It’s an appropriate time for me to confess to following the trend of brining the Thanksgiving turkey.
The technique of soaking meat in salt water to preserve it and draw out bacteria is as old as the hills. But, the practice fell out of style after modern refrigeration gave us a safer place to store tomorrow's dinner.
Now, foodies are taking another stab at brining as a way to add flavor to any number of cuts of boring meat. I was on to this last Thanksgiving, but gave it a halfhearted attempt because it seemed dead wrong to add too many unfamiliar flavorings to a meal for my waspish relatives to handle in one sitting.
Yet my then-11-year-old picky-eating nephew who usually wants pizza exclaimed at the dinner table that that was the best turkey he had ever tasted. While he had no idea who prepared that bird, he has put in a request now for one “just like we had last year.”
So to satisfy a kid like him, you’ll need a vacation day and 12.7 oz jar of Victoria Taylor’s Traditional Brining Blend. It contains two cups of California sea salt, demerara sugar, spices, Malabar black peppercorns, citric acid, garlic and orange peel.
Blend this aromatic spice kit into two cups of boiling water and then cool it with three cups of ice. If you are really smooth in the kitchen, you will have a giant airtight Zip Lock Bag to use to soak the bird overnight in the fridge in the brine and two gallons of cold water.
Wake up early Thanksgiving to pop that Tom into the oven resting in white wine and vegetables. Don't forget to tie up its legs and cover the breast meat with cheesecloth to keep the white meat moist. I stuff mine with one pear to sweeten the stock for the gravy.
Next up: a recipe for ham glaze.
Drool baby drool.