Are you planning on roasting up a free-range, happy turkey from a local farm this Thanksgiving? I hope that you are. You won't regret your decision for all the social, enviromental, and ethical reasons that go along with supporting local agriculture. But you will certainly not regret it from a flavor standpoint either IF you brine your turkey first.
See, most of the mainstream turkeys you find in the grocery store have some added ingredients beyond just "turkey". Here is what you will find on one particular major frozen turkey brand:
Ingredients: Turkey, Water, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Phosphates, Natural Flavorings.
Hmm, not what I really want for a holiday that celebrates our founding roots and the natural gifts from the harvest. So for this reason, I strongly recommend you buy a free-range, local bird. To find one, you can visit Eat Wild, a wonderful source for finding grass fed and humane meats and eggs. They have a button on their home page right now that directs you how to find a Thanksgiving turkey.
A natural, free-range bird has not had anything done to it, which is a good thing. But it needs a little help to get nice and tender/juicy for your big meal. This is where brining comes in. Last week, I posted on the Black Hog Blog about brining. Check out this article for more reasons why you brine and for a basic brine recipe.
Last year I started using a "kit" for brining that includes the brining salt mix and a large brining bag. This made the process so easy and I am definately doing it this way again. In fact, my friends at Snazzy Gourmet sent me their Gourmet Complete Gobbler Brine and Rub Kit and I'm really excited to try it. If you need a brine kit, I recommend you order this one. Remember to use the code FRESHFOOD at checkout for 10% off.
Here's a couple of pics of last year's bird brining in the fridge and my 2010 turkey out of the oven. (I am the official turkey maker in the family and I love it!)
What are your turkey plans this year? Do you have a favorite recipe, method or secret to the perfect bird? I'd love to know.
Disclosure: Snazzygourmet.com provided me with their brine kit free of charge. I was asked to blog about it. I was not compensated for my time and the opinions are my own. I have not used their brine kit yet (as it is before Thanksgiving) so I can't say exactly how it will work for you, yet. I do NOT receive any kickback from your orders at www.snazzygourmet.com.