If the thought of "brining" a turkey is intimidating to you, forget it. It's easy breezy... we do all the hard work.
THANKSGIVING TURKEY BRINING INSTRUCTIONS: Mix entire brine mix bag into 1 gallon of ice water and 1 gallon of cold apple cider. Mix well (3-5 minutes). Place brine bag inside of clean 5 gallon bucket for stability. Place fully thawed bird in bag, breasts side down. Slowly pour brine/liquid mix over bird to fully cover. Allow the bird to soak for at least 12 hours in brine, but no less than 1 hour per lb. Prior to cooking, wash off brine, pat dry. Rub with Tacticalories seasoning and smoke, bake, fry or grill. The meat will be so moist and juicy, you’ll be gobblin' up a storm!
What is brining and why should I brine?
Brining is the soaking of poultry, pork or other lean meats in a solution of water, salt and generally herbs and spices for the purpose of making the meat more moist and juicy, as well as more tender and flavorful. Brining actually works better to pull flavors into meat than using a rub. The salt solution increases the moisture holding capacity of the meat. While cooking or grilling, moisture is still lost, but two things happen; first, you start with more moisture in the meat, and second, less moisture is actually lost from the meat because of the chemical process that occurs.
To summarize – it’s like giving your meat a relaxing bath that leaves it moist, tender, and deliciously seasoned!
How does it work?
Here comes the chemistry. When meat is added to a salt solution, salt is drawn into the meat. The high salt concentration then draws the liquid deep into the meat, where it begins to denature the muscle proteins, hence tenderizing the meat. The liquid is then “stuck” in the meat, and does not easily release out, even during cooking. Herbs, spices, and other flavor elements that are also present in the mix are also drawn into the meat with the saltwater/brining mixture.
What should you brine?
Brining has a place with just about any meat you want. Pork, shrimp, chicken, turkey and other poultry tend to be lean. Due to their low fat content, there is a possibility of drying out the meat even if only overcooked by a few minutes, making them great candidates for brining. If you plan to smoke a roast or rack of ribs, try brining it first to add moisture and flavor even deeper into the meat.
Additional Brining Tips:
Always use a non-reactive container for your brine solution, such as glass, plastic, most crock-pots or stainless steel. Use a dish or heavy object to keep the meat submerged. If you use a brining bag, be sure to remove all the air so that the brine covers the meat.
Several sources recommend rinsing the meat after removing it from the brine, to remove any surface salt. The meat should also be completely dry before putting on the grill or in the oven.
Letting the meat "rest" for 5-20 minutes (depending on the size of the meat) after removing it from the oven or grill allows the extra moisture to redistribute for a juicier taste.