Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To brine or not to brine?

First of all let me say that the hardest part of doing this blog is the photos. You know how many countless great things I have cooked and forgotten to take a picture before we ate it all? It happens ALL the time. Like for instance this Sunday I cooked a dandy of a turkey, but I forgot the picture, I could take a picture of the ziplock full of leftover turkey, but that wouldn't do it justice now would it.

Why did I make a 20 lb turkey for Sunday dinner do you ask? Because I wanted to ask myself the question, to brine or not to brine. I have always brined, because I always want to do things the best way, not the easiest way . . . usually. But frankly, brining is a big pain the rear. My turkey from last year was really good no doubt, but was it the brine? perhaps. So I have been reading turkey recipes and putting my ear to wind every time I hear turkey. So many different ways to do things, cook it upside down, deep fry it, buy a pre brined turkey, inject it . .bla bla bla. Which one shall I try first? What sang to me the most was putting butter and herbs under the skin of the turkey between the breast and the skin.

So this is what I did. The night before I made an herb butter with a stick of butter, three cloves garlic minced, about a teaspoon of sage, thyme and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I mixed the butter and herbs together and rolled it into a loaf in parchment paper, and put it in the fridge. The next morning before church, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. I rinsed the turkey and patted it dry. I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and stuffed it with stuffing. Next, sliced my herbed butter loaf into thin slices. I loosened the skin from the breast of the turkey gently and slid butter under the skin all over the turkey. I put it in the roasting pan, coated the top of the skin with olive oil and liberally salt and peppered it. Then I put it in the oven and roasted it for about 4-1/2 t0 5 hours. 2 of those hours were uncovered the rest were covered. I used a digital thermometer to make sure it read 165 degrees (it actually was about 170)

I have to say, it was a great turkey. Moist and flavorful. I felt so much easier not to brine! and I couldn't really see a difference. That being said, I must admit I am not a turkey officianato. Turkey is merely a vehicle to plate all the other great things for thanksgiving, as far as I am concerned. Its no beef tenderloin if you catch my drift.

So this year, I am not going to brine. Its a pain. Hope not to disappoint.


Dan and Hillary Ross said...

As has been the case for all our lives, I have the overwhelming urge to spell check your writing. Your writing, as always, is still amazing though. Some things never change. All I can say is that at least we're not subjected to reading your handwriting.

Summer said...

this is so funny...i am checking blogs here for the first time in a long time and no joke I just got done doing a brine for my turkey - for my first time! We have family in town, so we are doing Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I, like you keep hearing of all the different ways to do a turkey and the one that stuck out to this year was a brine - I did a super simple one and I am looking forward to seeing if I notice a difference or not! I have done the herb butter thing under the skin before and it turned out yummy - it didn't really flavor the turkey, but it made the skin nice and flavorful!