Daniel the kitchen wunderkind recommends brining your holiday bird for best results. To brine, you need some time in advance (1-2 days), a container large enough to hold your turkey submerged and a fridge that can keep the turkey below 40 degrees (the temperature of most fridges) on the bottom shelf (to prevent cross-contamination it is best not to store the turkey above other foods).
You’ll also need:
3/4 cup coarse kosher salt (if you don’t have kosher salt, use 1/2 as much regular iodized)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 gallon cold water
1 tablespoons black pepper
This recipe makes a little bit over a gallon of brine. It depends on your vessel but you may need to double the recipe to cover the turkey entirely. Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in the hot water. Stir in remaining gallon of cold water and black pepper. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours and up to 48. Roast turkey using regular method but season lightly – the turkey will already have enough salt.
A note on seasonings – we’ve seen everything from soy sauce to apple vinegar added to a brine recipe. It’s basically a blank notebook page ready for your culinary doodling. So have fun with it!