Tasty Bites;COOKING THE PERFECT TURKEY
Nov 23, 2002 14:14 PST
*-*-*-*Tasty Bites*-*-*-FROM THE KITCHEN PROJECT*-*-*-*-*-
NOV. 23 , 2002
Vol. 4 # 9
Stephen Block, editor, The Kitchen Project
This Ezine covers a lot of sides of Cooking. Not just recipes but
history, background, and tips of some of your Favorite foods.
IN THIS ISSUE;
COOKING THE PERFECT TURKEY
By far the most used trick, that guarantees results
The upside down trick!
Turkey, stuffing,and side dish recipes along with
thanksgiving history and fun facts.
The History Brining and curing meats.
SUSAN'S DAILY HOUSEHOLD TIPS
Nice Tidbits and Pearls of Household Wisdom .
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Our German Cookbook is a nice gift , with recipes and anecdotes of a
German American Grandmother.
To sample our German Cookbook go here
-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*- FOR CHRISTMAS BAKING and GIFTS*-*-*-*
Order fresh Madagascar vanilla beans here;
Get a good start on your Christmas Baking or homemade Vanilla Extract or
Kaluha makes a wonderful gift for Christmas. Now is a good time to get
it started, Free recipes for making vanilla extract and others using
your vanilla beans with your purchase.
-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*COOKING THE PERFECT TURKEY *-*-
By Chef Stephen Block
There have been a lot of research done on how to roast the perfect
They have tried basting , injecting, cutting up the bird and wrapping it
in foil , so the breast cooks slower than the thigh, roasting it upside
down, sideways and things like buttering cheese cloth and placing on the
breast to keep it moist.
What is the conclusion so far among most experts.........
WHAT DOES BRINING DO AND HOW DOES IT HELP
This process makes the meat juicier , uniformly seasoned , without
tasting salty, just a nice honest flavor. It also provides a "cushion"
for the breast meat so that even if it gets a little overcooked it is
still juicy! Since it takes longer to cook the thigh than the breast
usually this is particularly helpful.
The Internet seems to be fantastic in the way that once there is a
cooking technique that gets great response it becomes spread very fast.
Maybe you are not familiar with this procedure but you have heard about
it. The advantages of brining are being regalled in cooking magazines,
TV shows and shows up repeatedly on internet recipe lists. Our fellow
cooks are anxious to share the discovery of this curious and spectacular
technique of soaking meat in water with a bit of salt and if you want
some additional spices.
Though the art of brining meats is centuries old, I am thinking that
brining is going to become a standard procedure in the preparation of
turkey, chicken, pork and even prawns, while beef won't be brined quite
First of all Brining makes meat more juicy by increasing the amount of
moisture in the meat , Cooking Illustrated magazine did extensive tests
on brining turkeys, and found that an 11 lb. Turkey will gain on average
¾ of a lb in weight after brining and after cooking it still weighs 1/3
to ½ lb more than turkeys of the same weight that weren't brined. Also
brining provides a "cushion" for the breast because the thigh needs to
cook to a 170 degrees to be done and the breast only 160 degrees. So
usually by the time the thigh reaches 170 then the breast is 180 and has
the texture of sawdust. Because of the extra moisture in the brined bird
it is still moist though a higher temperature.
WHY THE SALT THEN
Brining increases the moisture content in meat through a process called
Osmosis. The salt is very important in this process that causes the
cells to incorporate more water without absorbing much of the salt.
You can read more about the scientific process of brining here;
DOES IT MAKE THE MEAT SALTY?
Some salt is absorbed, but by following the guidelines the meat never
tastes salty. I have been amazed that the meat just tastes WONDERFULLY
well seasoned. You don't taste salt nor do you feel the need to salt the
BASIC BRINE RECIPE
GO here to see this recipe step by step with pictures
1 gallon water
1 Cup Kosher or sea salt. Or ½ cup Table Salt.
½ Cup sugar
You can multiply this however many times you need to cover the meat.
For the 20 lb. Turkey that I used I needed 4 gallons of brine.
Here is the step by step;
For 2 gallons of brine,
1. Measure out 4 cups water in a microwave safe container , or in a pan
on the stove.
