry room and make sure the ice isn't melting.
Let the turkey bathe for a day and night until you are ready to cook it.
You did keep the giblets right? And do get permission to use them from She-who-is-in-charge-of-holiday-planning because sometimes the giblets are used for stuffing or gravy purposes.
Boil that heart, gizzard, and liver up!
Then present the holiday treat to your dog. Here, you see Piper ready to feast.
After brining, pull out the turkey and get it ready to cook. Don't rinse it. Here I am stuffing the turkey.
Good luck and let me know how it goes for you.Posted by michael at December 27, 2006 09:53 AM