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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

CRL Recipes Series: Roasting Your Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

CRL goes through the pros and cons of brining and everything else in between.

Pick your best turkey this Thanksgiving

Everyday “super market” variety from major suppliers
Pros

  • Lower in cost per pound
  • Can be brined beforehand for moister, more flavorful meat
  • Readily available up to Thanksgiving and Christmas without pre-ordering
  • Can be purchased long in advance of the holiday for best pricing

Cons

  • Often meat has additives
  • Turkeys were not mainly grain fed and fattened for mass consumption

Self-basting “super market” variety
Pros

  • No need to brine
  • Can be purchased long in advance of the holiday for best pricing

Cons

  • Injected with a salt liquid
  • Turkeys were not mainly grain fed and fattened for mass consumption

Kosher
Pros

  • Salted as part of the kosher process, but not injected
  • Very flavorful without brining

Cons

  • Requires a pre-order

All natural varieties

Pros

  • Now readily available at most supermarkets and meat stores, so pre-ordering is needed
  • Healthier choice as they do not contain any coloring or flavorings added
  • Often grain fed with no hormones

Cons

  • Meat is often dry and brining is strongly suggested
  • Can be more costly and sometimes pre-order necessary
  • Heritage
  • Smaller and darker meat
  • No hormones or injections used
  • Can be brined but not necessary
  • Very moist and flavorful

Visit heritageturkeyfoundation.org/ for more information on Heritage Turkeys

Easy brine example
According to Savory Sweet Life, you can easily brine a turkey using this method, but remember…never brine a self-basting bird.
Ingredients

  • 1 gallon water, divided
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sage
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 4 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. Stir in eight cups cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and ice. The brine is ready to be used.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from the cavity. Rinse the outside and inside of a thawed turkey. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Completely submerge the turkey in a large soup pot bigger than the bird and cover with a lid. Allow the turkey to marinate for at least 12 hours and up to two days. Rinse turkey and pat dry before adding additional seasoning, butter, or oil in preparation for roasting.

* There are many more methods and recipes available by searching online.  Research and decide which meets your quests taste buds

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