It’s time to talk turkey, since the big day is coming right up.
First of all, go ahead and buy your turkey this week since they’re on sale at Brookshire’s.
Secondly, don’t forget to take it out of the freezer in time. Been there, done that. Give it three to five days to thaw in the refrigerator, depending on the size of the bird.
Last year, we smoked our turkey. This year, we’re going to roast it, but we’re also going to brine the bird.
Brining is simply soaking the bird in a solution of salt and some acid (and a little sweetness) to lock the juices into the bird before cooking. It’s like marinating the turkey because your bird will absorb the fluids and flavors by osmosis. Brine your turkey for 18 to 24 hours before roasting it for best results.
Your brine can consist of almost anything, but you want to make sure to use 1 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar for every gallon of brine you make. You’ll probably need at least two gallons to cover your turkey.
You can flavor your brine with slices of citrus like lemons or limes; with sliced apples; with lots of fresh herbs like sprigs of rosemary and sage or chunks of ginger; or with cloves of garlic. You can use cider or broth in place of the water (although if you’re using cider or something sweeter, I’d only replace half of the water).
After you’ve mixed all the ingredients together until well-combined, submerge your turkey, and place in the refrigerator. Some people feel safe brining in a clean cooler, but I don’t trust Texas weather to keep it cool enough. You can use a roasting bag, a large stockpot/baking pan or whatever vessel is large enough to hold your turkey and the brine and still fit in the fridge.
For extra-crispy skin when you roast the bird, remove from brine the night before Thanksgiving and let dry. Rub with butter and herbs; replace in the refrigerator, UNCOVERED, overnight. Bring to room temperature for an hour before roasting.