Ahhh Thanksgiving… that time of year when many turkeys meet their fate. If they’re lucky, they are brought out to oohs and ahhs and the general salivation of those dining. For the unfortunate ones, their fate is one of chaos and disaster. That’s why I totally recommend a practice turkey cook, at least until you get your process down.
I said all of that, only now to reveal that I did not follow my own advice when cooking my first turkey ever last year. On Thanksgiving. No pressure there… Luckily for me, the bird turned out fairly decent (if not a touch bit dry because I let time get away from me). During that cook, I injected the turkey with an injectable marinade from Stubb’s and cooked it whole.
This time around, I got wiser. With a spare turkey in the freezer, I decided to do a practice cook this time around (especially since I would later find out that I would be cooking the turkey for the family meal). For this turkey, I gave it a quick brine before spatchcocking it. The general consensus was that the turkey was extremely juicy!
So it seems straightforward, right, that brining is the way to go? Not so fast, at least according to Kenji of Serious Eats. In November of last year, he published an article on the Serious Eats Food Lab suggesting that brining (or wet brining) is not the optimal way to prep your turkey. Instead he suggests extended salting (or dry brining) as the preferred method for turkey prep. I won’t go into the details here, but you can click on the article link to read into the hows and whys.
So what I want to know is this: how will you be prepping your Thanksgiving turkey? Wet brining? Salting? Injecting? A combination of those techniques? Or what about absolutely nothing? Or how about something completely different? Place your vote in the poll below. And if you’re trying something completely new and out-of-the-box, leave a comment as well with what you’re trying.