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Video:How to Brine Turkey

with Natasha Levitan

Brining turkey enhances flavor, tenderizes the meat, and reduces your bird's cooking time. Learn how to brine a turkey for you next Thanksgiving holiday or big turkey meal.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Brine Turkey

Hi, I'm Natasha Levitan for About.com. Do you think you know everything to know about food? Well, I'm going to share with you the secret to making food better.

Why Brine a Turkey?

Brining foods in salt water adds flavor, tenderness, and reduces cooking time. When the food is submerged in brine, the salt water along with spices is absorbed into the food, loading with moisture and it will stay that way while it cooks.

So what should you brine? Practically anything but today I'm going to show you how to brine turkey.

Supplies Needed to Brine a Turkey

Here's what you need:
  • 1 c. salt
  • seasoning
  • 1 gallon water
  • turkey
  • large stockpot or any other container that will fit your bird

Clean and Prepare the Turkey

Before you get ready to brine your turkey, you need to make sure the turkey is cleaned out, completely thawed and should not be self-basting or kosher turkey. Self-basting and kosher turkeys have salt stock added to them so if you brine them, they will be too salty. A fresh turkey works the best.

Mix the Brine

Here is how to make the brine mixture. Combine one cup of salt in one gallon of water. Mix them together with a large spoon so the salt dissolves.

Test the Brine Mixture

A good way to check that your salt concentration is correct is to put in raw egg. If the egg floats, your concentration is what it should be. After the salt is dissolved, you can add your seasonings. Spice your brine with pepper or herbs and garlic. You can also sweeten your brine with brown sugar or molasses.

Place the turkey in the container and pour in enough brine to completely cover it with 1 or two inches over the bird's top.

Refrigerate the Turkey

Now you can put your turkey into refrigerator. It should sit in the brine for at least 10 hours. You can have it sit for up to 24 hours, but 10 hours is enough time for all the brining that it needs.

Cook the Turkey

When you're ready to cook the turkey, remove it from brine and rinse it off in a sink with cold water until all the traces of salt are off the surface. Discard the brine and cook the turkey as usual.

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