How to Brine a Turkey this Thanksgiving

For those of us for whom the turkey takes center stage on Thanksgiving, we often keep our fingers crossed, hoping for a moist, crispy-skinned bird. You can remove some of the guesswork by brining your turkey.

Brining loosens the protein structure and makes the meat tenderer. You will need to plan ahead as the process takes a minimum of 12 hours prior to oven roasting time. If you have never done this before, here are some tips to remember:

  1. Start with a thawed turkey
  2. Remove leg restraints, gizzards, neck and trim the tail flap
  3. For a turkey between 12-20 pounds, use a 5 gallon sterile glass or plastic container. Make sure there is room in the refrigerator for the container. A brining bag will also work.
  4. For each gallon of cold water, add ¾ cup of kosher salt, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of boiling water and a teaspoon of black pepper. You may also add beer, cider or garlic, if you like.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 12 hours. You may need a plate to keep the turkey in the brine. Do not salt it again when preparing to cook.

If you happen to live in the Memphis region, you can stop by our Thanksgiving turkey class on Saturday, November 22. Save yourself the trouble and leave with a turkey in brine.

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