Posts Tagged ‘Brining’

Brined & Smoked Christmas Turkey

I brine because I hate dry turkey. Throughout the year I brine various birds and pork before it hits the grill. I love juicy meat and brining is a great way to achieve that. Consider it a turkey slam dunk. Juicy flavorful bird and leftover turkey that is still moist well after the Christmas meal. For me the sammies after are almost as important as the actual meal.

My go to recipe for brining turky is Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey brine. It is the #1 searched recipe on the food network site. With good reason. It works. Always.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Directions

Click here to see how it’s done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

*Personally I omit the ginger in the brine and the rosemary in the aromatics. I love rosemary in beef recipes but I am just not fond of it on turkey.

 

I also like to use butter and fresh sage leaves under the breast of the turkey to create a really lovely looking bird. It looks wonderful on the Christmas table decorated with additional apples and sage leaves on a large platter.

I bbq my turkey in a disposable pan on the Traeger or Egg. I like to capture the pan drippings & juices to form the base for my gravy. The temperature should be 450-500F to begin and then I lower it after the first 45 minutes to 275/300F. I like to use oak and hickory or apple and pecan pellets or wood chunks.  I keep an eye on the color of the breast and if it starts to get a little dark I cover it with foil. Alternatively you can ice the breast first before it hits the grill. Fill up two Ziploc sandwich bags with ice and place on the breast leaving them there for an hour before you grill. This will significantly lower the temperature of the breast.  The reason is pretty simple dark eat and white meat don’t necessarily finish at the same time.  You want the breast to be 165F when finished and the dark meat to be 180F. Lowering the temp of the breast slows down its cooking time.

Heres a great video on how to carve a turkey:

I like to serve my turkey with whipped potatoes, my sweet potato casserole, grilled parsnips, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread, butter and another favorite of mine Stuffing Stuffed Acorn squash & Grilled Brussel sprouts:

Stuffing Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sage chips

4 medium acorn squash split in half and cleaned out
8 tablespoons butter
¼ lb bacon finely diced
1 medium onion finely diced
3 stalks celery finely chopped
8-12 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boxes commercial stuffing mix

Directions
Preheat grill for use indirect to 350 degrees F.
In a large disposable sheet pan (this will make clean up much easier) place the halves of squash . Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each half. Grill until the flesh is just starting to turn soft (approximately 1 hr)
Make commercial stuffing according to directions and set aside
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until brown and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon reserving fat in the pan. Add sage leaves and fry until the leaves are just starting to turn brown at the edges and remove to paper towels to drain. In the same skillet add the onions and celery, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
In a large bowl combine commercial stuffing mixture, onions, celery and bacon. Fill each cavity of the squash half with this mixture. Return to the grill to warm through. Approximately 20 minutes. Garnish each squash half with the fried sage leaves.

 

Grilled Brussel Sprouts

1 lb Brussel sprouts cleaned and trimmed
¼ cup butter melted
Salt
Pepper
Granulated garlic
Fresh thyme sprigs
1 BBQ buddy™ pan

On a charcoal grill with a medium heat (300F) place bbq buddy ™ pan.
Fill with brussel sprouts and sprinkle on granulated garlic, salt & pepper.
Brush with butter. Turn after 5-10 minutes then brush with butter again.
Remove when brussel sprouts are just starting to turn soft (approx 15-20 minutes)
Garnish with sprigs of thyme.

 

 

Kosmo’s Q chicken soak vs. Regular brining

 

Well I recently had the opportunity to try Kosmo’s Q Chicken soak. I thought it would be best to do a simple test to see if the Chicken Soak made a substantial difference vs. regular brining. I consistently have been using a brine for turkey or chicken at home and also in competition.

 

I used 10 lbs of chicken pieces for each test. 10lbs for each application for a total of 20 pounds chicken pieces.

 

These two plates were for the Kosmo’s test. It was a mixture of chicken thighs legs and wings some with skin and some without.

 

The ingredients listed on the package are:

 

Salt, Brown Sugar, Worcestershire Powder, Dextrose, Hydrolyzed Soy & Corn Protein, Citric acid, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor

 

The package of chicken soak weighed 8.6 oz. Thats .6 oz. more than the listed weight.

 

 

In one bucket I used the Kosmo’s Q Chicken Soak 1/2 lb sample mix cost – $4.95 plus shipping- I mixed it according to the directions on the package (doubled for 10 lbs) – Mix 3/4 cup with 64oz (1/2) gallon of liquid. For this test I used plain old tap water for Kosmo’s and the standard brine.

 

 

 

 

* this was the color of the Kosmos at 5lbs then I added the remaining chicken and soak mix. It mixes up very easily as the particles are very small.

 

My Standard Brine

 

In the second bucket I mixed a standard brine I make for Chicken Brown Sugar, Kosher Salt, Peppercorns and All spice berries – cost $2.25 approx for enough brine for 10lbs chicken.

 

 

  • Both sets of chicken were left in their mixtures for the recommended 4 hours.
  • They were both rinsed thoroughly afterwards with tap water.
  • They were both then rubbed with my own personal chicken rub.

 

**The only difference I noticed on the chicken when they came out of the brine was that the Kosmo’s chicken had some very fine red particles that adhered to the chicken. I could not rinse it off. I also could not get a clear picture of it. They were very tiny.

 

For this test I used my Traeger Texas Style with hickory pellets. The grill was set at 300F. All of the chicken parts were taken to 165F.

 

All of the pieces looked great. Nice color on both. They were glazed with my own competition sauce.

 

 

After the chicken came off I rested it on a plate uncovered for 10 minutes.

 

Here are two pieces the one on the right is from Kosmo’s and the one on the left is my own standard brine.

 

 

Now for the all important taste/tenderness test picture:

 

 

Picture of the chicken with standard brine (juices on the plate very moist and tender):

 

 

Picture of Kosmo’s Q Chicken(juices on the plate very moist and tender):

 

 

Even after an additional 15 minutes both chicken pieces were still tender and moist.

 

Conclusion:

 

Kosmo’s Q chicken soak works. So does regular brining.

 

I could not find any discernible difference between the two other than cost and convenience.  There was no taste difference whatsoever. Nothing stood out.  They were both tender and moist.

 

Personally I’ll be sticking with my own brine.

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