Turkey meat is a popular poultry product, especially in North America where it is traditionally consumed as part of culturally significant events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as in standard cuisine. Turkey contains more proteins per ounce than any other meat. Turkey is reputed to cause sleepiness, but holiday dinners are commonly large meals served with carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol in a relaxed atmosphere. Turkey are usually baked or roasted in an oven for several hours, often the cook prepares the rest of the meal while cooking the turkey.
Sometimes turkey are brined before roasting to enhance flavor and moisture content. There are two method to brine turkey, they are wet brine turkey and dry brine turkey.
Wet Brine Turkey
Wet brine turkey is the most common and traditional way to season a turkey. Brining is a pretreatments which whole turkey is placed in a salt and water solution called brine. The purpose of brining is to produce a wonderfully moist and well-seasoned turkey. Brining process should be done in the refrigerator or in a cooler with 5 to 6 ice packs to keep the turkey and the brine at 40 degrees or below during the entire process. Brining is easier when we use smaller turkey which weight from 12 to 14 pounds. When making brine, you can use table salt or kosher salt, the crystal kosher salt is preferred since table salt contains additives such as anti-caking ingredients, iodine, and other additives.
To brine turkey first start from the day before you intend to cook the turkey, brining process will took at least a day and night to completely make the turkey completely seasoned. Use a fresh turkey or a frozen one, and clean it inside out, remove the giblet bag and neck. In a large stockpot, dissolve 4 cups kosher salt or 1 cups table salt in 2 gallons cold water. Add 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Water will look clear not cloudy. Herbs and spices may be added to the brine to enhance the taste. You can add several crushed bay leaves, several sprigs of dried thyme, or other dried herbs, if you want. Place the turkey in the brine solution, breast down. Cover and chill for overnight. Or use the faster method by doubling the salt and sugar and leave it for about 6-8 hours. Remove the turkey from brine, rinse inside and out under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight. This will make the skin to dry out so it becomes crisp during roasting. After done brining, preheat the oven to 350 degrees then place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey. Coat the meat with butter or olive oil. Cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil and add 1 cup of water to the bottom pan. Cooking time will depends on the size of the turkey. Check the wrapper to see how much turkey weighs and determine the approximate cooking time.
Dry Brine Turkey
Dry brine is also called pre-salting, differs from wet brining or traditional brining. Dry brine does not use any water, a dry brine means rubbing the salt, seasoning, and/or sugar directly onto the meat skin, and then letting the meat rest in refrigerator for a period of time. To dry brine, first dry the turkey by patting them with a paper towel, you need to do this dry brining at least a day before you intend to roast the turkey. Remove the giblets and pat the turkey inside out to make sure it is dry. Just as the same as wet brining, use kosher salt instead of table salt. Rub the salt into the turkey directly or for a faster brining, separate the skin and the meat of the turkey then rub them separately. You may also add citrus zest to make it taste fancier. After you done rubbing the salt and spices, place the turkey in a rimmed baking sheet to catch any liquid that drips off the turkey. Leave it for an overnight and don’t rinse it, then you can cook the turkey however you like, whether roasting or baking it. When using dry brine you may want to add a cup or two liquid to your turkey when roasting it, so your turkey won’t get burnt.
|Wet Brine Turkey||Dry Brine Turkey|
|- Pre-treatments which whole turkey is placed in a salt and water solution||- The process begins by rubbing salt, seasoning, and / or sugar directly into the skin of the flesh|
|- Wet brining is it consumes pretty much time||- Dry brining is it consumes less time|
|- Texture be a little mushy and it is harder to achieve the brown crust because the turkey becomes too watery||- The texture becomes slightly dry and crunchy and brown in color because it does not use much water|
The downside of wet brining is it consumes pretty much time. It also make your turkey may taste a little mushy and it is harder to achieve the brown crust because the turkey becomes too watery. While the downside of dry brine is it usually pretty hard to get salt into the every nook of the turkey, the seasoning also not as well absorbed as when using wet brining. Sometimes you might also over salt your turkey. Wet brining or dry brining both have the same purpose which is to make the turkey taste better. But there are also people who do not use brining at all when cooks their turkey, those people said brining the turkey will robbed the natural taste of the meat. In the end it all depends on how you want your turkey to taste after it was cooked.