Basic Poultry Brine

December 16, 2019 • 0 comments

Basic Poultry Brine
To Brine or Not to Brine? Brining may seem like a relatively new culinary term, but it's actually quite a long-lived tradition. It's essentially marinating combined with curing. You start by making a concentrated flavor base, then add copious amounts of salt and heat them to combine. The salt works to break down some of the proteins in the meat to make it more tender, while those molecules of flavored liquid hitch a ride deep into the muscle tissue to bring more flavor to the party in your mouth! I use this basic staple recipe for brining both chicken and turkey, and recommend brining for 12-24 hours prior to cooking.
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This recipe yields enough to brine up to 6 whole chickens or 1 Jumbo Turkey, but feel free to scale this down for smaller turkeys or a lesser number of chickens.

In a large stock pot pot combine the following:

  • - 4 Quarts of Water 
  • - 2 Cups Kosher Salt
  • - 2 Cups Sucanat 

Heat these items until all salt and sugar are fully dissolved and then allow the mixture to cool. (I'm usually pressed for time, so I cheat and dump a bunch of ice into it) 

Once the brine has cooled to at least room temperature - place your turkey into a vessel large enough to hold the bird, the brine and additional ice and water to cover. Medium-sized coolers are ideal for this part - but I have heard many people use brine bags in their fridge with great success. Pour the cooled brine over the bird(s) and add enough water/ice to cover and keep them submerged in the mixture using a plate, gallon ziplocs filled with water, or anything else that will help hold that poultry under the water. 

As for those flavor add-ons I mentioned here are some ideas and different things I've tried in the past: 

  • - Orange and/or Lemon peels and/or Juice
  • - Cinnamon sticks, Cloves or Allspice berries
  • - Whole Peppercorns
  • - Mustard Seed 
  • - Minced Onion or Garlic Cloves 
  • - Paprika 
  • - Apple Cider Vinegar
  • - Red or White Wine
  • - Fresh Herbs like Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme & Parsley
  • - Dried seasonings like Savory, Coriander, Majoram, Tarragon & Bay Leaves

You can use the brine method for any manner of preparation from roasting, to grilling to smoking... the possibilities and flavor combinations are nearly endless! 

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