Chef Confidential

…every pantry has a story

Time To Brine A Turkey…

Yes I know, I am the worst blogger ever, but just think what a great weight loss plan it would be, if you only ate when I created a post. That said, here is something for you to feast on.

Brine Step 6

This Thanksgiving, I finally did what I have been threatening to do for years, brine a turkey. The results, well honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I’ve read numerous recipes, and articles on the benefits of the brine, all of which really sold me on the concept. Perhaps my expectations were different from what the results are supposed to deliver. I get that brining is used to ensure the turkey, a very lean bird, is moist and juicy when served. In some aspects I was hoping that the brine would add a slight flavor to the turkey. I didn’t feel as though there was any added flavor to the turkey. Should the brine add flavor to the turkey? If I made this brine again, I would add fresh sage to the brine liquid when I cooked it, hoping for a flavor boost. The one thing that the brine did effect was the drippings, when I made the gravy, yikes it was salty. I’m not sure how to get around that one. The turkey that I prepared was on the small side, about 10 lbs, which could have had something to do with the salt issue.

I cook my turkey on the grill, in a regular roasting pan, using a version indirect heat. My gas grill has three burners, I only light the outer burners and place the roaster in the center. I baste one time, whether you are cooking on a grill, or in an oven, every time you open that lid, you are drying your turkey out. For me regulating the temperature on a grill is easier when the back vents are covered with foil. You have to remember, unlike the way an oven cycles heat on and off to maintain temperature, a grill heats nonstop. Without the ebb and flow of heating, the cooking process goes a little faster, turkeys I’ve cooked on the grill finish up to a half hour faster.

Use folded foil in vents to help temperature control.

Use folded foil in vents to help temperature control.

I will definitely brine again, I just found a great Cajun brine recipe via Garden & Gun Magazine. When I make the Cajun brine it will be for the turkey that I deep fry. Yes, I have been threatening to deep fry a turkey for years…

Turkey with Lemon Brine and Sage Butter
1 (12- to 15-pound) fresh turkey
Brine:
Brining bag
2 lemons, sliced (I used Meyer Lemons)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ cups kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1 tbls whole peppercorns
2 cups of water
2 cups ice
2 gallons of ice water
Sage Butter:
1 stick butter
10 fresh sage leaves

Remove turkey from wrapping, rinse thoroughly, place brining bag into roasting pan or pot your choice. In a 6 quart pot bring 2 cups water, lemon slices, salt, sugar, and peppercorns to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove pot from heat, add ice and add 1 gallon ice water and lemon juice. Carefully pour liquids over turkey in the brining bag, add the last gallon of ice water. Seal bag, refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Either by hand or food processor, mince fresh sage and blend with butter, store in refrigerator overnight. Remove turkey from brine, drain, rinse and pat dry. Loosen skin around turkey breast, carefully work sage butter underneath skin. Wrap turkey with plastic wrap, refrigerate over night or 6 hours. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about 1 hour before roasting. Place in on rack in roasting pan, or atop of cleaned carrots, celery and onion. If desired, fill turkey with stuffing, leaving room for expansion. Tie turkey legs together with kitchen string, tuck wings under turkey cover with roaster lid or foil tent. Cook at 325 for 15 min per pound. Baste thoroughly after one hour. Remove lid last 15 minutes for even browning. Remove from roasting pan, cover with foil, let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Pour drippings into large measuring cup, allow them to separate, before making gravy.

Gravy:

4 tbls fat from drippings, or butter
4 tbls Flour
2 cups drippings
1-2 cups chicken broth, if needed

Pour drippings into large measuring cup, allow them to separate. Ladle the top layer of the drippings (fat) into smaller measuring cup. Heat large skillet over medium high heat, add fat from drippings, whisk in flour, cooking for a few minutes. Quickly whisk drippings into skillet, cooking until thickened. If the gravy becomes too thick, add chicken broth in small increments. Cover and keep warm until served.

Here are the visuals to go along with the recipes…

Brine Step 1

Add the 2 cups of water, bring to boil, stir.

Add the 2 cups of water, bring to boil, stir.

This is after the boiling...

This is after the boiling…

Ice cubes to cool down, and ice water...

Ice cubes to cool down, and ice water…

Turkey in brine bag...

Turkey in brine bag…

Seal up the bag, double check it, triple check it...

Seal up the bag, double check it, triple check it…yes there is a story

Rinse, and drain turkey, then pat dry...

Rinse, and drain turkey, then pat dry…

Wrapped up for the sage butter rest...

Wrapped up for the sage butter rest…

Ready to grill/roast...

Ready to grill/roast…

Use folded foil in vents to help temperature control.

Use folded foil in vents to help temperature control.

Grilling can speed cooking up to 30 minutes...

Grilling can speed cooking up to 30 minutes…this is at the one and only baste mark

Time to make the gravy!

Let the drippings seperate, use the top layer of fat for the roux.

Let the drippings seperate, use the top layer of fat for the roux.

Heat the fat up...

Heat the fat up…

Add flour....

Add flour….

Allow to cook for a few minutes...

Allow to cook for a few minutes…

Quickly whisk drippings in.  Thin with broth if needed.

Quickly whisk drippings in. Thin with broth if needed.

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2 comments on “Time To Brine A Turkey…

  1. Cathy Laws
    December 1, 2013

    Cooking the bird intimidates me but just might have to try something like this for christmas

    Like

    • mb
      December 1, 2013

      Go for it, and have fun with it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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This entry was posted on December 1, 2013 by in Beef, Pork, Poultry, Holiday, Sides and tagged , , , , .

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