Chef Angelo’s Turkey Tips: How to Brine a Bird

Brining Tips

Brine is a basic salt-and-water solution that helps your turkey retain more moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. Giving your bird a long, luxurious brine bath is a simple way to guard against dry meat. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you’ll have your best turkey yet. Here are some of our essential brining tips:

  • Be sure to choose a container that’s large enough to hold the bird and the brine. It also needs to be able to fit in your refrigerator or a large cooler.
  • Plan to brine your turkey for at least 24 to 36 hours.
  • To minimize clean-up, line a large 3-5 gallon container with an oven roasting bag. Add your turkey and cooled brine, then place the container in a fridge or cooler with ice.
  • Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be safe. There are many variables that come into play: from the temperature of the turkey, to an inaccurate oven, to frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature) and even the temperature of the stuffing.
  • Let the turkey rest. A rest period before carving is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—carving it too soon could release them, resulting in a dried-out texture.
  • The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 lbs. and up to 1 hour for large birds around 20 lbs. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating sides.
  • Invest in a digital thermometer. If there’s one thing I would love to see in every kitchen across America, it’s an easy-to-use, digital read probe thermometer. Even if you’re just checking the proper doneness of poultry, it’s worth the investment.


Tips for a successful Thanksgiving

  1. Write a menu and prepare a shopping list before going shopping.
  2. If people want to bring something, let them.  Do go it alone.
  3. Mis en place!!! Prepare what you can ahead of time.  That means at least 2 days before:
  • brining or seasoning you turkey at least
  • Cutting you bread for the stuffing and toasting
  • Cooking off rice for stuffing
  • Peeling potatoes and covering in water
  • Cutting all your vegetables that are being served, like brussels sprouts, squash, everything but the lettuce
  1. Do make too many new recipes, one or two are plenty
  2. Enjoy your time with your friends and family!!