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Brining takes time, but delivers a moist bird

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE**   This Oct. 19 2008 file phoshows Grill-roasted Brined Turkey with Anaheim Chile

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE** This Oct. 19, 2008 file photo shows a Grill-roasted Brined Turkey with Anaheim Chile Salsa Verde. To save money this Thanksgiving brine your own bird. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, FILE)

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Updated: December 19, 2012 10:37AM

The perfect Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t happen in the oven.

It happens in a tub of water. Or in a cooler. Or in a five-gallon bucket.

The perfect turkey, experts say, starts before the seasoning, before the basting. And way before the carving. A Thanksgiving turkey the family will rave about starts with brining, an overnight soak in salt water.

Brining is an extra step, all right, and a lengthy one. One that requires a good-size container, a fresh or thawed turkey and the space to keep it cold. But for those who embrace the brine, it’s a critical step in creating a moist, tasty bird.

Home cooks strapped for time and space during a busy holiday week may brush off brining as unnecessary.

They’ll cook the bird in a bag. They’ll baste. They’ll turn it upside down. All in an effort to achieve the holy grail of Thanksgiving: a moist, tender turkey, one that will erase all memories of dry, overcooked birds of the past.

But those who brine say they can achieve that holiday ideal with a simple mixture of water, salt, sugar and seasonings — and time. However you do it, brining is a step that’s especially important when using a free-range turkey, most who’ve gone that route say.

Gannett News Service

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