I got an e-mail this morning from dedicated blog reader Debbie, who remembers that I posted instructions a few years back for brining a turkey. She asked that I send her those instructions because she’s doing Thanksgiving dinner at her house this year.
I love cooking turkeys, but I can’t say I’m upset that I don’t have to do it this year. It’s our year to have the holiday meal with my husband’s family, so I’ll bring the Nair family dressing and enjoy someone else’s cooking. For those of you who do plan to cook a turkey this year, I’ll type up my brine recipe at the end of this blog post.
Over the past few years, frying has become an increasingly popular way to cook the Thanksgiving bird. Folks have either invested in outdoor turkey fryers or purchased a fried turkey from a restaurant such as Bojangles. My mom this weekend pointed out some news that can be viewed as exciting or downright frightening, depending on your point of view: Butterball is selling a new, indoor-safe counter-top turkey fryer. Check out this thing. Has anyone actually used one?
Finally, on an unrelated note, I made some of the most delicious cream cheese frosting yesterday to ice a sheet of pumpkin bars. Simple though it may be, a good, homemade cream cheese frosting just cannot compare to a store bought can of frosting (in my humble opinion). If you have any kind of mixer, you can easily make this frosting. It’s so good on a variety of cakes and cupcakes, including carrot, coconut, chocolate and red velvet. Click here to take a look at the recipe and please tell me if you think you’ve got a better one.
Speaking of recipes, the Roanoke Times PlateUp Recipe Contest deadline was midnight last night. I hope everyone who wanted to enter got a chance to do so. We received about 550 entries, which we’ll be whittling down this week. Finalists will be notified soon! Best of luck to everyone!
How I brine my bird:
1. Boil 2 cups of water on the stove, then stir in 1 cup of kosher salt and 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar.
2. When it has dissolved (or is as close as it’s going to get), add the mixture to one gallon of ice water in a non-corrosive container such as a clean 5-gallon bucket or a clean cooler. Add some freshly ground black pepper.
3. Submerge the meat. If you don’t have enough water to cover the meat, add more. If you have room in the fridge, put it in there. My turkey was so big one year that I had to put it in a cooler and add a bag of ice to keep it chilled enough while it brined. The important thing is to make sure it is chilled well enough that it does not become unsafe.
4. Soak overnight (or up to 24 hours).
5. When you are ready to prepare the bird for roasting, remove from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine.
NOTE: A brined bird may cook faster than an unbrined bird. Be sure to use a meat thermometer and keep this fact in mind.