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The Briny Way to Cook Turkey

Give your bird a salty bath.

November 19, 2000

Every year, more and more people experiment with brining their Thanksgiving turkey. When we first wrote about it in 1996, we found that brining produced the most flavorful, juiciest bird we'd ever had.

What's even better, it takes no special equipment--beyond a pot or pail big enough to hold a turkey. There are two warnings. Brined turkeys should not be stuffed, as the filling will become very salty. And you should only use a little of the pan drippings for gravy.

Roast Brined Turkey

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes plus 12 hours soaking and drying

2/3 cup salt

1 gallon water

1 (16-pound) turkey

* Combine salt and water and stir until salt dissolves to make brine. Pour brine over turkey in pot just large enough to hold both. If turkey is completely covered, don't worry about using all of brine. Cover with foil and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight, turning 2 or 3 times to make sure turkey is totally submerged.

* Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate, unwrapped, 6 hours or overnight.

* Pat turkey with paper towels so it's free of moisture, then place on its side on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast at 450 degrees 15 minutes. Turn turkey to other side and roast another 15 minutes.

* Reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast until meat thermometer inserted in center of thickest part of thigh registers 165 degrees, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside 20 minutes before carving.

10 to 12 servings. Each of 12 servings: 394 calories; 792 mg sodium; 236 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 65 grams protein; 0 fiber.

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