A brine is simply a salt water solution. But so much more can be added to a brine depending on your needs- herbs, sweeteners, and mirepoix to name a few. A brine is used for many reasons, the primary being to help make a piece of meat more tender. Another reason is that a brine will help keep a generally lean piece of meat moist. A brine also helps improve the flavor. During this time of year Turkey is all the talk. Supposedly because the Pilgrims and the Native Americans decided to share a lovely meal together..and turkey just so happened to be the spotlight.. Whether or not this happened the way we were all taught in school who knows? ..But that is a discussion for another blog. The point is that Turkey is what tradition calls for, so thats what everyone looks forward to. That being said, roasting a whole turkey will always leave you with a dry white meat, and juicy dark meat (hopefully the dark meat isn’t dry as well.). or Juicy white meat and, dark meat that is under cooked. This can be prevented by brining the turkey ahead of time. This is very important because you need to allow time for the the turkey skin to dry out. This is the only way to achieve a crispy skin when brining a bird. Leaving the Turkey in a roasting pan for one day will suffice, but two or three days would be ideal.
1.5 c Salt 3/4 c Sugar 2 Lemons peeled* 1 Orange peeled* 2 Bay leaves 1 Onion sliced 6 cloves Garlic siced 3 parsley stems 1 rosemary stem 6 qts water
* peel the citrus, but try not to remove too much of the pith (the white part that is in between the zest and the actual fruit), then juice the citrus.
- Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Pass through a fine mesh strainer.
- Cool down completely.
**if the brine is needed right away, follow the steps using only half of the water. While cooling down, add the last 3 qts using ice water(primarily ice, use water only to fill in the gaps). (Just strained brine)
I substituted limes as seen in the first picture, because that is what I had on hand. After doing what you need to do with the bird. whether it is plucking the feathers, or just removing the package of innards. Place the bird in a container that will allow for it to be completely submerged, and pour the brine over it. Brining time depends on the size of the Turkey you have. A good guideline to use is to brine one hour per pound. After you have brined the bird, pat it dry. Place the brined turkey in your fridge uncovered until its time to cook. This is what I did: I put the turkey in brine on monday afternoon, and pulled it out tuesday evening. so that it will have a full day and a half for the skin to dry.
The Science behind brining a piece of meat: “Chloride ions, from dissolved salt, diffuse into muscle fibers and accumulate along the surface of protein filaments. As these ions increase in number, they generate a negative charge that loosens and pushes neighboring filaments apart — analogous to the way magnets with the same polarization repel each other. The charged filaments push far enough apart that they cause the muscle fibers to swell — if water is available to fill the space opened up in the process.” Modernist Cuisine, Volume 3, Page 154 What I understood from this:The dissolved salt starts to break down the protein fibers, through diffusion, and cause the protein strands to push far enough apart that the given protein begins to absorb the brine it is submerged in.