I keep hearing about how brining is the best thing to do for a Thanksgiving turkey, but I have no idea where to start. Can I get a brining primer?
Brining is a technique that produces a well-seasoned, moist turkey. Follow these simple steps adapted with permission from Cook's Illustrated magazine. For more information visit their Web site at cooksillustrated.com.
Before brining, remove the giblets, neck, and tail piece from the turkey and reserve for gravy. To brine overnight, dissolve 1 cup table salt or 2 cups kosher salt in 2 gallons cold water in a large stockpot or clean bucket. Submerge the bird in the solution, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under running water, and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. The bird is now ready to be prepared for roasting.
If refrigerator space is limited, try using a more concentrated, and therefore quicker, brine along with some disposable frozen ice packs as follows:
Double the amount of salt in the solution, place 4 or 5 large clean frozen ice gel packs in the brine with the turkey, cover the container, and place it in a cool spot for 4 hours. For ease of cleaning, line the brining vessel with a turkey-sized oven bag. After 4 hours, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under running water, and pat dry inside and out with paper towels.