How to Brine a Turkey
Wow, it has been a looong two weeks! If you’ve been wondering where the new posts are, the answer is that I’ve been literally unable to post…all due to some WordPress glitch…or my hosting company…or some other alien force that simply did not want me to update you with delicious Christmas goodies. The good news is that it looks as if it’s fixed, there’s still plenty of time before ol’ St. Nick slides down our chimneys, and plenty of posts and recipes coming your way!
In the midst of all of that technical stuff, I actually have been out having some fun, too! I flew to LA to film a cooking show for which I was one of the judges! I met two very fabulous, down-to-earth celebrity chefs who I can proudly now say are friends. I have many great pictures to share with you – can’t wait! I’m legally bound to keep my yap shut not share many of the details yet, but there are some photos that I can post very soon!
Anyhoo, about that brining technique…
What is brining and why should you bother? Brining hydrates the cells of muscle tissue making it more tender and juicy. Using a mixture of salt or sugar with water, the protein (in this case a turkey) is submerged in the brine mixture for at least 8 hours or overnight. You can add seasonings and flavorings to your brine to boost the flavor of the meat, too. For our Thanksgiving turkey this year I used a soy brine that turned out wonderfully!
Kikkoman sent me a big ol’ box of goodies to help with my turkey dinner this year. I’d never brined a turkey using soy sauce before, but I use Kikkoman soy sauce for so many other things that I was curious to taste the outcome. It was interesting: the flavor itself was very subtle, which I liked because I was afraid the soy flavoring would overpower the flavor of the turkey. And, true to the brines I’ve used in the past, this one made my turkey nice and juicy!
One important thing to consider before you brine a turkey (or other large protein): be certain that you have a container large enough to hold both turkey and brine. Don’t underestimate how large your container needs to be! The turkey should be covered completely in brine, so do your work ahead of time. The box I received from Kikkoman had some “brining bags” from Reynolds that I’d first dismissed as something I wouldn’t need. Turns out the turkey I bought was so large that it didn’t fit in my usual container…enter the brining bag. I put the bag in my roasting pan, added the turkey then poured the brine over…voila! Worked like a charm, plus I had zero cleanup! I highly recommend trying these as they made my turkey cookin’ much easier!
Here’s the brining recipe that I used from Kikkoman:
- 2 gallons cold water
- 10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried sage
- 2 tablespoons dried celery seed
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
The night before roasting, remove giblets and turkey neck; rinse turkey inside and out. In a large stockpot, or a 5 gallon bucket, mix water with remaining ingredients. Stir well until all salt is dissolved. Place turkey in pot, cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from brine, rinse well. Follow your regular cooking instructions.