As the holidays and family gatherings near, many questions of meals come to mind. The most popular main dishes still seem to be roasted turkey, roasted chicken or ham. After many years of cooking and roasting, I have not opted to brine the turkey or chicken prior to cooking. This turkey I am experimenting with is an all organic young turkey small to medium in size. I went ahead and picked up a local brine mixture, after studying all the different variations of a brine and soaked the turkey in a large bag of brine mixture overnight. It really made a juicier turkey and the flavors really infused lightly into the meat. After soaking it in brine, I took some bunches of fresh herbs rosemary, thyme, some oregano, a full organic apple, cut, as well as a cut organic onion and carrot roasting it in the oven. The brine provided a moister texture to the meat. The fresh herbs, apple, onion and carrot infused the meat with some delicious aromatics and flavor that was better then any other I made before. Getting a smaller turkey and organic provided some deliciously tender turkey meat like none we had prepared previously. Getting the turkey in the bag of brine mixture was tricky but worth it. A little trick was… I put the turkey in the bag of brine that sat within a large pot in the fridge. The pot helped hold the turkey in place allowing it to absorb the brine without leaking, spilling or falling while it soaked. I would use the pot and put the bag within the pot just as I did this time. Hope this helps you decide whether or not brining is for you or not. If you are currently on a restrictive salt or sugar diet, I would highly recommend reducing the amount of brine ingredients to suit your diet and the needs of your family. I changed the brine recipe and diluted it and I will provide the brine recipe mixture in the recipe section this week.
The big question is: To Brine or not to Brine?
Be sure to look at the ingredients of your brine and verify that the items in it are all things you would be using normally. If not lessen the amount, omit it, or look for a comparable substitution. Looking into brine recipes before you make it can inspire great creativity in your food infusing it with items you use and currently enjoy. Opt for the healthy brine recipes. I will include one in the recipe section that was used for this masterpiece. The turkey ended up looking like a star.