Saturday, February 1, 2014

Turkey: The Gateway Cure

I know it seems oddly uncharacteristic, but I will admit, I really like deli turkey. Especially for breakfast. All the animals line up for a taste too, every morning. And it's so expensive. Around 10 dollars a pound. So last week I noticed that my grocer was getting rid of leftover turkey breast for about 1.50 a pound. Just baked, it is not something I would eat willingly, except maybe on Thanksgiving after the dark meat is gone. Dry, boring, blech. But cured, it's really quite fetching. And I realized this might be just the sort of thing for people who want to get started curing meat but aren't ready yet to deal with dry aging pork. It couldn't be simpler:
Get a half turkey breast, which will weigh about 5 pounds. Put it in a thick 2 gallon ziplock bag. Add 4 tablespoons sea salt. 3 tablespooons sugar and 1 teaspoon instacure #1 (pink salt). Add however much seasoning you like. I used thyme and a little oregano. Then rub it all over, and throw in the fridge for a week. Turn it every day. Normally I would smoke it at this point, but this time, I wanted something simpler. Just take the bag and put it directly into a pot of cold water, covered. Ramp up until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then lower the heat way down and let it sit in the hot water for about 45-50 minutes. Then let it cool at room temperature, and put back in the fridge. In the morning slice it as thinly as you can. It will be firm and much easier to slice than baked turkey. Don't panic, it will be a little pink. And it will not be dry. Perfect for sandwiches. Dogs and cats love it too!

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