2. Add salt and Sugar and heat until the water is very warm. ( about 5
minutes on high)
3. Stir till the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. If they don't
dissolve totally, your water is saturated so add some another 2 cups of
4. Add to your container that you are going to brine in.
5. Add 6 quarts of cold water to the container making 2 gallons.
6. This should be enough brine for a small turkey.(11 pounds) Double for
a large turkey.(20 pounds)
Here are some other things to put into a brine.
There is no real set amount for each item, I will give some guidelines.
CONTAINERS for BRINING
the two containers of choice are the large insulated food chests that
you take on picnics.
Also the 5 gallon buckets work well. Line the buckets with 2 clean
plastic trash bags.
OTHER FLAVORS TO ADD TO YOUR BRINE
Substitue ½ cup molasses or honey for a cup of sugar.
PER EVERY TWO GALLONS;
Add 8 cloves garlic smashed,
2 onions peeled and rough chopped
A handful of fresh Rosemary, a few tablespoons of crushed peppercorns,
hot pepper flakes, thyme, bay leaf, mustard seed, coriander seed,
juniper berries, ginger, cinnamon, clove, star anise, or vanilla bean.
KEEPING THE PROPER TEMPERATURE DURING BRINING
If you can not refrigerate your Turkey while brining it is important
that you keep the brine below 40 degrees temperature. You can achieve
this by adding some iced gel packs or ice cubes in plastic storage bags.
I then put the ice in a large plastic trash bag and add to the brine. I
don't put the ice cubes directly in the brine as this would dilute my
HOW LONG TO BRINE A TURKEY
Around 24 hours is a good rule of thumb for a Turkey. If its 23 or 22 or
25 it is not going to make that much difference. If you go too long ,
like 30 or 48 hours you risk having turning the turkey meat a bit mushy.
If you want to speed up the process double the amount of salt and sugar
and cut the time in half.
ROASTING A TURKEY AFTER BRINING
Step by Step with Pictures go here
Rinse the turkey after brining well and roast however you would like.
There is no reason to use salt if you are going to rub the turkey with a
seasoning. However you are the judge and if you want to add more salt
then fine. Just be careful.
One of the problems with roasting a whole turkey is that the breast gets
done before the thigh. Not only that but the thigh and leg can get away
with being overcooked a bit but the breast turns to a dry sawdust
texture. This doesn't seem fair.
The Best way to roast a turkey in my experience and according to many
experts is to roast it breast side down for the first few hours. The
juices baste the breast and keep it moist. Flip it over and finish it
breast side up to get a nice browned finish.
Prepare a Roasting pan making a cradle with heavy-duty foil.
The larger the turkey the lower the temperature that you should roast it
Now is a good time to invest in a meat thermometer if you don't have
I like to check the temperature on the turkey ever hour in the thigh and
breast to see how it is doing.
For 11 lb. birds roast at 375 degrees and for an 18 to 22 lb bird roast
at about 300 degrees.
flipped the turkey over after a 2-3 hours, by rotating it being careful
to lift it slightly not to rip the skin.
Baste the turkey brushing every half hour or so with 1/2 stick of butter
melted with 1/2 cup of honey.
The turkey is done when the thermometer in the center of the thigh is
registering 165 degrees.
I pull the turkey out when it is 160 degrees, and leave it on top of the
stove, and keep the thermometer in the thigh. It will climb to 165
degrees all on its own with the residual heat.
Let the turkey sit for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing.
-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*- THANKSGIVING RECIPES *-*-*-*
GO here for Heartwarming Thanksgiving Recipes, history and fun facts
about this holiday.
