To Brine, or not to Brine?I not only brine my turkeys, but all poultry and pork. From my understanding, the lack of brining creates a loss of about 16% to 18% of the body weight while cooking... it's all moisture loss. Soaking in water for a few hours will result in a 14% to 16% loss of body weight, a salt brine will result in 12% or less in weight loss. My white breast meat is like a sponge, you can wring out a ton of juices. My sister hated turkey white meat, exclaiming it's always too dry... until I talked her into tasting just one little piece of mine... "I LOVE white meat!!" was the first thing out of her mouth, as she grabbed another piece.
For chickens and turkeys, I also mix up some sage butter, and use a spoon to separate the skin from the meat on the breast, and right around the upper thighs. I then spread the softened butter just under the skin. This process separates the skin from the meat, creating a slightly crisper, (not soggy) and more flavorful skin, as well as the outer meat. I also add a little basil to the butter for a little sweetness.
Ok, I know nobody asked, but... when slicing the white meat from the turkey, rather than slicing off each piece - one sliver at time, and placing them individually on the plate, only the people getting the first few pieces get any of that great skin. So, I slice off each complete breast, down to the bone in one large piece from each side. I then lay the breast on the plate, and slice each breast piece on a bias, like you would a tri-tip, or brisket. This allows me to include a piece of skin with every slice of white meat... no more fighting over who gets the skin. Since I use the sage butter under the skin, it also gives everyone that extra flavor cooked into the outer edges of the meat. But, of course I always leave a little bit of white meat on the bone... for pick'ns later.
When brining baby back ribs, instead of just water, I use a gallon of apple juice, with brown sugar and salt... and a few other things, and then top it off with water until the ribs are completely submersed. I use one of those insulated cooler bags from Sams' or Costco for brining ribs, they're tall, elongated, narrow on the sides, water proof, closed up with a zipper, and can be washed out with antibacterial soap after each use. I put several handfuls of ice cubes in the water, on top of the submerged ribs until there's a single layer of ice cubes. This keeps everything cold - there's still ice in there two hours later, and I don't have to take up space in my fridges. I've brined up to 9 racks of ribs in the bag at one time.. I actually have more than one of these bags, one is simply dedicated to brining.
Good Eat'n my friends.