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Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Updated: Feb 9

Written by: Andrea Memon, RDN, LD, CD

Adapted from: "Brining 101" in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Revised Edition


Are you tired of eating dry turkey? The good news is you don't have to this year! Today I'm going to share with you a little secret I discovered a few years ago! Brining your turkey before cooking it is the secret to creating an easy and moist turkey every time! Brining is easy, but it does take some advance planning and time. Brining is the process of soaking your turkey in a solution of water and salt before cooking. This process can significantly increase the tenderness and flavor of your turkey, so it is well worth the time and effort.


What you'll need:


1. Time for the turkey to soak in the brine solution before cooking (see guide below)


2. A container large enough to hold your turkey while it is submerged


Photo Credit: Cooks Illustrated: How to Brine a Turkey


3. Refrigerator space to hold the container while the turkey is soaking


4. Water (see guide below)


5. Salt (see guide below)


The amount of water, salt and time required for brining are dependent upon the size of your turkey. Below is a guide, based on weight.


Turkey Breast (bone-in): 6 to 8 pounds

Brine Solution: mix 1 gallons water + 0.5 cup of salt

Soaking Time: 6 to 8 hours


Whole Turkey: 12 to 17 pounds

Brine Solution: mix 2 gallons water + 1 cup of salt

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 hours


Whole Turkey: 18 to 24 pounds

Brine Solution: mix 3 gallons water + 1.5 cup of salt

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 hours


Brining is not intended for turkeys that have already been injected with a salt solution. You can add other spices and seasonings to the brine solution if you want, but honestly salt is all you need to add moisture and flavor into your turkey. Before cooking the turkey, remove it from the brine solution, pat it dry and season the turkey as usual before putting it in the oven.


Happy Thanksgiving!

xo Andrea





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