Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 2

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CHAPTER 2 NEWS ARTICLE AND CHOICE RECIPES
Contributed Courtesy Of One Of America's Top Pitmasters,
Wyndell "Fergy" Ferguson
** HOW TO BRINE A TURKEY ***
Pam Anderson roasted 40 turkeys while researching "The 
Perfect Recipe" (Houghton Mifflin, $27) and concluded that 
brining is best.  She said, "I will never, ever roast a holiday 
turkey without brining again. The improvement it makes in the
bird is dramatic. It's the difference between a turkey that is 
bland and tastes like sawdust and one that is really flavorful, 
well-seasoned and juicy."
One of America's most renowned and respected Pitmasters, Dan
Gill from Virginia has stated on more than one occasion, "Many
of us have publicly declared we will not cook another turkey 
without brining it first !"
     SHOULD I BRINE THE TURKEY AND WHAT'S BRINING ?
Brining is simply soaking in a salt water solution.
The benefits of brining are many fold.  First, brining provides a
cushion for the breast meat, so even if it overcooks by ten 
degrees or so, it remains moist.
Secondly, the meat of a brined bird tastes pleasantly seasoned,
which eliminates the need to season before and after roasting.
Because the turkey sits overnight in a tub of salted water, brining
also ensures that all parts of the turkey are at the same
temperature.  This is especially good insurance if you're roasting
a previously frozen bird.
Yet another benefit is that the turkey meat absorbs water during
the brining process.  Water is a heat conductor and therefore
expedites cooking.  We tested this theory and found that indeed, a
brined bird cooks faster than an unbrined one by about thirty
minutes.  So while it may seem like added work, dunking a bird
in the brine is worth it for a whole host of reasons. 
Two important notes about brining: Do not brine for longer 
times than those recommended here, and be sure to rinse the 
bird until all traces of salt are gone it will take several minutes
when it's done brining.  Both of these measures will prevent the
bird from becoming too salty.
HOW TO BRINE OVERNIGHT:
Before brining, remove the giblets, neck, and tail piece and 
reserve for gravy.  To brine overnight, dissolve 1 cup table salt
or 2 cups kosher salt in 2 gallons cold water in a large stockpot
or clean bucket (whatever you use, it should be 6-8 gallons), 
submerge the bird in the solution, and refrigerate for 8 to 12
hours.  For ease of cleaning, you can line the brining vessel 
with a turkey- sized oven bag.  If your refrigerator space is at
a premium - as it is for many of us during the holidays,  try
using a more concentrated, and therefore quicker, brine along
with some disposable frozen ice packs, as explained below.
HOW TO BRINE FOR 4 HOURS
Follow the instructions for brining overnight, doubling the 
amount of salt in the solution.  After 4 hours, remove the 
turkey from the brine, rinse VERY WELL under running water,
several times, and pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
HOW TO BRINE OUTSIDE OF THE REFRIGERATOR
FOR 4 HOURS
Follow the instructions for brining overnight, doubling the 
amount of salt in the solution.  (Ed Note: Be Careful Here !) 
Place 4 or 5 large clean frozen ice gel packs in the brine with 
the turkey, tie the bag shut (if using an oven bag), cover the 
container, and place it in a cool spot for 4 hours. After 4 hours,
remove the turkey from the brine, rinse VERY WELL under 
running water, several times, and pat dry inside and out with 
paper towels.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
Pam Anderson ("The Perfect Recipe" - Houghton Mifflin, $27) 
adds:
There are potential drawbacks to brining a big turkey, experts 
say. Anderson suggests that since few people have the 
refrigerator space for a 20-pound turkey submerged in a 
container of salt water, they should put the poultry in a large 
picnic cooler with ice cubes.  Alternately, place it in a cool 
garage, if the temperature is in the 40s or so.
Also, you can always use one of those cooking bags, to which 
you have added both your turkey and your brine solution.  You 
seal the bag, and then place it in a Cooler, which you pack with
ice, and leave it in the garage.
In addition, the pan juices that accumulate during roasting are
usually too salty to make a gravy.
Anderson says her turkey is so good you don't need gravy. "This
is The Way," she said.

Up ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 1 ] [ Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 2 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 3 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 4 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 5 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 6 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 7 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 8 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 9 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 10 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 11 ] Turkey Tips and Tricks! Chapter 12 ]

Friday, May 05, 2000
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