…every pantry has a story
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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…
Time to make the gravy!