I've tried both ways on Thanksgivings in the past: roast turkey after burning and roast turkey without brining I can not say that one year of bird is superior to another, but that's probably because I'm on Thanksgiving Do not be ashamed of sauce – or any meal offering gravy.
Smother your turkey (and your mashed potatoes with stuffing and vegetables) in gravy, and you'll have a hard time recognizing the subtle changes in the texture and taste of your turkey.
Since I'm just an avid chef, I turned to the professionals – Christopher Kimball, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Alton Brown – to get answers. Everyone brings a scientific approach to cooking. Kimball and Lopez-Alt have written two of my favorite cookbooks – The Cook's Bible and The Food Lab – and Brown has been a favorite since his Good Eats days, my favorite cooking show ever (recently restarted, um, Reloaded)  I opened both books and found an Alton Brown blog post to find out her thoughts about brining.
Save – what is burning?
Brining soaks your turkey in salt water for many hours or overnight. The turkey absorbs some water while it is soaked in your salt solution, and the salt dissolves some muscle proteins, causing the meat in the oven to contract less and lose less moisture during cooking.
What Do the Experts Say
I was surprised to learn that both Kimball and Lopez-Alt are stuck in the anti-solvent camp. Both claim that it is a pain to salt a large turkey and its effects are not all positive.
Kimball says, "The leavened turkey was missing some tooth, it was moist and spicy, but it reminded me a little bit of bonelessness." Turkey breast being sold in the delicatessen. I like turkey with real chewing. "He says his mother's slow roast method is simpler and gives similarly juicy results.
Lopez-Alt simply says," I do not drink my turkey. Always. "He points to two burning issues: First, it's awkward because you'll need a huge container to house your bird, and you need to keep it cold, which means either putting up ice packs or valuable items in your pocket Second, he says that the extra juiciness is at the expense of flavor: "It's juicy, but the juice is watery," because you forced the bird to absorb water. "In summary, Lopez-Alt says," I'm sinking mine Do not birds because I like my birds to taste like birds, not like watered down birds. "
Brown prefers a dry brine andhis bird before roasting.For people like me, the trouble however, he proposes to combine the process of bringing and thawing, and points to the superiority of a salted bird for scraps: "Is the A roma as good as the dry-cure method? It's not quite as intense, but at scale of 1-10 I would still give it 8.7 and when it comes to leftovers (you can say "sandwich"), I do not think a salted bird can be beaten. "In the end, turkey sandwiches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are not the whole point of a Thanksgiving turkey?
Read More :
I still want to brine – how do I do that?
Get a large soup pot, the crisper drawer from your refrigerator, or a cool box, and make sure you're using a natural turkey (one that still no saline solution was injected).
Add one or two cups of kosher salt and then add a jug of hot water to dissolve the salt Let the salt water cool and place your turkey in the container Add water to cover the turkey.
The ratio of salt to water is not particularly important, you are looking for a ratio of about two cups of salt to a Ga llone water Place the container in your fridge or use ice packs if you have no space in the fridge to cool it down.
If you have a frozen turkey, you can defrost it while salting it to brown alton. but plan two days for thawing.
When the big day comes, remember to rinse off excess brine before roasting so you do not end up with an insanely salty gravy. Because good sauce is the best part of a party. (Check out this chowhound recipe for roast turkey roast with cream sauce.)
What about dry salt roast?
Dry roasting simply means rubbing the turkey with salt – on the skin and under it – and let it sit in the fridge for one or two days before cooking. It helps your bird retain moisture without diluting the taste.
Lopez-Alt says you should use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat. Before you start to salt, loosen the skin of the breast with the hand or the handle of a wooden spoon and rub some salt under the skin and the whole bird. Put the turkey on a large tray or baking tray and put it in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 48 hours.
Dry salting is the first step in this chowhound recipe for simple turkey roast.
And flavored brine sheets?
You can also make your salted salt marinade to add flavor to your bird. Martha Stewart has a flavored salt recipe that includes bay leaves, garlic, thyme, dried juniper berries, fennel seeds and a bottle of Riesling.
Do you have a proven way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey? If so, please share your culinary secrets in the comments below.
Originally published on November 17, 2017.
Update dated November 15, 2018: Added Alton Brown's brutal opinion.