Tomorrow is the big turkey day, only this year, I have decided that instead of getting a turkey from God-knows-where, that I would get a local, fresh, pasture raised chicken from Chaffin Family Orchards. I know that chicken doesn’t seem so exciting and kind of un-American for Thanksgiving, but this isn’t just any chicken. This chicken is about as fresh as it gets and beats any over-sized frozen turkey raised in a cage that was killed 6 months ago.
I bought two of these little guys. One for Thanksgiving day, and one for lunch. Although these chickens are so fresh and probably don’t need it, I did a quick 1 hour brine. I always brine my chicken, it is a great way to infuse more flavor and keep it moist. Brining your turkey for Thanksgiving is a must, unless you like your turkey dry. If you did buy a Turkey this year and you are not planning on brining it, I recommend you put that sucker in a brine right now. Seriously, right now. Do it.
So, what is a brine? You might ask, and what does it do? Well, I suggest you read this article, if you want the dirty details but long story short– It helps your bird absorb water, therefore it looses less moisture when you cook it. And, you can get clever with the brine and flavor it with whatever your heart desires.
For your brine you want 1/4 cup of salt for every quart of water
You can flavor your brine with bay leaves, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, garlic, peppercorns…the options are endless. ( Kind of, don’t go crazy )
Just fill a pot up with water, throw in your herbs of choice, bring to a boil, add the salt, turn off the heat and let steep for about 30 minutes. Then, cool down your liquid with ice and add your turkey/chicken and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Easy, and so worth the end result.
Is your bird enjoying a nice herb bath right now? It’s the least you can do after all its been through. Give it a full package spa treatment. After it is done brining give it a little compound butter massage.
Compound butter is simply butter with herbs mixed into it. Chop up some herbs, add it to room temperature butter and cover your bird with it. Make sure to put some butter under the breast skin.
Season with salt and pepper and your bird is ready for the oven! No more dry Turkey on Thanksgiving!