Terrified of Turkey Jerky? Invest in Moisture Insurance...
The turkey carving begins and you see it with the first slice of the breast. Little crumbs of turkey ‘sawdust’...
“Oh, No! Turkey Jerky!”
Oh Yes, this all too-common scenario requires almost impossible to achieve roasting perfection but who needs the stress? Invest in some Moisture Insurance!
The root of the problem is trying to achieve the delicate balancing act of making sure the legs and thighs (especially) of the turkey are fully cooked while NOT overcooking the breasts.
It's a problem because of the nature of the beast, so to speak. Turkeys are relatively lean birds but they are also somewhat lopsided in their fat distribution. Most of the fat in the turkey is distributed throughout the body EXCEPT the breasts, so they are the first to dry out.
What to do? Moisture insurance!
That's right "moisture insurance", also known as brining. NOT ONLY will brining solve the problem of preventing the breasts from drying out, it will noticeably tenderize the turkey.
The basic necessities of brining are salt and water. That's really all you need, but most people add herbs and spices because of the magical effect of brine. If you recall basic chemistry from school, you might remember the term "osmosis". That's what happens when you brine a turkey. The imbalance of salt in the brine causes the turkey to absorb that salty water (along with the herbs and spices). It will NOT make turkey salty! It WILL enhance the flavor!
You can make your own brine but it's much easier using the Turkey Brine and Rub Kit from Urban Accents, which we have in the Spice Department.
DO NOT Over-Brine!
Yes, you can "over-brine". 18-24 hours is optimal. Remove the turkey from the brine, RINSE WELL and dry. Discard brine. Chill in the frig if needed, otherwise, let the turkey come CLOSE to room temperature before roasting.
At this point, you may roast your turkey as you would traditionally.