Poultry Brine Recipe
After you’ve raised your meat chickens or turkeys from day one, found the best local poultry processor you could find, or processed them yourself, you’re probably looking forward to that delicious first taste of the meat you’ve raised yourself. There’s one more step that could kick your homegrown poultry experience up another notch or two. Consider a wet brine soak prior to cooking to boost the flavor and moisture.
Why Use A Wet Brine
Two main methods are used when adding spices and flavor to meat before cooking: a wet brine soak and a dry rub. You may also hear a dry rub called a dry brine; it’s the same thing. For poultry, I prefer to wet brine a whole bird since preparing a brine solution and submerging the entire bird allows the brine to permeate the entire carcass, inside and out. A dry rub works well for preparing cut-up poultry. One disadvantage to a wet brine is that the skin won’t get crispy since it has absorbed a fair amount of water. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, stick to using a dry rub. Due to osmosis, a wet brine will usually result in a juicier and more tender bird.
Wet Brine Poultry Recipe
This recipe is enough to brine a whole chicken. To adapt it to use with a whole turkey, double the ingredients and use a food-grade 5-gallon bucket and lid for the soak.
In an 8-quart stock pot, add the following ingredients:
- 3 quarts of tap water
- 3 whole lemons, sliced into ¼-inch slices
- ⅔ cup sea salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 large bay leaves
- 4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 T of dried
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
Stir all ingredients well and add a whole chicken to the pot. Cover with a glass dish or plate to keep the chicken submerged. Put the entire pot into the refrigerator and allow the chicken to marinate in the brine for at least 6 to 24 hours. Remove chicken from the brine and rinse before cooking.
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