The one in charge of cooking the bird has a big responsibility. Let’s be honest, doesn’t everyone have a little fear of drying the bird out? The thought of cooking a turkey brings nightmares of National Lapoon’s Christmas Vacation. You know the scene? Everyone seated around the dinner table, Clark saying his fine words of wisdom. As Clark tries cutting the turkey with the knife, it bursts open to reveal a completely dried out carcass. Even better is how, just like in real life, all the guests try to be nice to the cook by playing it off and acting like it’s still perfectly good to eat. So we see all of them struggling as they chew on the dried-out turkey bits, except for Clark’s wife who cleverly chucks pieces over her shoulder while pretending to eat them.
You know the scene. This is my fear, my worst nightmare. –>INSERT SHUDDER<–This is until I experienced brining. Say what? Brining is the process of soaking meat in a water, salt solution to ensure a moist result. Is ensure the right word? I mean you probably could still dry it out but the chance of this goes down drastically if you brine it. Plus, this is a great way to add a lot of flavor to the turkey which can naturally be lacking. Are you liking this idea? It really is pretty simple. Here is my step-by-step guide on how to achieve a moist, perfectly roasted turkey without the fear of dry meat. Plus, this brine, it is pretty spectacular as well.
STEP ONE: MAKE THE BRINE
One day before roasting the turkey prepare the brine. Place all ingredients for this Apple Cider Soy Brine in a large stockpot and bring to a simmer to release all of the flavors and immerse the salt. Let cook to room temperature.
STEP TWO: Submerge the Turkey
Line a 5-gallon container or a very large stock pot with an oven-roasting bag. Place the turkey in the bag and add the brine along with enough water to completely cover the turkey. Tie the bag and weight it with a plate if turkey is not fully submerged.
Refrigerate for 12-24 hours or keep below 40 degrees.
STEP THREE: Dry it out
Let your turkey sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to dry. To help this process you can pat dry with paper towels (inside and out).
STEP FOUR: ROAST
Roast according to directions based on the size of your turkey. My favorite way is to make a butter infusion with fresh herbs and spices, and some orange zest and rub it all over the turkey like lotion (too graphic? Sorry…).
STEP FIVE: CARVE
Drumroll please……->INSERT NERVOUS SWEATING<- …..cheers for a moist turkey!
Success and now relax. Oh wait, go brine that turkey. Once you brine, you’ll never go back!
Check out the rest of my Thanksgiving posts:
- 1 12-15 lb turkey
- 3 cups apple cider
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 3 Tbsp peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger chopped
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 twigs rosemary
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 1 orange peel, chopped
- 1 cup salt
- 1 quart water
- Additional water to fully immerse turkey
- In a large stockpot over low-medium heat add all ingredients, except turkey and additional water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Place turkey in a stockpot or gallon tub that is big enough to hold the turkey and enough liquid to cover (I would recommend a brine bag or oven bag).
- Pour brine over turkey and add enough water to cover.
- Seal bag or cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
- Remove turkey and let dry.
- Pat dry if needed.
- Roast according to directions.
- Enjoy a MOIST turkey.