Learning how to brine turkey is a simple step for ensuring your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) turkey is delicious and succulent and not dry. That's the thing with turkey: it's a lean, healthy meat, but that does mean it is prone to drying out in the oven.
Brining your turkey is an easy way to help this bird retain moisture and to enhance its flavor. Happy brining!
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How to brine a turkey
Brine is basically a solution of salt and water – it really is that simple. When you brine a turkey, the salt in the water both helps to drive water into the flesh and seasons it. Think about it as a very simple (and cheap) marinade of sorts, which won't interfere with the flavor of the meat.
1. Add a cup of table salt to a large pot of warm water (it needs to be large enough to hold your turkey). Don't overfill the pot, and the turkey will push the water level up.
2. Gently submerge the turkey in the brine. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours, depending on the size of your turkey.
A word of caution – don't brine turkeys that have been pre-salted, as the result will be inedibly salty.
How to cook a turkey that's been brined
In exactly the same way you would any other turkey – except you don't need to worry so much about overcooking it? A brined turkey is less likely to overdry, so a few minutes extra won't do it any harm. Simply cover with your favorite spice mix, add butter, and roast.