Turkey. How did it get to be a Thanksgiving thing, anyway?

Turns out my family isn’t over-fond of roast turkey. The stuffing in the turkey is great, but the turkey not so much.  To solve the problem, I’ve started cutting the turkey in pieces, brining and smoking it, and making stock of the bones.  Everyone’s happy and the whole turkey gets used and appreciated.

Brining a turkey (or chicken, for that matter) is really easy.  I’ll share my two favorite recipes. One is for a quick brine, the other is useful when I’m doing a quantity of meat at a time.  The wet brine is better for the less fatty poultry, but a little more time consuming compared to the dry brine.  Either way makes my family happy, though, and that’s what counts.

Enjoy!

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Turkey Brine Recipe (wet brine)


  • Author: Jill Baker from Reader's Digest Back To Basics

Description

This is our all-time favorite recipe and is great for doing whole birds or a lot of parts. I make a double or triple recipe to do a lot of birds at once, then freeze them for smoking when we’re ready to eat them. Smoke is optional. They are great roasted or grilled, too.


Ingredients

Units Scale

3 gallons water

3 lbs salt

3 1/2 cp. brown sugar (about 1 1/2 lbs)

2 Tbsp. dill weed

1 Tbsp. onion powder ( or 1 quartered onion, peel and all)

1 Tbsp. sage

6 cloves

Ginger, nutmeg, paprika to taste (optional)


Instructions

Crush the clove and mix the salt, sugar, and spices in a pot with one gallon of water.

Boil mixture until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Let mixture cool.  This can be hastened by adding the remaining two gallons of cold water.

With all the water added to the brine, add the meat. Submerge the bird(s) in the mixture and let it cure at 38-45 degrees.  The rule of thumb is one day for every two pounds.  Pieces generally need only 12 to 24 hours, whole birds will need one to two days depending on their size.

Rinse and allow meat to sit for a couple hours at a minimum, overnight if possible.

Freeze, or cook as desired.

 

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Turkey Brine Recipe (dry brine)


  • Author: Jill Baker

Ingredients

Units Scale

1 cup salt

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder or granulated

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. rubbed sage

pinch each of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and/or savory

Turkey or chicken pieces


Instructions

  1. Shake salt, sugar, and spices together in a ziplok bag.
  2. Rub mixture onto meat pieces so the meat is evenly covered.
  3. Place the meat in a bowl or bag such that as it makes it’s brine the liquid is kept around it.
  4. Allow to sit for at least a half hour, up to several hours.
  5. Rinse meat and allow to sit while the oven or grill heats.
  6. Cook meat until done. Enjoy!

Notes

Brine can be adjusted to your taste. The key part is the salt to sugar ratio of 1:1.

Leftover brine that hasn’t touched the meat can be saved for another day.

Keywords: turkey