SPICE ADVICE: BRINING SPICE
What does one do with Brining spice? What does brining even mean? What does one brine? What's the difference between a wet brine and a dry brine? These (and more!) are questions every human heart desires to know, which is why we broke it down for you (see what we did there?). Read on for the juicy deets.
A culinary technique dating back centuries—long before the days of the days of white refrigerators and frozen foods—brining was originally developed as a way to preserve meat by preventing the growth of bacteria via “salt bath.” Somewhere along the way, our ye olde brining enthusiasts noted that this method worked to not only preserved meat, but could help one achieve a supremely tender, flavorful bite compared to other meat prep/cooking methods. So, how does brining do its thing? Osmosis baby!
Yep, your holiday bird prep involves a lot more science than you might think. Let’s break it down. Brining is the process of seasoning and tenderizing a protein using salt mixed with other spices and flavors. Chef’s choice on which herbs and spices you want to use in your brine. Or, you can use our go-to Spicewalla Brining Spice and make your life a little easier, and tastier. Our blend combines Spicewalla Black Peppercorn, Spicewalla Coriander, Spicewalla Garlic, Spicewalla Lemon Peel, Spicewalla Allspice, Spicewalla Fennel, Spicewalla Thyme, Spicewalla Rosemary, and Spicewalla Bay Leaves. Over time the salt will absorb into the meat through the process of osmosis and break down the protein strands to prevent them from contracting when cooked and releasing its juices. This process takes at least 24 hours but yields a well seasoned and tender turkey. A.K.A. it’ worth it.
Wet vs. Dry:
Wet brining is achieved by soaking the turkey in a salt solution with other spices and aromatics—creating Dry brining is combining salt with other spices and herbs and generously seasoning the turkey without any liquid. Both of these processes will season and tenderize but dry brining is the best way to ensure that the skin will get nice-n-crispy when roasted.
Other Turkey Tips!
- If you’re working with a frozen turkey, make sure it is completely thawed before brining. This may take up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Basting: baste the turkey every 15-20 mins after the skin begins to take on some color in order to make sure it does not get dried out. We prefer to keep a small pot of melted butter on the stove to brush on the turkey!
- Resting: this is a VERY important step in order to have the best result, make sure the turkey rests covered with tin foil for at least 30-45 minutes before carving. If carved too soon the turkey will release all its juices and dry out the meat, reversing all that work you did!