The brining process, water saturated with salt, is believed by some to be a favorable way to prepare turkey, resulting in a moister product. For centuries salt has been used in poultry and meat processing to add flavor and to provide extra moisture. During the soaking process the water is locked within the turkey. As the cooking process begins, the heat gels the proteins and forms a barrier to keep the liquids from escaping.
There is an additional large container required for the brining process, along with lots of space in a refrigerator. A large covered non-corrosive pan or stockpot (glass or stainless-steel) or food-safe plastic container (available from home-brew supply stores) is required for the soaking process.
Since brining does not preserve poultry, the turkey must be kept below 40 degrees F throughout the entire brining process. If refrigerator space is limited, the brining process should be done with the use of ice packs to ensure the turkey stays below 40 degrees F during the brining time.
A few other pointers:
Reduce the amount of salt in the turkey stock
Use unsalted butter in the meal preparation
A brined turkey cooks slightly faster than an unbrined turkey, so check the internal temperature frequently during the last 30 minutes-45 minutes of cook time.
If the turkey is to be cooked at high temperatures (450 degrees F-500 degrees F), in the oven or on a grill, it is best to reduce the amount of salt by one-half and to use only a little sugar in the brine. These adjustments will prevent the turkey from browning too quickly.
Do not substitute equal amounts of kosher salt for the table salt, defined in the recipe below.
|15 pound WHOLE TURKEY (not self-basting or kosher) thawed, giblets and neck removed|
|2 Cups Table salt (do not substitute equal amounts of kosher salt)|
|2 Gallons Water, icy cold|
|4 Cups Brown sugar|
|1/2 Cup Rosemary, dried|
|1 Onion, small, peeled and quartered|
|1 Carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks|
|4-6 Tablespoons Unsalted butter|
|As needed Fresh fruit for garnish|