Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wet or Dry Brine? Oh me, oh my.

Today starts the kitchen countdown to Thanksgiving. I made the cornbread for my dressing last night, Thursday morning it will be mixed with chicken stock and other things to make the delicous cornbread dressing to go with the Turkey.

Speaking of the Turkey. I had made up my mind that this year I was going to brine my turkey in a wet brine mixture for 24 hours starting tomorrow morning. However, I saw this on http://www.notmartha.org/ and am now torn between a wet or dry brine.

Turkey Technique: The Dry Brine

In the Los Angeles Times, Russ Parsons shares a turkey cooking technique inspired by Judy Rodgers, the chef/owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe.

He calls it "dry-brining": "You just salt the turkey a few days in advance, give it a brisk massage every so often to redistribute the salt, and then roast it." The salt releases moisture from the turkey, which gets reabsorbed by the meat, essentially brining the bird in its own juices.
While wet-brining -- soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution -- has become a very popular way of preparing turkey, Parsons notes the technique often leads to a spongy texture. On the other hand, dry-brining leaves the turkey "firm and meaty."

While the technique is straightforward, make sure you leave enough time for the turkey to brine (three days), though Parsons writes that you can cut it back to two days.

Just salting down the bird and giving him a little message every so often sounds so much easier than mixing, cooking, cooling, pouring into a bag, putting the bag in a cooler with ice.

Heck what am I saying, time is of the essence here, so my bird is going to have to settle for a massage instead of a leisurely soak in the tub!

Gobble, gobble!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


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