You only need one thing to make sure your turkey is moist and bursting with flavor, and that is brine. A brine is a saltwater solution that you soak your turkey in for at least 24 hours before cooking. The solution soaks into the bird, adding extra flavor and helping to lock in the moisture when it is cooked.
Table of contents:
1. How to make brines
You can make a simple brine using nothing more than water and salt. Brines can also get a little more complicated by adding other ingredients that will alter the flavor of the cooked turkey. Start with a simple brine. Mix a half cup of kosher salt in one gallon of water and bring to a boil.
Allow the mixture to become cold by placing it in the refrigerator. Never soak your turkey in a brine that is hot. This is unsafe as it affects the temperature of the turkey.
2. How to brine the turkey
The best way to brine your turkey is in a brining bag. You can buy these at your grocery store. Place the completely thawed turkey in the bag and pour all the brine into the bag. Tie the bag and put it into the fridge.
It may be a good idea to place the bag in a roasting pan or other container in case of leaks. Allow the turkey to soak in the brine for at least twenty hours. You may need to rotate the turkey once or twice to make sure that it absorbs the brine evenly.
When you are ready to cook the turkey remove it from the brine and pat dry. There is nothing more to do concerning the brine. Cook the turkey as desired and your bird will come out more moist than you have ever experienced.
3. Jazz up your brine
You can also increase the flavor of your turkey by adding ingredients to the brine. Try adding a half cup of brown sugar to the above recipe for a subtle, sweet flavor. Beer lends a good flavor to the recipe as well.
Add your favorite beer when mixing the water and salt solution. One sixteen-ounce bottle is usually enough, but if the beer has a strong flavor you will want to cut it to half a bottle so that the beer enhances the turkey and does not overtake it. The alcohol in the beer will burn off during the cooking process, so you do not have to worry about the youngsters eating the finished product.
Brining is the number one way to add flavor and lock in the moisture of your turkey. Try mixing in your favorite herbs and spices as well. Your turkey will be a big hit this holiday if you brine the bird before cooking it.