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Old 12-21-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
Babbling Farker
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Join Date: 05-26-07
Location: Southern California
Default The Complete Christmas Guide To The Best Dry-Brined Turkey.

Below is a link to an LA Times article about a ground breaking process that will produce the best Turkey you have ever served. They will kiss your ring and beg for more.

Oh ya....And its easy! No more five gallon buckets of brine. No more shriveled salt fingers. Just modify the cooking process for your grill or smoker.

Peace and Merry Christmas!,4954438.story

"Dry-brined turkey is, if anything, even more remarkable. While turkey sometimes can be dry and bland, after dry-brining, the meat is moist and flavorful. And in an improvement over wet-brining (which I enthusiastically practiced for several years), the texture of the meat stays firm and muscular, with none of the sponginess that can result from added moisture.

Brining the bird

It couldn't be simpler to do. Here's how it works: Sprinkle the bird with salt, allowing about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. That's not a lot -- it won't look like much more than what you'd normally apply just before roasting. And contrary to some published reports (I'm looking at you, Cook's Illustrated!), you can sprinkle the salt right onto the skin; you don't need to lift the skin and salt the meat.

Then stick the turkey in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. After a day or so, you might see some liquid in the bag. Don't worry. Salt naturally pulls moisture from meat. Give the turkey a light massage through the bag to make sure the salt is distributed evenly and stick it back in the fridge.

After three days, you'll see that the moisture has been reabsorbed by the meat, pulling the salt with it. At this point, if you're a perfectionist, you can remove the turkey from the bag, put it on a plate and let it dry in the refrigerator for several hours (the fan in the refrigerator works very well as a skin-dryer). If you haven't yet reached that level of obsession, you can just pat the skin dry with a paper towel; the skin may not be quite as brown or crisp, but few will notice.

Then you roast it. Start at 450 degrees to get the browning going, then after a half-hour or so, reduce to 325 to cook through. In the past, I've called for rotating the turkey during cooking so it browns more evenly. No more, it's just too big a hassle considering the modest improvement in color.

So simple, how could you change it? Ha! You don't know the power of a motivated tinkerer . . . or of curious readers.

My first major discovery came after several e-mails asking whether it could be done with frozen turkeys too, rather than adding three days of defrosting time onto the three days of dry-brining. It seemed like a good idea, so we tried it in the test kitchen and it worked perfectly.

So no longer do you have to buy your turkey a week in advance. Just rinse the frozen turkey in cool water (to start the defrosting process), pat it dry and salt it. Then proceed just as you would with a fresh turkey. By the time it's defrosted, it'll be seasoned and ready to go.

That makes dry-brined turkey much more convenient. Other reader e-mails prompted an idea that made it even more delicious. As originally constructed, with just plain salt, this recipe delivers a really deep, pure turkey flavor. It's not overly salty, more like seasoned all the way to the bone.

But what about adding flavors? Especially for readers used to marinades and wet-brining, the whole "deep pure flavor" thing can seem a bit austere. What about adding different herbs or spices to the salt?

To find out, I rubbed a turkey breast with a mixture of salt ground with minced fresh rosemary and grated lemon zest. Yup again, great flavor, with just a hint of rosemary suffusing the breast meat. The lemon zest was barely detectable.

Just to be sure the flavor had really penetrated the meat and wasn't just coating the surface, I cut some very wide slices, getting as much of the center of the muscle as I could, then tasted that by itself. The rosemary flavor was definitely there".
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