**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)
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