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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It’s Turkey Brine in Tennessee

So, as I recently discovered (this week actually), brining meats is a fabulous technique for ensuring juicy-tender noms. Now I am obsessing on this practice and simply must try this with a turkey. This will be a first. One of several firsts to occur over this holiday.
  1. Brining a turkey
  2. Smoking a turkey
  3. Smoking anything without assistance
  4. Making a Thanksgiving meal that I will probably not share with anyone

I am going to submit this ‘pre-brining’ blog now, so I only have to update how it went after I am done. After all, it is a holiday – and I have my Christmas dress to get sewn together!

Brine for poultry 

As with brining pork, brining chicking, poultry and turkey adds moisture and flavor to meat before cooking so it is juicy, tender and yum after cooking. I figure to smoke a turkey breast, I need to add a lot of moisture. The brining technique will work with a whole turkey, whole chicken or a turkey breast.

Brining solutions start with salt dissolved in water. For me, I am going to add sugar and spices as well. I want F L A V O R !

Note: Start brine solution itself early enough to boil it, remove from heat and chill prior to submersing turkey in it for soaking. Brine solution needs to be at 40°F degrees or lower otherwise it is a haven for growing bacteria (“Food Temperature Danger Zone” is 41°F and 140°F where bacteria thrives). NEVER start brining in room temperature water.

*When thawing a frozen turkey, the preferred method is to place it (still wrapped) in the refrigerator on a deep platter or pan to catch any liquids that might leak out. Allow 24 hours in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of turkey. I suggest when you are buying a turkey, you make sure that it will:

a) Fit in your freezer
b) Fit in your refrigerator

Close to the end of the thawing time you can remove the giblets (heart, liver, gizzard, and neck) from the chest cavity to either dispose of - or cook and add to giblet gravy!

Note: You will need to make sure you have a non-reactive container or food grade clean bucket large enough to hold the turkey/poultry and brine solution to cover meat completely.

Time:  Allow 8.5 hours for soaking and prep. Time needed to cool the brine solution prior to adding ice will vary. Yes, this means I have no clue because I have not done this type of brining before. I did not boil the solution for the pork chops...


Fresh or thoroughly thawed turkey*
1 Gallon water (must cover meat)
1.5c sea/Kosher salt
.5c sugar
1T whole black peppercorns
1T whole allspice
8c Ice


Combine water, salt, sugar, peppercorns and allspice in large stockpot. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar while heating to a boil over fairly high heat.

Remove from heat and cool the brine solution completely.

Add ice to solution along with turkey, place in the refrigerator and allow to soak 8 hours. Make sure ALL of the meat is under water. Weigh it down if you must.

Makes 1½ gallons (after adding the ice) of brine.

Once you are done soaking/brining the meat – remove it from brine solution, rinse inside and out. Prepare to cook however you wish.

Dispose of brine solution.

For me – this takes me to my smoking adventure.

Puff puff give...

Puff puff give...


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