The Truth About Brining Turkey
Does brining a turkey really make a difference ?I am a huge fan of brining poultry! For those of you that have never tried brining, you simply must. There is just no better way to add moisture and get perfect seasoning all the way down to the bone. In addition to dramatically improving the flavour, the added moisture gives you an extra margin for error in avoiding the dreaded balsa-wood-like dry white meat.
For me the only turkey is a brined one. Not only does it tenderize and add subtle spiciness, but it makes carving the turkey so much easier. You only have to try this method to be utterly convinced. And I mean to say: how hard is it to fill a pan or large plastic bin or bucket with water and spices and lower a turkey into it? At this time of year, it’s fine just to leave it in a cold place. I sit mine in the back room of the house with the window open. It means everyone freezes, but who am I going to put first – my turkey or my guests? Out in the garden if you’re lucky enough to have one would also be fine, though the pan must be securely covered: if you´ve got a bucket or bin out in the open, cover it twice with foil and then put something heavy on top to prevent animal scavenging.
And, though you might find it hard to believe sight unseen, a raw turkey covered in brine – with its oranges, cinnamon sticks, and scattering of spices – looks so beautiful as it steeps that I can never help lifting the lid for quick, blissfully reassuring peeks.
1 cup salt (or 1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large lime
1 onion (cut into thick slices)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme (dried)
4 cinnamon sticks