BRINED ROASTED TURKEY
The brining process, water saturated with salt, is believed by some to be a favorable way to prepare turkey, resulting in a moister product. For centuries salt has been used in poultry and meat processing to add flavor and to provide extra moisture. During the soaking process the water is locked within the turkey. As the cooking process begins, the heat gels the proteins and forms a barrier to keep the liquids from escaping.
There is an additional large container required for the brining process, along with lots of space in a refrigerator. A large covered non-corrosive pan or stockpot (glass or stainless-steel) or food-safe plastic container (available from home-brew supply stores) is required for the soaking process.
Since brining does not preserve poultry, the turkey must be kept below 40 degrees F throughout the entire brining process. If refrigerator space is limited, the brining process should be done with the use of ice packs to ensure the turkey stays below 40 degrees F during the brining time.
Several chefs add other ingredients to the brining solution including a combination of herbs such as 6-8 bay leaves, 1/2 cup dried rosemary leaves, 3 cloves peeled garlic, 2 teaspoons peppercorns and 1/2 cup dried thyme leaves. Other chefs recommend the addition of brown sugar with the herbs. Still others prefer the heat imparted by the addition of 1-cup small dried red chili peppers.
A few other pointers:
BRINING WHOLE TURKEY
1 15 pound to 18 pound whole TURKEY, (use a non self-basting or non-kosher) thawed, giblets and neck removed
1. Rinse the turkey in cool water.
2. In a clean container, large enough to hold the turkey, mix the salt and water together until the salt dissolves. If desired, add herbs, brown sugar or chili peppers to the soaking solution.
3. Submerge the turkey in the solution. If the turkey is not completely covered, prepare additional brine. Cover and set the turkey in the refrigerator for 6 hours-8 hours.
4. Remove the turkey from brine. Thoroughly rinse under a slow stream of cool water, rubbing gently to release sugar, herbs and salt, from both the inside and outside of the turkey. Pat the skin and both cavities dry.
5. In the cavity of the turkey, place any combination of the following:
6. Brush the turkey with 4 tablespoons-6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter. Place the turkey in a V-rack or sturdy wire rack and arrange the turkey with breast side DOWN on the rack.
7. Roast the turkey, breast side down, in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 2 hours. During this time, baste the legs and back twice with 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter.
8. Remove turkey from the oven and protecting your hands, grasp turkey with several layers of clean paper towels at both ends, and turn turkey, breast side up.
9. Return the turkey to the oven and continue to roast, basting twice with pan drippings. Continue to roast until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh. Remove the turkey and allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
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