Turkey is a mild-flavored meat that easily dries out during cooking. Brining a turkey -- basically, bathing it in salt water -- seasons the bird and infuses moisture, particularly helpful with long-duration cooking, such as roasting and smoking.
A brine consists of water, salt, and sometimes sweeteners (like sugar or molasses) and aromatics (like herbs, spices, citrus or garlic). Kosher and "treated" turkeys (such as many supermarket varieties) have been through a process that can produce overly salty results. Whatever the brining method, wash off the brine before cooking.
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To brine turkey for Thanksgiving, you'll need a whisk, brining bucket and heavy plate.
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