Photo Credit: De Quency Bowen
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is that time of year when my family gets together to enjoy a bountiful and festive meal. I finally get the opportunity to cook a whole turkey. Every year I am always under pressure because there is nothing worse than serving your in-law’s dry-gagging turkey. So to avoid all the turkey drama at the dinner table, I brine my turkey for 17 hours. Brining is a solution of water, salt, and aromatics that help tenderize and moisturize your turkey to be juicy.
I find using an empty 5-gallon pickle bucket the best vessel for a small 8-10 lb. turkey. I would use 1 gallon of water for every 8 oz of kosher salt. You can add other aromatics, such as garlic, carrots, onions, celery, paprika, sage, thyme.
After 17 hours of brining, pat the turkey dry, place the turkey in an appropriate sized roasting pan, rubbed down the turkey breast with butter, add other seasonings of your choice, cover with foil, and place in the oven at 350 F. Allow for 15 minutes of cooking time for each pound of turkey. Remove foil at end, to let the breast brown, then remove it from the oven when done and let the succulent turkey rest for 15 minutes.