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To Brine or Not to Brine

For those of you who have not ever tried brining meat or poultry, then you might want to consider doing so this Thanksgiving.

First of all, brining is an age-old process using a mixture of salty water to preserve or add flavor to food. Salt is a natural preservative so back in the days of yore, the salt was used on long sea-voyages to prevent food from decaying.

Today, brining has taken on another purpose; it is a great method of tenderizing meat, poultry or fish, while infusing flavor and locking in the natural juice. Brining is widely used for other foods such as cheese, olives, and certain vegetables.

The amount of brine used depends on the size of the meat or poultry. By using smaller quantities of salt along with other herbs and spices in the brine mixture, the end result will be a moist and flavorful dish, whether it is turkey, chicken or pot roast.

The process of brining is relatively simple, but it does require some planning as the amount of time needed to brine depends on the size of the meat. For example: a large turkey versus a medium-size broiler chicken can take up to 24 hours or more to tenderize.

If you want crispy, golden-brown, skin on your turkey or chicken, you may want to keep it in the refrigerator for a few extra hours after removing it from the brine. By leaving it in the fridge longer will allow the meat to absorb the moisture from the seasoned and tenderized skin. The same thing applies to larger cuts of roasts.

Just follow a few easy steps before brining:

1) Pat the skin dry before seasoning it so you can have a golden-brown roast.

2) If you plan to roast a large turkey or chicken, it is best to insert a thermometer into the area of the birds thickest part, which is the thigh, but make sure you dont hit the bone. It is recommended that the temperature for poultry should read 74°C or 165°F. If the bird is stuffed then the temperature in the center of the stuffing should read the same amount (74°C or 165°F).

Our brine seasoning is the first step in preparing a very delicious and tender turkey, chicken or roast. For a one pound chicken, use one ounce of our brine seasoning. Place the chicken in a pot of water (just enough to cover it) and add the brine seasoning. Cover with a lid and leave it in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Remove the chicken from the brine and wash it thoroughly, then place it in a baking pan coated with olive oil. Bake in oven at 375°F for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Just follow the easy steps of brining as mentioned above, and enjoy your holiday feast.

From all of us at Whole Spice, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!