Oh, what’s in a brine? Sea salt, sugar, black peppercorns, onion, orange peel, garlic, sage, allspice, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, and crystalized ginger, to be exact.
But why brine? It’s no secret that things cook from the outside in. When dealing with thicker pieces of lean meat, this can mean the outside dries out and becomes tough before the inside is cooked to an acceptable level of doneness. Brining prevents this by working from the outside in, adding extra moisture to the outermost pieces. By adding aromatic, good-tasting spices to your brine, you also infuse those flavors into the meat.
The most common use for brining mix is the holiday turkey, but that’s doesn’t mean you should only use it once a year. Any time you’re cooking a whole bird, whether it be chicken, hen, or turkey, you’ll want to use a brine.
But that’s far from its only use.