Here’s a bold statement for you: if you aren’t planing on brining your turkey before you cook it next Thursday, you are making a mistake. A big one. Now, I tend to not be very fussy in the kitchen—and I like to skip steps whenever I can—but brining is one of those steps that you shouldn’t flip past.
It sounds like something only fancy TV chefs do, but it really isn’t very complicated at all. In fact, it’s pretty quick! And it makes such a huge difference. It’s like spending $1 to get $100 back. You would do that, wouldn’t you? So then you should totally brine your turkey. #logic
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Um, Cass, that’s great, but I don’t even know what brining means.” Well, hey! I get that. I didn’t either until a few years back. Let me do some explaining.
Brining is treating a bird before cooking with salt to help retain moisture and flavor. There are two kinds of brining—wet and dry. When you hear most folks talk about brining, they are referring to wet brining. It’s where you make a big ole vat of salted water (usually with some aromatics thrown in) and soak your bird overnight. The salt helps some of the brine get absorbed into the meat, and the moisture is retained when cooking—making the bird more tender and moist. You can find thousands of recipes for wet brines all across this glorious internet of ours.
Dry brining is the same idea, but without the water. Instead, you coat the bird in a salt mixture. The salt soaks into the turkey and lets the natural moisture of the meat stay in your final product.