To Brine Or Not To Brine The Turkey

Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is but one day away, which means just about every turkey that will be cooked for the holiday should be thawing, according to representatives with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. Amy Roska told WKVI’s Tom Berg that one of the most common mistakes is not allowing the bird enough time to thaw.

“Make sure you allow enough time for thawing, because that’s one of the very common first-timer mistakes. They don’t realize that these are really big birds and they’re going to need to allow plenty of time, again, four pounds per day in the refrigerator. The next thing, make sure that first timer gets a good thermometer because that’s going to take all the guesswork away,” Roska said.

One controversial topic is whether to brine or not to brine, and Roska said it’s unnecessary but popular. The brining, she said, adds a bit of flavor to the turkey.

“It’s entirely up to the cook. It’s very popular; we’ve had a lot of callers asking us about brining, and it’s neat because a lot of times people want to do something a little bit different. It’s a way to kind of infuse some different flavors into the turkey. Often brines will have garlic or some seasoning – bay leaf, sage,” said Roska.

However, Roska said brining the turkey is not required, as Butterball turkeys already have basting solution within the breast. So while brining the turkey may add some different flavors, the difficulty involved may outweigh the benefits.

“It is not necessary to brine, because Butterball does have a small amount of basting solution in the breast already. So if somebody doesn’t want to fool around with that, it’s not necessary because it is a little tricky because you have to find a container big enough to hold your turkey and all the liquid brine that you can put in your refrigerator because you do need to brine under refrigerator temperatures,” explained Roska.