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Rise and Brine this Thanksgiving

There’s nothing worse than having a dry bird as the main course on Thanksgiving. You may be surprised by how you can elevate this Thanksgiving staple from mundane to magnificent. The answer is giving the bird a bath—more specifically, a brine bath!

Lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork chops, pork loin or tenderloin can benefit from brining. Brining helps meats retain moisture while they cook by soaking them in salt water, which enhances the tenderness, juices and flavor with various herbs and spices. While brines do require salt, which some may be avoiding, the meat absorbs less than one percent of the sodium in the brine itself.

The following brine recipe is sufficient for the following portions of meat:

  • Per 1 pound of turkey
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 pork tenderloins

If you are brining larger portions you can double or triple the recipe.

Making the Brine:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. table salt or kosher salt
  • Optional herbs and spices:
    • Peppercorns
    • Juniper berries
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Sage sprigs
    • Bay leaves
    • Allspice berries
    • Whole cloves
    • Star anise

The Brining Process:

  1. Add salt, herbs and spices to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add meat to the pot of boiling salt water. Turn off the heat.
  3. Let the meat soak for the following times depending on the type of meat.
  4. After the allotted time, remove the meat and follow your personal recipe for cooking instructions.

Time to Brine:

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates
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