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Life and Religion

Practice makes perfect: a dress rehearsal for your turkey
The key to making an impressive bird is the brine
 
Published Wednesday, November 20, 2013
by Brandpoint

clientuploads/v38n13photos/Turkey_300.jpg
PHOTO/BRANDPOINT
Why not conduct a pre-Thanksgiving dress rehearsal with your bird? The secret to a tender, moist turkey is brining.

The holidays are right around the corner. Thanksgiving is just days away, and according to a National Turkey Foundation survey, more than 88 percent of Americans will be eating turkey.

Already thinking about that daunting task of cooking the turkey? Conducting a pre-Thanksgiving dress rehearsal is one way to make sure your bird impresses all the guests. Consider doing a dry run with a smaller turkey or try a smaller bird altogether, like chicken. The key is using the following brining technique to prepare a bird that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

Brining is the hot culinary trend that's got everyone from celebrity chefs to home cooks buzzing, but it's hardly new. Mankind has been brining since ancient times. It probably started out, hundreds of millennia ago, as a way of preserving seafood with sea salt. However, the technique has come a long way since. Now food lovers everywhere, in typical what's-old-is-new-again fashion, are rediscovering the benefits of brining. 

The brine is simple: salt, sugar, water, dried spices and the magic ingredient: soy sauce.

What's the secret behind brining? Brining has a tenderizing and moisturizing effect. The brine is absorbed and diffused throughout the meat as it soaks overnight.

In addition, Roberts explains that soy sauce has a savory effect that seals in the turkey flavor and moisture.

"Brining makes a big difference when you're roasting meat. You'll have the juiciest bird you've ever tasted," said Roberts.

But, as we all know, a turkey isn't the only thing on the kitchen table. Luckily, brining isn't just for meat. You can get creative with your side dishes too. Brine veggies for a rich, savory taste. Brussels sprouts, are a prime candidate for a soy sauce brine. Or use the spice and heat to balance out the creamy texture of the mashed potatoes. If you have leftover turkey, try a completely new dish instead of just reheating.

As you prepare to celebrate the holidays, try this brining recipe to keep turkey juicy and moist: 

Savory Turkey Brine
(Recipe for a 16 to 24 pound turkey)

Ingredients:
2 gallons cold water 
10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce 
1/2 cup kosher salt 
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons dried sage 
2 tablespoons dried celery seed 
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Instructions:
The night before roasting, remove giblets and turkey neck; rinse turkey inside and out. In a large stock pot or 5 gallon bucket, mix water with remaining ingredients. Stir well until all the salt is dissolved. Place turkey in the pot, cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from the brine, rinsing well. Follow your regular cooking instructions.

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