Mastering Thanksgiving: Tip 2 – Brine Your Turkey

When I sat down to write up a post called “Ten Tips for Mastering Thanksgiving” I didn’t realize quite how long that post would be. After writing up my ten tips, it became clear that ten posts, each with one tip, would be a better solution. Watch for a new tip each day, and be sure to share your tips in the comments!


If you’ve never tried it, keep an open mind! This step is worthwhile.

Brine your bird! If you have a large enough stock pot, make a brine solution. Be sure to check that your turkey isn’t already brined.

Why do it? Brining helps the meat absorb moisture that will improve the end result, and the salt helps to season it all the way through.

The Solution: Use about four quarts of water (just be sure to cover the turkey) to one cup coarse kosher salt. This process is also a great opportunity to add aromatic seasonings such as bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, orange peels, lemon peels, and so on. Keep acidic stuff out (apple cider vinegar, for instance) because you’ll start the cooking process and that makes for some dried out meat. Just the opposite of what you’re going for!

When to do it: You’ll want start the brining process the night before and allow it to sit overnight in your fridge. When you’re ready to cook, simply drain the liquid, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and prepare the turkey as you usually would (minus the salt).

Resources for further learning:

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