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Thanksgiving 101: Should You Brine Turkey?

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Thanksgiving 101: Should You Brine Turkey?
Photo USDA Gov/Flickr

Every year, many questions arise when it comes to Thanksgiving turkey. In the first of many holiday posts that are to come, we would like to tackle to age-old question: to brine or not to brine?

Brining a turkey certainly has its benefits, namely juiciness. Personally, I can attest to the incredible tenderness of brined turkey. That alone is convincing to go ahead and soak your turkey in a salty solution overnight. But the folks at Serious Eats blog, after conducting their own research, contend that brining isn't necessary.

So what should you do? First, we recommend giving the Serious Eats blog a look over. It's a long post but one worthy of reading. It presents valuable oppositions to brining - mainly that it is time consuming and actually strips turkey of flavor (because it absorbs water).

If you skip to the bottom of the blog post, you'll find an easy solution to brining: salting your bird overnight. Writer J. Kenji López-Alt does a great job at explaining the reasons why salting is the easier - and tastier - solution to brining. To prove his point, he conducted his own experiments with chicken breast (pictured above is the brined chicken, below is the salted chicken).

In the end, it's really up to you. If brining your turkey has worked for you in the past, there's no need to change your tradition. But if you're looking to try something new then salt, baby, salt!

 

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