Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Bird's the Word

I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving without a big, beautiful, golden turkey sitting on the table. It's the symbol of the holiday; the pumpkin to Halloween, the egg to Easter, the Barry White to Valentine's Day....hey, don't judge.

That said, I find irony in the fact that for many people I know, myself included, the turkey is not my favorite part of the feast. Honestly, most years I don't even put it on my plate. It's all about the side dishes for this girl! I'll take mashed potatoes, stuffing, or green bean casserole over poultry any day.

Well, that changed this year, and before you wake up at 7am to put your turkey in the oven to cook all.day.long. I want to let you in on a little secret:


Brining is basically marinating meat for a few hours (I do about 12) in liquid with high salt content before cooking. This allows for the meat to absorb and retain moisture. What you get is tender, juicy meat that is full of flavor. You rinse the brine off before cooking so it does not result in a salty bird. Another bonus of brining is that there really is no need to baste the turkey. I do a little bit just because I think basting is so fun, but, there really is no need! Did I mention our 16lb turkey was cooked to perfection in four hours?

I've eaten a lot of turkey in my 26 years, and have made three myself. I'm telling you, brining is the way to go and is the only way I will ever cook a turkey. I've followed this recipe for the last three years. It's easy and I highly recommend it.

And, because a picture's worth a thousand words, here's our golden beauty:

Are any of you already in on the brining secret or do you have another way to cook your bird? I'd love to hear your tips!


  1. Wow! That sounds DELISH! I may have to try that! I am cooking Thanksgiving for the group home I work at this year.. I am super nervous, but you may have to share your secret in more detail with me ;)!

  2. I've been brining whole chickens for a while. It really does make what can be very bland poultry stand out. Your turkey looks delish!

  3. We use the same Alton Brown recipe and it truly is to die for! I'm not cooking Thanksgiving this year (cos we will be homeless... aaaa, Navy), but you better believe we'll be brining our bird for Christmas:)



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