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Let’s be honest, turkey by itself can be pretty bland. Despite its impressive looks and size, it doesn’t always have much taste or moisture. It is possible to achieve a juicy and flavorful bird though -- if you season it ahead of time. From brines to rubs, here are some ideas for infusing flavor into your Thanksgiving turkey:
Soaking overnight in a briny bath will give you a moist, evenly flavored turkey. To do this, you’ll need to make a solution with a ratio of 1/4 cup kosher salt (not iodized) to 4 cups of liquid (e.g. water, orange juice, wine) and, if desired, other seasonings, such as sugar, herbs and spices. Heat the mixed solution over low heat to dissolve the salt, and allow it to cool.
Then, place a container that’s large enough to hold the turkey in the refrigerator. Fill 1/3 of the container with brine and gently place the turkey inside. Add more brine, if necessary, so that the turkey is completely submerged in the solution. Cover and allow to sit overnight. You can also brine the turkey in a cooler, if there’s not enough room in your fridge. After brining, rinse the bird and pat dry with paper towels.
Purists may prefer just salt and pepper, but you can create your own signature spice blend or herb rub to dress up your turkey. Simply combine spices and/or chopped fresh herbs of your choice together in a bowl, and then add enough oil or softened butter to create a paste. Before cooking, rub the mixture all over the turkey and under the skin so the mixture can permeate the meat.
Juice up your turkey with a flavored oil or butter. Using a poultry syringe filled with liquid fat (oil or melted butter), inject the bird all over before roasting.
Flavor from the Inside Out
Instead of stuffing your turkey, fill the empty cavity with aromatics like chopped onions and celery, herbs, garlic cloves and lemon halves. This will help flavor the meat and enhance the pan drippings that can be used to make gravy.