Brined Turkey


Sodium. The stuff that causes ankles to swell twice their size is the same substance that helps turkey tissues absorb more moisture as well.
Brining is an outstanding and flavorful way of making the star of Thanksgiving all the more succulent and as juicy as the conversation coming from your sister-in-law at the table.
The biggest complication to brining is due to having a container large enough to hold both the turkey and enough liquid to cover the turkey (plus two inches for good measure) as well as the refrigerator space to house the ‘bird bath’. A cooler will serve the same purpose as a refrigerator, so long as the turkey is kept chilled.
Even though this recipe is properly begun a couple days ahead of the main event, Thanksgiving cooks will delight in this easy-to-make recipe.
Note: Make sure the turkey is not frozen upon brining, and if using a kosher bird, know that it has already been salted.
Basic Brined Turkey
Turkey, thawed
1 cup salt per gallon hot water
hot water
Dissolve salt in hot water. Allow brine to cool completely. Remove giblets from turkey.
Immerse turkey in brine for at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours (a good rule of thumb is one hour per pound of turkey). It is easy to overbrine a turkey, and once this happens it is too late. Make sure to start on the lower end and err on the side of caution.
Pour off liquid and rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
Optional: Letting the turkey sit overnight in the refrigerator will allow the skin to dty slightly for baking (ensuring a crispier skin).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fareinheit.
Place turkey in a shallow baking pan. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath. Brush the turkey with butter or olive oil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil (remove foil for the last 60-90 minutes of roasting and baste with pan juices). Roast turkey for 3.5 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird reads 175-180 degrees (usually the thigh). A fork inserted into the thigh should reveal clear liquids.
Let turkey rest for 15 minutes prior to carving.
Note: the turkey will contain salt, so gravies made from the turkey drippings will probably not require added salt.
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