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This time of year, there are many of opinions and thoughts regarding certain big holiday feasts being prepared. One of those is to brine or not to brine? And then, if you've decided to brine, the question changes; to dry brine or wet brine?
I've done them all, on chicken, but the theory is the same. Two years ago I didn't brine my 20lb turkey, I used the butter bathed cheesecloth method and it was absolutely incredible. Last year, we only did a turkey breast but I did brine it overnight-it was equally incredible. Dry brining, also produces excellent results. I even went so far as to cook a chicken in an Air Fryer last year, in hopes to have a recipe up on the blog-this never happened, but the chicken was great! Maybe one day I'll pull my notes out and write that up. Maybe not, it's a simple google search to find a great one!
This year, I was prepping for an exciting dinner I'll post about later this year, and decided to use a fellow, small businesses products in my brine this year. So, I'm going to share what I did. If you're local you can probably still find the seasonings, and if you aren't local-I'm not quite sure it will be able to be shipped in time for your brine; but I'll link their site. You can create a variant of it while you wait for your shipment to arrive for Christmas, or a standard chicken dinner.
Brine for Poultry
(These measurements are based on a 2.80lb chicken)
Multiply Ingredient Amount by:
Water (approx. 5 cups + 3 cups ice)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup salt 2 Tbls Peppercorns
(I used another Tbls the next day, with the butter right on top of the bird)
2 Lemons, sliced
Garlic, 1-2 bulbs (do what you like)
Fresh Herbs; Rosemary, Sage & Thyme (about two sprigs each)
If you don't have access to fresh farm/garden grown, you can find a Poultry Herb Blend in the Produce section of most grocery stores.
I also had a few green onions left over from a recipe, so I tossed a few of those in. It's not necessary, but it did add a bit of something.
To start, put the salt and sugar in a large pot with a cup of water; bring to a boil and stir to dissolve. The pot needs to be large enough to fit the bird you are brining or be prepared to transfer brine to the container your bird is in.
Pull off heat and drop the garlic cloves in, keep the paper on if you'd like, but definitely smash the cloves. I also added in a few lemon slices, and pressed them with a spoon. The heat will help marry the garlic and lemon in the water.
Let this come to room temp. Then add in 1 cup of ice and 3.5 cups more cold water.
Once water is chilled, place poultry in the water.
Add the rest of the sliced lemon and any other garlic cloves and onion you have now.
Here I also, added a Tbls more of salt and peppercorns and then tossed the fresh herb sprigs in the water.
Make sure the bird is covered, so this may take more water than I mentioned above. But if you cannot cover your bird, then make time throughout the day/night to rotate the bird so that all sides are submerged at some period of time.
I let mine marinate over night in the fridge and then put dry rub on and let it sit, open to the air, in the fridge for about 5 hours. This really helped to dry the skin.
1/2 Tbls ground Ginger
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
When I was ready to roast the bird, I spatchcocked it. I would recommend doing this before putting on the dry rub. I didn't this time, because I hadn't decided on spatchcocking or regular roasting yet.
While roasting, using standard temps you can find with a quick google search (ie; I didn't write that down, apparently), I melted some butter and garlic jelly (made from the Ball Blue Book) to brush over throughout the roasting process.
I failed to take a final picture that night. I'm sorry. But it was delicious, the skin was nice and crispy and I will be using this process again!