Psalm 69:30 – I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Hello Little Bend friends. Well it is that time of year again Halloween is over and we start looking forward to Thanksgiving. As you may know Thanksgiving is a very busy time for us here at Little Bend Heritage Farm. We have already taken one batch of turkeys to be processed for Thanksgiving and we are preparing for another batch to go in a couple weeks.
Cooking a turkey can be a traumatic experience for some people! We have all heard stories of the turkey being dried out and a tasteless centerpiece on the table! In fact I remember a commercial years ago for a turkey ad where the running comment was “You know it’s going to be dry”! Well that does not have to be the case anymore.
You see certain meats such as turkey, pork, and fish which are low in fat can get dried out during the cooking process. One way to help prevent this is to brine these meats. So today I want to talk to you about a method of preparing your turkey for cooking called brining a turkey. If you aren’t familiar with this method simply put brining a turkey is soaking it in a salt water solution to maximize the juiciness of the turkey. What the salt solution does is to help retain some of the water that is naturally in the meat during cooking and also helps break down some of the proteins in the meat.
Brining a turkey will not make it taste salty. This method has been used for many years and is making a comeback in today’s cooking. In fact most turkeys sold for Thanksgiving in the stores are “pre-brined” from the factory. If you ever read the label you will see that they have injected a salt solution of some kind in the turkey.
With natural Heritage turkeys no solution has been added to the turkey, so brining the turkey does not change the turkey in any way as the solution is not injected into the turkey as it is with the factory turkeys. Also, and most importantly, you know what is in the ingredients of the brine unlike what has been injected into your turkey from the factory!
We have brined our turkeys many times at Little Bend especially if we are going to smoke a turkey as leaving the turkey exposed in the smoker can cause it to dry out more since it is not covered as when you cook it in the oven. So I’ve have added three brine recipes with the brining instructions to the recipe section on the website and I invite you to take a look at them and you will try brining your turkey this year.
One is an Apple brine that gives you a wonderful hint of apple for your turkey and is great if you smoke the turkey with apple chips but also works well when roasting it in the oven. For an extra apple kick you can garnish the turkey with apples and use some apple cider for basting during cooking.
The other one is a Maple brine which is reminiscent to maple bacon and other maple meat products. This is sure to satisfy even the pickiest meat eaters with the sweet savory taste.
The third one is a Sage and Lemon brine, which happens to be my favorite! I am a big fan of sage flavor with poultry products. I especially like to use this recipe when I smoke the turkey because it really brings out the sage flavor during smoking.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving and I hope you get a chance to try brining a turkey this year. I think you will find it a delicious way to prepare your turkey and you may just find that it does make a better turkey this year.
If you want to see a video of how we brined and smoked one of our Bourbon Red heritage turkeys click on this link. How to brine and smoke a turkey
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and as always…..
God bless friends and we’ll gobble at ya’ later!