If you’re in a room with people who cook and want to see them polarize, say the sentence “should you brine a Thanksgiving turkey?” It seems like people who cook the turkey are generally very pro-brining or vehemently against brining the turkey.
If you’re new to brining, think of it as like marinating. You add herbs, spices (and other things depending on the recipe you’re using) to water, pour it over the turkey and let the turkey sit in it to add flavoring and make it extra juicy.
We’ve cooked turkeys for Thanksgiving just about any way that you can try them–brined, un-brined, stuffed, not stuffed, fried, not fried and, honestly, I think it just depends on the year and the cook and a number of other factors like how you’re cooking it. I’ve brined turkeys that have been amazing. The very next year, I’ve followed the same brine recipe and the turkey turned out super dry.
However, if you’ve never brined a turkey, try it out and see what you think. There are many different brining recipes, so this is just one we’ve used.
For this recipe, you’ll need a food-safe brining bag and also a pot big enough to let the turkey sit in for a period of time in a cool place. (We use our fryer potand it works very well.)