Flavorful Turkey: There is Still Time

But there is not another moment to waste. Heed the Quartermaster’s instructions for brining your bird, get the turkey in the brine tonight, for significantly upgraded holiday nomnoms tomorrow.

FullSizeRenderThe beauty of brining a turkey is that while it takes a few minutes to prepare the brine, you can effectively omit: coating the turkey in butter or oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, basting during roasting, covering or flipping the bird while cooking (which is insane anyway). For our (brined) Thanksgiving turkey, I stuff the bird, roast at 325 (uncovered) until the stuffing and thigh reads 165F. Brining is the easiest way to achieve great turkey, with minimal effort.

Ideally, you would have begun brining 48-72 hours before Turkey Day, in order to permit the bird to “air dry” in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours before roasting. But if you brine and omit this step, it will still be far better than if you did nothing at all.

Other things you can do ahead: stuffing (mine’s already in the fridge), cranberry sauce (so easy, so much better than canned), anything containing Jell-O, sweet potatoes (all steps up to placement of the casserole in the oven to heat), peeling potatoes and placing in your boiling pot filled with salted water, the pies, etc.

Please note that *IF* you stuff your bird, which is safe so long as you reach a good internal temperature and handle the stuffing properly, you should be careful not to add too much salt to the stuffing, as some of the juices from the brined turkey (which are salty) will soak into the stuffing.

Today Mr. Karl and I engaged in some spirited debate concerning stuffing the bird versus having plenty of drippings for gravy. Apparently every person in his family requires at least a quart of gravy, because he was complaining that the stuffing absorbs all the drippings. This is not my experience at all, as we have always had an adequate volume of drippings even with a stuffed bird. But we don’t consume gravy with a drinking hose either. Meanwhile, the gaping open chasm of Mr. Karl’s turkey is pouring forth all the juices into the roasting pan. More resourceful people plug the hole to trap the flavor and juiciness.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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