Practice Practice Practice Part I

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and am I already practicing for the big day.  My eating skills do not need any help, I’m always in top form there, it’s the preparation of the big feast I’m practicing for,  the cooking of  the turkey on my Big Green Egg this weekend. 
I’m am going to divulge my secret to a moist and juicy turkey, BRINE IT!  Brine is solution of salt, sugar and other spices.  The key ingredient of the brine is the salt. Basically the sodium loosens up the protein cells and allows the meat to hold more water.  Alton Brown will be all over the food network next month explaining it, watch for it. 
The first year I tried brining a turkey is was a big fight,  Cheryl didn’t think it would work, it would be a big mess, blah blah blah.  Anyway, I got her to compromise and I brined the turkey for a few hours.  Well it work, the turkey was very juicy and did not taste salty either.  That was enough to  convince Cheryl that I was right, I usually am she just doesn’t believe me.  Since then I have used brine for turkey, pork shoulders and whole chickens. 
 Here’s the brine recipe I used today.

Brine

  • 1 cup of kosher or regular salt
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon of all spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 gallon of water

I started with a large pot with about 1 quart of water.  Then added the salt, sugar and spices,  other spices can be added or substituted.   Heat the water until the salt and sugar dissolve and allow to cool.  While the brine cools wash the turkey and remove the giblet packs from the bird, there are usually 2 one in the main cavity and another one at the top.  Once the brine has cooled add the turkey and fill with water until the turkey is covered. For best results I found overnight is best but 4-6 hours will work.

Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow or Monday.

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