Thanksgiving Meal

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To brine or not to brine: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The sneers and snickers of a dried out turkey,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

That is the famous question posed by Hamlet – OK maybe not exactly that way.  But seriously, do you brine your turkey or what other methods do you use to keep it moist and give it flavor?

I always wanted to brine a turkey, but I will be honest – I could not get past the issue of what to put it in and how to keep it cold.  Then I also heard that the texture can change.  Then last year I found an article about dry brining and I WILL NEVER GO BACK.  To say that my turkey last year was divine is an understatement.  I highly recommend you give it a try – I am doing it again this year.

UPDATE – sorry I meant to include how to… oops – Basically you want to rub the turkey inside and out with 1 TBS Kosher salt (you can add other poultry seasoning, but it is the salt that matters) for every 5lbs of turkey.  Then seal it is a bag and refrigerate.  It is best to have 3 days to do it, but any time is good.  Once per day, massage the juices back into the turkey (just run through the bag).  If you can, you can also flip it over, but it is not critical).  So do that fro 2 – 3 days.  The day before you are going to cook it, unseal the bag and let it dry out in the refrigerator.

On cooking day – thoroughly RINSE the bird and prepare as usual.  Sometimes this is when I add the poultry seasoning – but do not add more salt!

Now I may totally suck (excuse the language, but there really is no other word, stink just does not cut it) at regular meal planning, but holidays – LOVE planning those.  My only issue is I take on too much and try way too many new recipes.  This Thanksgiving will follow suit.  Here is my proposed Thanksgiving menu in addition to my divinely dry brined turkey:

  • Stuffing – still debating recipes – LOL!
  • Cole Slaw

Others will bring desserts but I may try Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from Erin at 5 Dollar Dinners.

So what about you – are you ready and do you brine your turkey?


  1. What recipe are you using for the turkey?

  2. yes.. let us in on this secret of dry brining!

  3. I don’t brine- I CROCKPOT! :drool:

  4. we usually fry our turkey, which is incredibly good but my hubby is sick this year and not in the mood to take his post out in the cold weather for 40 minutes so i will be roasting…… i read that you should not brine a self basting turkey, and i noticed mine IS so- what is this dry brining method you speak of?

    p.s. your menu looks awesome. what time is dinner and what is your address? :) j/k

  5. One thing to consider before doing this is the dietary restrictions of those you may be cooking for. My hubby really wanted to do this but my mom reminded us that it would increase the sodium (duh – salt!) in the meat and my Dad has heart problems and really has to restrict his salt intake. So, I’m looking for alternatives to still have a flavorful turkey.

  6. I can’t eat turkey any other way but brined. I used to do 1/2 cup salt per 1 gallon water in a tall beverage cooler. I just put a garbage sack in first so turkey germs dont get in the spiggot. Im always afraid I wont get it all cleaned good. I also have replaced the liquid with either apple juice or cranberry juice. WOW is it tender. Of course you need to rinse the bird good after his 24 hour bath.
    Then my sister turned me onto a smoked turkey cooked in the oven. Now I cant get enough of that. I also do chickens that way. For the smoked brine you use:
    1 C Mortons Tender Quick
    8 Tbsp Liquid smoke
    1/4 C Salt (she uses rock salt and I use regular salt)
    1 Gallon water
    1 12# Turkey

    Soak turkey in brine 24 hours. Bake at 200 for 12 hours When I do chicken I bake for about 5-6 hours since they are smaller.

    You wouldnt think at that temperature they would ever get done. But they do. It even is hotter than the safe eating temp. Just be sure to test the temp. The meat will be a different color since the water is colored.

    So good.

  7. Lynn, on the potatoes, do you boil them the night before, but not do any of the crock part cooking until day of? I got all the ingredients for them and am looking forward to them, but not sure exactly which part or how much to do tonight

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