BRINING A TURKEY TO INFUSE MOISTURE AND FLAVOR
The secret to perfect poultry lies not just in how it’s cooked, but how it’s prepared. A dry rub will usually suffice for pork and beef, but when it comes to poultry, sometimes it pays to think beyond the surface. By using a simple turkey brine you’ll keep the skin crisp and the meat tender, juicy and flavorful.
WHAT IS A TURKEY BRINE?
Simply put, a turkey brine is what locks flavor and moisture into the meat before you cook it. A basic turkey brine would just be water and salt, but you can infuse extra flavor by adding other ingredients.
WHY YOU SHOULD BRINE YOUR TURKEY
Brining your turkey is a crucial step in the cooking process. A brine achieves two things that are key to making the most of your turkey – moisture and flavor.
The salt concentration in water triggers a chemical reaction so that the liquid will slowly enter the cells of turkey meat, bringing all the added flavor from the herbs in with it. Once the salt has entered the meat, it retains moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. The longer the bird sits in the brine, the more flavorful your turkey will be – up to a point. Leaving it too long will make it overly salty and negatively affect the texture. Never brine your bird for more than 24 hours.
HOW LONG TO BRINE A TURKEY
The general rule of thumb for brining is about 1 hour per pound of turkey, with 24 hours the maximum you should brine any bird. No matter how you flavor your brine, it's critical that the brine temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit when you add the turkey, and throughout the entire brining process, so make sure to clear some room in your fridge.
If you want guaranteed great flavor, grab a bag of Traeger Turkey Blend Pellets, which comes with an orange brine kit and turkey rub. It’s quick, easy and delicious!