Here are some samples
SCALLOPED CORN & TOMATOES
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (15oz)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15oz)
1 can cream-style corn, (15oz)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole with nonstick
cooking spray. Stir together tomatoes, corn, cream-style corn, eggs,
flour, sugar, and pepper. Pour into casserole. In a skillet over medium
heat, melt butter; saute onion until soft. Combine with the garlic
powder, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over the top of the
casserole. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
SOUTHERN CORNBREAD STUFFING
donated by Anne in Mississippi
2 c Cold water
6 c Coarsely crumbed cornbread
6 slices crumbled white bread
1/4 c chicken broth
1/2 ts Salt (opt)
1/2 ts Ground Pepper
1/2 c Turkey drippings, butter or margarine
2 c Celery -- chopped
1 Onion -- chopped fine
4 large eggs beaten
Put the Coarsely crumbled cornbread in a large mixing bowl
Lightly sauté in a small amount of the turkey drippings or butter or
Add enough boiling hot broth to make the batter thick and fairly smooth.
Just before baking, beaten eggs are added to the batter, which should be
baked uncovered in an oven preheated to 375F.
notes: Most Southerners bake this dressing in a separate pan so it will
have a nicely browned, slightly crisp crust on top. We tend to wince at
the pale wetness of actual stuffing, regardless of its ingredients!
Anne in Mississippi
-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*-SOUL FOOD COOK BOOK *-*-*-*
Remember The Great Smells Of Soul Food Cooking At Your
Grandma's House? Now you can learn to fix some of
these same great dishes. Check out this soul food
cookbook with over 250 incredible recipes. Visit:
-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*- FOOD HISTORY *-*-*-*
The Food History Project
THE HISTORY OF BRINING
Probably the first type of preservation ever done was with Salt.
I am sure that somehow man found that salt sprinkled on meat kept it
from going bad.
The practice of putting meat in crocks layered with salt has been used
since recorded time. This is how Corned Beef was made, (Corns being salt
that were the size of kernels of corn) The Jewish practice this method
and call it "koshering" with all of their meat. If you see Kosher salt
in the grocery stores, this is just a larger grained salt that has not
had iodine added. The purpose of Koshering is to draw out the remaining
blood in the meat that remains. This is practice for the Jewish faith
that includes health reasons as well as religious.
Here are a few facts about Brining from our staff Food Historian, Chef
300 000 year old site in France called Terra Amata.
remains found on that site show that shell fish were preserved in a salt
Smithfield hams are soaked in a brine and then smoked......Smithfield
Virginia since about 1775
Christopher Columbus carried pork in a salt brine to the new world in
To read more about the Jewish practice of Koshering meat go here
On our staff is a chef from Israel, Mickey Schick Shtamer, feel free to
email her if you have questions.
Food history courtesy of Stephen Holloway’s
Dictionary of Culinary terms
25.00 regularly 49.95
Over 800 pages,
If you are interested in this great resource for cooking,
The Dictionary of Culinary Terms includes English, French, Italian,
German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese terms used in modern cooking.
Also Stephen shares the history of many of these terms and recipes that
go along with them.
It is in CD format that downloads nicely to your computer for easy
Here is a link for more information,
If you have a question on the history of food feel free to email me or
-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*-SUSAN’S TIPS *-*-*-*
By Susan Doyle
Here are some nice pearls of wisdom from Susan’s treasure chest of many
years of being Queen of her domain.
ALL IN ONE PUMPKIN PIE TOPPING
Put a layer of small Marshmallows in the bottom of a pumpkin pie
shell then add the filling. Bake according to your recipe
directions. The marshmallows will come to the top while baking
forming a delicious topping.
USE A FLOUR PUFF
Buy a powder puff to keep in your flour container. It's perfect for
dusting cake pans before you pour in batter.
Like these tips?
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to share with our readers, please send them to
*-*-*-*Tasty Bites*-*-*- OUR STAFF *-*-*-*-*-
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…Cooking is not only a necessary skill, it is FUN!!!
Feel free to ask our Chefs Questions;
Stephen Block…(Oregon) General information, German , Cajun, BBQ, Food
Stephen Holloway, (Ohio) General Information, Food History
Susan Doyle…specializes in Household wisdom,
Isaac Frerichs general information , chocolate,
Nouel “Wing” Omamalin (Phillipines) Pastries, Cookies, Wedding Cakes,
Phillipino Cuisine…….. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mickey Schick Shtamer , (Israel) Greek and Middle Eastern Cooking,
Warren Lower , (Australian) General Information, Australian cooking,
Asian cuisine ,
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