Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brined Turkey - Thanksgiving Day - A Uniquely American Holiday

I was looking at the statistics for this weblog and thank you, dear reader, for so much attention. I'm getting about 20 hits a day on a web-site-blog that I have never advertised, spoken about (maybe 2 or 3 people have hear me say: "Danger Men Cooking") and don't make an effort to publicize. So, again, you, my readers are my cause for Thanksgiving in more ways than one.

I live in Los Angeles, California. This week, LA has seen some rain and very cold weather. By very cold, I mean it has been in the upper 40s and low 50s at night with a daytime high in the low 60s. By LA's climate, that quite cold. OK! Stop it you people in the rest of the US or around the world where in November (northern hemisphere) a night time low in the 20s to 30s isn't unusual. Today is the day before Thanksgiving and I have a 12 pound Butterball turkey to prep in a brine. Despite the dire warning from all the food pundits, about keeping the brining in the 'frig for the requisite time, I'm going to stick my neck way out and leave the turkey in the brine, covered, and outside on the patio, overnight. I believe and I want to emphasize believe, that the cold weather combined with the salt and sugar will slow the growth of bad microorganisms long enough to make a brined turkey, safely.

I am brining the bird two days in advance of Thanksgiving so that the skin will have some time to dry before it goes in the oven. Also, although I'm brining the whole bird, I will be cutting it into pieces and freezing the 2nd breast, and both thighs. The wings and carcass will make stock. The cutting will be done after the brining. It might not matter, but I'm somewhat lazy right now and this looks to be the easier way.

I found an excellent online article about how to cut the turkey up into perfect pieces. I would recommend saving it. The article has both text and very nice pictures. I didn't completely follow all the instructions and don't have a tenderloin to show for that, but I have the breasts, thighs ready for roasting and the remainder in the stock pot for soup stock. The two legs are going into the pot for 60 minutes, later today. They will only cook for a short time as I want the leg meat for turkey tacos and that's a sufficient time to properly simmer the legs and not remove all the flavor and texture.

The stock has powdered bay leaf, black peppercorns and salt for flavoring. Also, one can of chicken stock. I believe that using some stock, even in a gallon of plain water does a lot of good. And I skimmed the scum for the first 15 minutes or so. I'll add an onion and a carrot later, after the meat has simmered an hour. Almost forgot . . . I'll add 1 tbs. (15 grammes) of minced garlic then, too.