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Rod Bankens Common Sense
What Is a Brine?
In the most basic form, a brine is a mixture of water and salt. Usually this is a solution of 1 cup of coarse Sea Salt for every 1 gallon of water or liquid.
I also add Brown Sugar, Herbs, and Vegetables that will influence the flavor of the brine water. I then heat the brine mix to help release the flavor into the water. I add Ice to the brine mix to quickly cool it to place the cool turkey in the mix for the brining process.
How Does a Brine Work?
During the brining process, the brine water gets pulled into the fibers of the meat where the flavor and moisture gets trapped.
There is always moisture loss when meat is cooked or smoked, but now, because there is extra seasoned water trapped inside the meat, it ends up juicy, more so than it would have been otherwise.
My general go-to turkey brine which also works for all poultry. You can use this one as is or add as much other herbs, spices, juices or liquids etc. that you choose.
Pour the water, salt, brown sugar and chopped vegetables into a large stock pot and heat it to a robust boil, stirring well. Add a gallon of ice to cool down quickly.
Using a plastic food-safe container or a brine bag place the whole Turkey and cover it with the brine mix. If you debone your Turkey, place the Turkey pieces into the brine mix. I recommend brining for a minimum of 8 hours or the best is over night.
Once you have the Turkey in the brine mix, place the container in the refrigerator for the duration of the brining time.
Once the turkey is finished brining, remove it from the brine, discard the brine and rinse the turkey well under cold water.
Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel before proceeding with seasoning.