Apple cider, juniper berries, thyme and garlic give extra flavor to this simple brine.
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Hi Jackie... In fact, your confusion is certainly warranted. A bunch can really mean a lot of things... so I've modified the recipe to 10 sprigs of thyme. When you buy fresh thyme, it comes on the branch. So a spring is a single strand or branch of thyme.
Juniper berries can be found at gourmet or higher-end groceries stores (I'm sure Whole Foods carries them). If you can't find them in your neighborhood, you can always order them online. I just did a search on Amazon and came up with many results. Happy cooking!
I can't get them locally either. I plan on using this brine for a turkey breast that will then be put on a wood fired smoker. Brining and the low slow cooking method of wood smoke makes for a succulently moist and flavorful bird!
I have brined before but not this particular recipe. A quick search revealed that crushed bay leaves, fresh rosemary and even gin can be used as a substitute for juniper berries.
I wouldn't have the berries in time if I ordered them. what type of flavor do they impart anyway?
I see that beer and wine are also suggested liquids for a brine at the bottom to the "Text Recipe" tab, does anyone have any experience with using fermented apple cider as a brine, particularly the famous (at least in Spain) Spanish sidre from Asturias? I just may have to try it out on a small piece of meat first and report my "findings", but you never know who's out there trying new things.
Just made this brine again thought I would post. I have made this brine at least a dozen times now and it has become my go to brine for poultry. I have acquired juniper berries and they do make the difference. I have not deviated from the recipe much other than a bit of white wine and some cinnamon sticks and a bay leaf or two.
The sweetness of the brine adds so much. Especially at the low temps of wood fired cooking. It allows the skin to brown and crisp up perfectly even at the low temps I cook at!
I do alot of wood fired low and slow smoking in a professional pit.
I cooked for about 50 people at a groomsmen dinner several weeks back and did about 25 lbs of turkey breast using this brine.
I got more compliments on the juciness and flavor of the turkey than I did the 30lbs of prime rib!
Thanks for this great recipe Rouxbe!!
Well, I tried this with roast chicken tonight and although the chicken was really succulent no one could detect any apple taste at all! I used the exact recipe ( and 4.5lb chicken was left in brine for 7 hours) so not sure why there was no hint of apple! Maybe I didn't let steep long enough. Maybe everyone's taste buds are not sensitive enough! Is there anything else that may have caused this?
I have been reading on other sites where they suggest substituting gin - specifically 1 tsp. per 2 berries - as an alternative for anyone who does not have the actual berry. Has anyone tried this method or maybe used gin as the basis of a gastride and added it to the recipe?
The flavor of the gin may become too diluted in the brine. Perhaps it would be better to omit it in the brine and incorporate gin somewhere else in the dish (i.e. a sauce). You sure could try adding a touch to a gastride. Cheers!