The Truth About Brining Turkey

“In Kenji’s Food Lab tests, turkey (or, well, chicken breasts) that’s brined this way can have “a definite case of wet-sponge syndrome. Water comes out of it as you chew, giving you the illusion of juiciness, but the texture is a little too loose, and the flavor a little bland.”

The better alternative is to heavily salt the turkey overnight. The meat will still come out tender and juicy, but with a denser texture and more straight-up turkey flavor. Kenji says he doesn’t ever brine poultry, but the advanced salting could be a safeguard against overcooking.”

via The Food Lab: The Truth About Brining Turkey | Serious Eats.

This goes against the grain of what we’ve advocated here for at least two Thanksgivings, but you may want to skip the salt water soak for your turkey.  We’ve had great success with brining either in a cooler or, more conveniently if it’s not cold enough to leave the cooler in the garage, brining in a brining bag, but we may just try this method this year.

We make a turkey more often than just holidays, because it’s a good, economical protein source we like to eat, so I’m pretty used to the brining process. But as this article and its embedded photos do point out, it leaves a water-filled bird with sort of squishy meat.  You may want to consider this dry-brining method.

Whatever you do — turkey is not hard  to cook, and it’s going to be less expensive this year, comparatively, than many other meats, so make plenty.  Enjoy.


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