Most of the cooking problems that people run into when roasting a turkey, such as the breast meat getting cooked before the dark meat, the meat drying out, the turkey being tough, having to turn the turkey over, etc. can be avoided by simply brining the turkey.
Brining will help keep the turkey moist and juicy, and add wonderful flavors that will make the turkey absolutely delicious. Brining penetrates the meat with the ingredients of the brine, resulting in the interior meat being flavored as well as the outside. And brining is very easy to do, at least with my method.
My basic brine is to add three tablespoons of unrefined sea salt to three cups filtered water, and stir the mixture with a spoon until the salt dissolves into the water. I then add a cup or two of organic apple juice, and three cloves peeled garlic.
Next, depending on what flavors I want, I will add various fresh or dried herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, or any combination of them. A few branches will do if you are using fresh herbs, and a few teaspoons will do if you are using dried herbs. You can also add various spices such as black peppercorns, a clove or two, or whatever spice you want to flavor the turkey.
Once the brine is made, I take out anything that is inside the cavity, such as a bag of innards and the neck. Then I rinse the turkey with cool filtered water. Then I pour the brine into a large stainless steel bowl large enough to hold the turkey. I then carefully lower the turkey, breast side down, slowly into the brine. Then I add enough filtered water to cover the turkey. It is okay if part of the back remains uncovered. The back will be up since the breast side is down.
I do this the day before Thanksgiving, then refrigerate overnight.
The quantities I gave are for a turkey no more than twelve pounds. I do use a lot less salt in my brine than most recipes call for, but this amount works perfectly for me and does the job well.
Using this brine makes cooking so much easier and flavorful that I always brine every turkey I roast.
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