Picture this; it’s December, the decorations are up, the lights are on and we’re all looking forward to our favourite meal of the year - Christmas dinner. While some opt for beef or lamb, or even the old tradition of goose, the vast majority of us will be eating turkey on Christmas Day (and probably for a few days afterwards too).
Once a luxury item introduced by Henry VIII to British Christmas tables in the sixteenth century, turkey is now a seasonal essential. From the start of the month, the race is on to find or pre-order the perfect turkey that will make an attractive centrepiece on the dinner table and impress all the family.
However if you want to get ahead of the game and beat the rush, check out our Christmas range and secure your Christmas delivery date today. From premium roasting joints, to salivating trimmings, we have everything you need for the perfect festive feast!
If you’re opting for a traditional turkey this year, keep reading to learn how and why you should be brining a turkey crown this Christmas to ensure you end up with the perfect juicy, moist meat and crisp skin we all hope for.
Why brine a turkey crown?
There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to prepare the perfect meal on the big day, and the turkey is the central and most expensive part of that. Despite its popularity, turkey is infamously difficult to cook, with a tendency to be dry and rather tasteless.
We all have our tips for ensuring moist meat, whether we stuff the bird, use butter to baste it or add bacon to cover it. However, the latest turkey trend is brining, which is essentially either seasoning or soaking the turkey in salt before roasting.
Brining is a simple and cheap method that adds flavour and moisture to this usually-dry meat. It also ensures a crispy golden skin, meaning you can have a turkey that looks and tastes the part without spending a fortune.
Brining also results in a quicker cooking time; you can do it while the turkey is still partially frozen, and it works well with a whole bird, a turkey crown or breast.
Which brining method is best?
When it comes to brining, you have two options – wet brining or dry brining. Either method can ensure a moist and juicy turkey (as well as other meats too), so choosing which method is best for you depends on a couple of factors such as space, timing and practicality. Let’s look at what each methods entails:
- Wet brining - this is where you soak your turkey in a salt solution. With this method, the timing needs to be spot on to avoid the risk of mushy, salty meat. You also need to ensure you have a big enough pot or receptacle to immerse the whole of your meat in as well as enough space in the fridge to store it whilst doing so.
- Dry brining - this is a much simpler method where you apply salt or your favourite mix of seasonings to the surface of your turkey to help lock in the moisture and add extra flavourings to your meat.
There’s no right or wrong method of brining a turkey crown, it’s simply a matter of choice and which one suits you best. We find that many of our customers prefer to dry brine because it’s simpler and much more practical - plus you can season your turkey to your exact taste for a much more intense flavour.
How to brine your turkey crown
For the purposes of simplicity - and because we know it’s a much more popular choice - we’ll explain how to brine your turkey crown using the dry brining method.
The best way to dry brine a turkey crown is to create a rub – a simple seasoning mix that can include a variety of your favourite herbs and spices. Salt is essential, but you can add paprika, garlic powder, pepper and thyme or any other preferred herbs – rosemary and sage work well too. If you need some inspiration, check out our range of marinades in our Pantry section.
This mix should be rubbed all over the whole turkey, turkey crown or breast two to three days before Christmas. It’s important to ensure the turkey is dry before rubbing and remove the giblets if necessary.
Then simply wrap in cling film, turn the turkey upside down and store in the fridge until it is time for roasting. Remember to turn the turkey back the right way up halfway through the process to allow for all the herbs, spices and juices to flow through the whole of the meat. This method can be done before the turkey is fully defrosted, so the brining and defrosting can be done at the same time.
It’s time to cook!
The British Poultry Council advises that when you come to cook your turkey, you should set the temperature of your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5. How long you cook your turkey depends on the weight as follows:
- Over 4kg - 20 mins per 1kg, plus 90 mins
- Under 4kg - 20 mins per 1kg, plus 70 mins
Many chefs also recommend roasting your turkey upside down for the first 30 minutes to make sure the juices soak into the breast meat.
You may want to add onions, garlic and white wine to the roasting dish, which will infuse with the juices to make the perfect gravy later. After cooking, let the turkey rest for 30 minutes, as this allows for the fibres in the meat to relax and some of the juices to soak back in.
So, is brining a turkey crown worth the extra effort?
If you brine your turkey crown, breast or whole turkey this festive season, you’re sure the result will be Instagram-worthy and your meat will look just like the ones on Christmas cards. It will also taste so good that it will have the whole family fighting for the leftovers. The only downside is that everyone will want to come back to you for Christmas next year!
Order your Christmas meats with us today
Here at Meat & Co. we offer a huge range of succulent Christmas meats including delightful turkey joints, magnificent beef joints, indulgent pork loin joints, exquisite gammon joints and so much more, all at great prices and perfect for brining.
These can also be paired with our mouthwatering trimmings for the ultimate Christmas dinner. And don’t forget about a selection of Christmas boxes featuring all of your favourite elite meats and trimmings all in one neat little package.Be sure to view our whole Christmas range today and secure your Christmas delivery date before it’s too late! Alternatively, give us a call or drop us an email today to place your order or for more information on all of our delicious products.