Thursday, October 29, 2009

To "Brine" or Not to "Brine"...

One of the MANY things I love about working at Williams Sonoma is the focus that Thanksgiving receives and deserves. It's actually one of the few retail stores that "celebrates" one of my favorite holidays... (I LOVE Christmas, but happy this retailer attracts customers that wait until Thanksgiving is over).  Customers are still coming in the night before to purchase everything possible to make their dinner. I'm forever baffled at the amount of people that brine their turkey. Some for their first time, many who are "pros". I myself don't get the hype. One of my favorite things about cooking a turkey are using the drippings to make gravy... not an option if you brine as it's way too salty; I also love the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven (another reason I'm not ready to deep fry our bird) and I love the stuffing that is cooked inside the cavity! 

From talking to the "brining experts" they swear brining is necessary to improve the flavor and moisture content of the turkey. Traditional brining was meant to preserve meat, the purpose of flavor brining is to improve the flavor, texture, and moisture content of lean cuts of meat. This is achieved by soaking the meat in a moderately salty solution for a few hours to a few days. Flavor brining also provides a temperature cushion during cooking--if you happen to overcook the meat a little, it will still be moist. A flavor brine consists of water and salt. Other ingredients may include sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit juices, beer, liquor, bay leaves, pickling spices, cloves, garlic, onion, chilies, citrus fruits, peppercorns, and other herbs and spices.
I had to "catch up" on all the methods we offer... a little "over the top" to me... but then again, so are many of our customers. Maybe one reason I have no intention to brine my turkey is it's the LAST thing I really eat on Thanksgiving, I love the way it smells and will "maybe" have a piece of dark meat the day after, but white turkey meat does absolutely NOTHING for me! Therefore, brining is not an my opinion it's a total waste of time, effort and money.  Well, there is another option.... how about spending $95.00 and have a "jive fried" fully cooked turkey delivered? 

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