You can imagine this Mom's last-minute panic as she realized her sick crew wasn't well enough to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family. With fevers and coughing galore, I quarantined us to the house, but didn't want the kids to miss out on a Thanksgiving celebration.
So, what to do?
With a fear of dry and tough birds, I decided to try a simple brine. Now, a brine is just water and salt...you can also add sugar and herbs as desired, but, in my kitchen I can do better than that. With a simple bottle of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, I am half way to a tasty and juicy bird for my table. Yes, the brine will do the work, I just have to let it do it's thing.
I opted for a chicken for our meal because my husband is not the biggest fan of turkey, and I just happened to have one on hand. Kikkoman has great recipes right on their site you can use, including this basic brine recipe. Be sure to check it out for a new twist for dinner.
I used a big stock pot that would accommodate my bird and the brine mixture. I will post the recipe at the end of this post.
We opted to cook our bird on the smoker since it would be easy and free up my oven for other holiday cooking. After sitting in the brine solution overnight the chicken was ready to cook We trussed up the bird, placed it in a foil container and placed the heat-proof thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Then leaving my husband in charge of watching the temperature, we left it in the smoker.
The final product was amazing!! It took very little prep work and the bird was flavorful, juicy and perfectly cooked. My husband offered to do this again and I have a feeling the Kikkoman brine will be a new tradtion in our house.
Thanksgiving was saved and we had a beautiful bird to enjoy at our intimate family dinner for 4. Now we have those succulent leftovers to use in other creations. So many possibilities!
Have you ever brined a chicken or turkey? Have you used Kikkoman Soy Sauce in a brine?
Kikkoman Chicken Brine Recipe
adapted from the Kikkoman website
You Will Need:
- 1 gallon water
- 3/4 c. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 3/4 c. Kosher Salt
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sage, dried
- 1 Tbsp. celery seed, dried
- 1/2 Tbsp. thyme, dried
- 6 peppercorns
- 5-6 lbs chicken, thawed
I pulsed up the Kosher salt in the food processor so it would dissolve faster in my brine. This is optional.
Place all ingredients, except the bird, in a large container (large enough to accommodate the chicken and brine), stir until the salt is dissolved. Rinse off the chicken and remove any giblets or the neck. Place the chicken in the brine and soak for overnight or at least 4 hours, keep refrigerated.
Remove from brine and bake as you normally would. We chose to smoke our according to the direction with our Traeger Smoker. It took about 3 hours on the smoke setting to achieve the internal temperature of 165 degrees.
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*Disclaimer - I participated in the Kikkoman Smiley360 Blogger Program and received Kikkoman products to facilitate my review and blog post. All opinions and experiences are my own.