Tuesday, November 24, 2015

To Brine or Not to Brine That is the Question

To brine or not to brine that is the question I have been asking myself these past few weeks. I wanted a turkey that looked like this picture. 
I've read lots of arguments that favor this cooking method...
Brining enhances juiciness in several ways. First of all, muscle fibers simply absorb liquid during the brining period. Some of this liquid gets lost during cooking, but since the meat is in a sense more juicy at the start of cooking, it ends up juicier. We can verify that brined meat and fish absorb liquid by weighing them before and after brining. Brined meats typically weigh six to eight percent more than they did before brining—clear proof of the water uptake. Another way that brining increases juiciness is by dissolving some proteins. A mild salt solution can actually dissolve some of the proteins in muscle fibers turning them from solid to liquid

But some of the biggest arguments against brining a turkey are the amount of pre-prep.  

Not only does it require that you have a vessel big enough to submerge an entire turkey (common options are a cooler, a big bucket, or a couple of layers of heavy-duty garbage bag tied together with hopes and prayers against breakage), but it requires that you keep everything inside it—the turkey and the brine—cold for the entire process. For an extra-large bird, this can be a couple of days, meaning that you've either given up using the main compartment of your fridge at the time of year that you most want to use it, or that you keep a constant supply of ice packs or ice rotating to keep that bird cold.
So after much deliberated thought I've decided to take the safe route and follow my usual roasting procedure. If I only had the turkey part to worry about I would have jumped on board for this popular cooking method. But when you have sides, desserts and stuffing to make I needed to keep things as easy as possible. But if there are any foodies out there who'd have had some success I'd love to hear from you. I am intrigued and plan to try this method with a smaller turkey in the next few weeks.  

Next Posting: Brunch items for your weekend guests. 


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