Today I have a wonderful technique for you that will really improve your meat dishes, particularly poultry. Drum roll please… may introduce: the brine! Brining meats is relatively simple but will make your cooked meats (smoked, roasted, grilled, or even fried!) turn out incredibly tender and infuse so much flavor! Poultry in particular benefits from brining since it often ends up dry once cooked (and in my personal opinion can be kind of bland).
At it’s simplest brining is soaking meat in salt water. (The standard basic ratio is 1 cup of table salt to 1 gallon of water. Though I have still achieved great effect cutting the salt all the way down to 1/ 3rd cup salt to 1 gallon of water.) Meat already has some salt water content naturally but soaking in additional salt water allows the meat to absorb extra moisture which remains inside during cooking. The end result being that your finished dish will be so much moister as well. But the best part is that any additional flavorings added to the brine, think herbs, spices, soy, Worcestershire, will also be absorbed by the meat. You can add a tremendous amount of flavor to meat through this brining process.
I’ve been practicing my brining on chicken (Coming up soon a fantastic roast chicken recipe making use of the brining technique: Ginger Roasted Chicken Stuffed With Rice) and totally plan to try this excellent looking brine on one of the two Thanksgiving turkeys this year. (Yup two, we happen to have double Thanksgivings this year. I’m roasting one turkey and my Dad is smoking the other. Oh my goodness smoked turkey!! Remind me to write a post on my Dad’s smoked turkey sometime.) I will try and take pictures and let you know how this particular brine turns out, so we can all be prepared for next year… it’s never too early to start planning next Thanksgiving right?
Meanwhile I will leave you with a basic brine that I’ve been using constantly. It’s a really great base and you can vary it to your specific needs very easily by changing up herbs and spices.