Monday, November 19, 2012

Maple Turkey Brine

A few years ago, my husband tried this recipe and it was very flavorful. I had never knew that when you brine a turkey it truly can hold so much of the juice inside. Salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and also the flavorings. It breaks down the proteins, resulting in an extremely tender turkey. This means that despite the moisture loss during roasting you end up with a juicy, tasty bird.

Here is the ingredients for the brine:

4 quarts Water
2 cups Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup Maple Syrup, try finding a local syrup distributor (I ♥ NH Maple!)
3/4 cup Sea Salt
8-10 cloves of Garlic (to your liking), peeled and crushed
6-8 Bay Leaves (to your liking), it adds the traditional flavoring of poultry
3 large sprigs of Thyme
2 tsp Whole Peppercorns

Place all the above ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil dissolving sugar and maple syrup. Remove from heat and allow brine to cool completely before using.

How to "Brine" the turkey~ The real trick with brining is finding a container that's large enough to submerge the turkey, yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try a stock pot, a bucket, or a roasting pan; if you use a shallow roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine. Place the container on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (so spills won't reach foods below).

Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.

When you're ready to roast, pour off the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast-side up, on a roasting rack.

Proceed with your preferred recipe, but remember that the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt. Any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, and no salt should be added to compound butters or spice rubs.

What you'll have after roasting your nicely brined turkey is an Oh! so delicious piece of meat, the highlight of your Thanksgiving feast!
~ M.L.E.

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