If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, that means it's up to you to cook the turkey.
You've probably heard that you should brine a turkey before roasting it by soaking it in salty water. People (Alton, Martha, etc) say that brining makes the turkey more tender and flavorful and delicious.
The thing is, wet brining is a pain. First, you need to make a brine out of water, salt, sugar, and seasoning. Then, you need to find a huge cooler or pot, figure out how to keep that cooler cold for at least 12 hours while your bird soaks in salt water.
Some people put their turkey in a brine bag, then surround the brine bag with ice that then needs to be changed regularly. Others clear out their entire fridge, which isn't exactly convenient. Best case scenario, it's cold enough outside that you can just put the turkey in a cooler on the porch.
What you might not know is that there's ANOTHER WAY to brine your turkey. Dry brining — rubbing the bird with a mixture of salt, sugar, and seasoning the day before you cook it — is SO MUCH easier. But, DOES IT WORK as well??
BuzzFeed Food editors conducted a blind taste test to find out the most effective way to brine your turkey.
We started with three identical turkeys: One turkey was wet-brined, one turkey was dry-brined, and one turkey wasn't brined at all.
WET BRINE: Boil 1 gallon of water with 1 cup kosher salt, ½ cup light brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, until all the salt and sugar is dissolved. Add a gallon of iced water, and let the brine cool to room temperature. Put a 14 to 16 pound turkey in a brining bag fitted inside a large stock pot, then pour the brine into the bag to cover the turkey. Refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
DRY BRINE: Combine 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Rub the mixture all over a 14 to 16-pound turkey — over the skin, under the skin, and inside the cavity — and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 and up to 16 hours. Rinse and pat dry before roasting.
NO BRINE: The turkey was rinsed, dried, and seasoned with 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper just before roasting.