There’s one easy kitchen hack for helping you cook the most juicy and delicious holiday turkey ever. It’s not deep-frying, spatchcocking, or non-stop basting. In fact, it’s almost ridiculously simple: brining the turkey. Instead of fancy equipment or complicated techniques, you just need time, a handful of spices and, of course, a high-quality turkey.
The science of brining is pretty straightforward: The salty solution helps to keep the bird moist, because the meat absorbs some of the water and seasoning, and because the salt helps to break down and effectively “unwind” some of the proteins in the meat. (For more on the science of brining, see this helpful article on The Kitchn.) The result is a tender, flavorful turkey that’s light-years away from the dried-out bird of Thanksgivings past.
The poultry experts at the family-owned, Pennsylvania-based company Bell & Evans have shared with us their tried-and-true method for how to brine a turkey. Check out the video for a tutorial, then head to Bell & Evans’ website for the full explanation and recipe. As with any large cooking project, it’s best to take it one step at a time, and follow instructions carefully. But, have no fear: A long soak in a brine actually makes roasting a large piece of meat a more forgivable process. So, once you’ve got it down, you can apply the same brining technique to whole chickens, sides of beef, pork loins and so much more!
- Video: Bell & Evans