Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brine that bird.

Last year was the first year that we ever "brined" a turkey.  I was truly skeptical.  Screw with tradition? Soak your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and a few other things to add a little taste?  Last year, it was hard to do until we tasted the final product.

So, for Thanksgiving this year, we went ahead and bought a free run, fresh, organic (happy bird) turkey and brined it for 2 days.

It was amazing.  The meat was falling off of the bone.  

We had a 20 pound fresh turkey, which I left in the fridge until my brine was ready.  I used Morton's fine kosher salt in my brine.

Recipe, more or less to brine a turkey.

Use a large canner or whatever container will fit your size turkey (don't use a garbage bag, think of that unhealthy plastic).

In a pan on the stove, I used a cup of salt, a cup of sugar, and about 3-4 cups of water.  I brought this to a boil, and then mixed it with 2 - 2.5 gallons of water in the canner.  To this I added fresh ground pepper, 2 sliced lemons, 2 sliced oranges, and some fresh rosemary.  Once we were back to "cold" water temperature, you add the cleaned out turkey (remove the giblets, etc).  

Let it brine for 1 - 2 days.

Recipe for our stuffing

Bags of bread crumbs
melted butter
some milk or cream
couple of beaten eggs
poultry seasoning

I am terrible with proper recipes.  I just eyeball and taste, and use my hands to get the consistency that I want. I am not an "exact" cook, but I think that what I make tastes pretty good.  

We cooked it at 325 for about 5 hours stuffed.  Covered for the first half, and then we removed the cover.   Stuck some butter on the top to melt in, and ground more pepper on the bird. 

It was an awesome turkey.  We even used a gluten-free flour (Bobs' brand) to make the gravy and it was also really good.  

Turkey is one of those things that it is worth spending the money and getting a fresh, free run happy bird.  You don't find the turkey hangover is so bad, and the folks that usually have problems with turkey tend to find that they don't have issues with a healthier bird.

We had a few of our dinners early.  Tried for a large family gathering and it was a reasonable size, so with out leftovers, we invited some of the family we have chosen for a dinner the next night.   Next weekend I suspect we will break completely with tradition and perhaps go for a salmon just to keep it interesting.

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