Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey

Hold your horses! Halloween was just last night. we have time, don't we?  Ummm No, Not really. With my work schedule as hectic as it is and bazaar and irregular, I am thinking about the Turkey now.

The first time I cooked a bird, was the first thanksgiving my husband and I were married and I was a week away from giving birth to child unit one. But I held in there and Got dinner done. I called mom a few times to get a recipe or two. Not that I had to remember but being 39 weeks pregnant does kill brain cells or at least stops the thinking process or at least slows it down because I was drawing blanks.

16 years later, and I have perfected it all other than pie crusts.  I am grateful for the time I was able to help my mom last year make the crusts for the pies so for the next few weeks I can perfect the technique.

Oh and if you haven't picked up on it yet, I am a big fan of Alton Brown so this is the brine off "Good Eats Thanksgiving"  I Heart you Alton!!!!!!!

Start off with 1 gallon of vegetable broth. Don't use the low or no sodium kinds. You need the salt for the brine. Then add 1 cup of salt, 1/2 c of brown sugar,  1T of pepper corns, 1/2T each of Allspice berries,  and candied or spiced Ginger. That needs to come to a full boil to help soften if not dissolve the solids. Let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate to keep cool. You can make this up 3 days before as there is a TON of things to do in the days leading up to thanksgiving.

The night before you cook the bird,  If you buy a frozen one, please thaw out in the fridge for a week before cooking. If you buy fresh, great, Just make sure you remove the giblets and neck out of the cavities of the bird before you put it in a food grade 5 gallon bucket.  (call your local bakery and ask if you can get a bucket the frosting comes in that is just the right size, you need the lid too.)  Rinse the bird in cold water and place breast side down in bucket. Add the brine and one gallon of heavily iced water.  basically it's a gallon of ice with water to fill the space between the ice cubes. Secure the lid on tightly and put it in a cool corner of your kitchen or since it's winter in North America a cool corner of the garage.  Rotate the bird after 4 hours like put the breast up.  The sodium in the brine will be a preservative and prevent the build up of harmful bacteria.

How does a brine work?  To my understanding, there is moisture in the muscle of bird. When you put the bird in the salted brine, the moisture is pulled out of the muscle but it's replaced by the brine, bringing the seasonings of the pepper, allspice, and ginger with it.

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