How to Brine a Turkey

How To Published On
  • 10/22/11
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  • A well-roasted turkey is moist and juicy, but even the best cook can end up with a dry and flavorless bird on occasion. One way to prevent this holiday culinary disaster is by brining the turkey. Brine is a salt and water solution used to soak the turkey before roasting. The theory goes that the salty solution is drawn into the cells of the bird, breaking down cellular compounds and then becoming trapped inside. The result is that more water remains in the muscle cells after cooking, leaving the turkey meat moist and delicious.

    What you will need:

    • A large stainless steel, glass or plastic container large enough to accommodate turkey and water

    • Brining bag or extra-large zip lock bag

    • 2 gallons of cold water

    • 2 cups of kosher salt

    • One fresh or thawed turkey

    1. Completely dissolve salt in water.

    2. Remove turkey from its wrapping, and discard the neck and giblets, or place them in the refrigerator for later use.

    3. Place the turkey in the bag.

    4. Pour the brine over the bird, and loosely knot the bag.

    5. Place the turkey in the container, and move it to the refrigerator. The temperature of the brine should not exceed 40 degrees F.

    6. Soak the turkey for one hour per pound of bird.

    7. Take the turkey from its container and discard the brine, which presents food safety hazards.

    8. Rinse the turkey completely with cold water, inside and out.

    9. Dry the turkey with paper towels.

    10. Cook immediately, or store in the refrigerator until you're ready to roast the bird.

    Tips 
     
    1. Place turkey on the lowest rack in the refrigerator to reduce the risk of contaminating other food if brine accidentally spills.

    2. Rotate the turkey several times while it is brining.

    3. Soak the turkey for at least 8 hours but no more than 24 hours.

    Image Credit: Katehartman
    Written By: Shannon R
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