Seeking Turkey Logistical Help

by Ben Miller

Turkey a-brining

Turkey a-brining

I have a turkey dilemma. Our feast is going to be so big this year that rather than purchase one enormous turkey I got one 13 pounder and one 15.5 pounder (the smaller from Whole Foods the bigger from Eastern Market). Now here is where I could use some advice. As you can see from the picture to the left, I put the smaller turkey into a 12-hour brine mixture at about 8:45 this morning. This is going off this recipe here ($), in which you let the turkey dry out a bit overnight in the fridge so that the skin crisps.

Now, the question is what to do with the second turkey. Those of you brining experts–should I do the same thing with the second turkey (a long brine and then let it dry out to crisp the skin). Or should I just brine overnight and then rinse, pat dry and put it right into the oven?


11 responses to “Seeking Turkey Logistical Help

  1. This recipe from Cooking Light is the most delicious turkey recipe I’ve ever experienced. It calls for a 12 lb turkey, but I’m sure you could compensate for your larger one by increasing the liquid a bit.

  2. Brine it, pat it dry and then rub oil on it

  3. yep. brine it, dry it, oil it. i’ve never done the overnight in the fridge business so I can’t tell you if that makes a crispier skin, but Rob’s method above makes for skin crispy enough to satisfy. I didn’t read the recipes but hopefully the call for using 500 degrees for (about) 30 minutes before pulling down to normal cooking temp which essentially fries the skin from underneath.

  4. Last year, I tweaked Alton Brown’s brine recipe, and just brined the turkey for a few hours in the morning while I did everything else, then dried it off, stuffed an apple in it and stuck it in the oven. Came out beautifully- crispy skin, juicy meat, and I even had drippings for gravy.

  5. I’ve had really good luck with a method where you brine it, pat it dry and then cover the breast with a cheesecloth covered with melted butter and wine wine for the first couple hours of cooking. Helps keep the breast moist.

  6. I brined a turkey last year (basically just water and a couple of cups–yeah, a lot–of salt). Put it in the fridge overnight. Ended up being the best turkey I’ve ever had. A note of warning: when opening the brining bag, be careful–there is nothing more disgusting than having two gallons of briney turkey water spill all over you and your kitchen.

  7. You might also read the article in the NY Times from Harold McGee about why he doesn’t brine his turkey:

  8. Apple cider brine forever! Bon Appetit had a great brine recipe that made probably the best turkey of my life. Just make a semi-standard brine (salt, sugar, herbs, onion, garlic) and use a quart of apple cider. Then baste the turkey with beer while you roast it.

    Makes awesome pan gravy, too.

  9. My wife did a YouTube video of brining a turkey for the BBC in September. The logistics were based on Alton Brown’s show from a few years ago, but the rest was all her.

    The result? The best turkey I’ve ever had, and we’ve we’ve had some good ones trying different brines, roasting, deep-frying, etc…

    Check it out here.

  10. In the brine? kosher salt, brown sugar, cinnomon sticks, allspice berries, candied ginger and bayleaves…

    In the bird? Not stuffing—aromatics: quartered yellow onion, orange, lemon, rosemary, sage, parsley, celery tops, more ginger…

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