When it comes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other dinner party where a turkey will be served it is imperative that the meat be moist. There is nothing worse than cutting into the crispy skin of a turkey to reveal a bone dry turkey. Even worse, the rest of the guests then have to politely douse the bird with gravy so that they swallow their bite.
Enter the process of brining. Brining is a cousin to the idea of marination where meat is soaked in salt solution before it is cooked. The process of brining actually works on a cellular level to help moisten the meat. As the meat, in this case turkey, sits in the brine the cells soak up the moisture through osmosis.
Because the brine which has a high concentration of salt then the salt found within the cells, it enters the cell walls through the process of diffusion. Because the inside of the cells suddenly has an increased amount of salt, even more water is absorbed through each cell wall.
Here is a brining recipe that will ensure that every turkey prepared in this manner is juicy down to the very last bite.
Things You’ll Need
- Container big enough to hold the turkey (think a five gallon bucket)
Brining the Turkey
- Combine a ratio of one cup of salt and one cup of sugar to each gallon of water.
- Submerge the turkey in the water, making sure that it is completely covered in the brine.
- Place the turkey in a fridge for the equivalent of one hour of brining for each pound turkey.
- Remove the turkey from the brining solution just before cooking.
- Rinse the turkey thoroughly under cold water, being sure to completely rinse the brine off the skin.
- Cook the turkey as desired.
Add Herbs and Spices
There are countless recipes for additional herbs and spices to add to the brine. Everything from garlic to thyme to lemon to poultry seasoning and more are popular choices. Just be sure to follow the ratios of the recipe for each gallon of water the turkey will be submerged in.
But There’s No Room in the Fridge!
If space becomes tight, then consider getting a large cooler in which to brine the turkey. Be sure that cooler is filled with plenty of ice and find a container that will rest inside of it. Then simply allow the brining process to take place in the cooler.