Brine That Bird! It’s The Key To A Great Turkey
Last year was the first time I ever tried brining a turkey. I was cooking the turkey for the first time on my Traeger wood pellet smoker, and everyone said it was super important to brine it. I had never really gave it much thought, but I followed the instructions and did an easy home made turkey brine. Let me tell you, it was absolutely fantastic. I'll never go without a turkey brine again.
Here's how I did it. First off, thaw that turkey like you're supposed to if it's frozen. It's not going to absorb the brine if it's still a chunk of frozen poultry. It's ok if it's still a little frozen, just not solid. Next, you're going to need a clean old cooler or something big enough to submerge the bird in and keep it cool while it brines overnight. This is probably the most challenging part of the entire process. If you have a small enough turkey it may fit in the refrigerator. Fortunately around here it's cold enough that you usually can leave the turkey brining on the porch or something.
As far as a brine goes, this is one of the easiest ones I've found and it worked really well. It's from simplyrecipes.com. All you need is some oranges, lemons, kosher salt, and a few other things. It really works great.
Why do we brine turkeys anyway? It turns out so much more moist. I've cooked a turkey a bunch of different ways. I've done it traditionally oven roasted. I've deep fried turkeys. I've tried a turkey on the weber grill, and ultimately I've gone to use my Traeger. As is the case with each of these, if you go to long you don't have to worry about drying out the bird. Also, nothing is worse than cutting into your turkey and finding out it's undercooked. That happens because you're worried about overcooking it. The brine helps give you a little bit of a buffer and a break from dry turkey.
So, do yourself a favor and start brining that bird!