I have cooked a lot of turkeys in my days, with varying degrees of success and failure. I once cooked a turkey that literally completely fell apart once taken out of the oven. I know your thinking “well that was a moist bird, right?” Yeah, moist like a wet rag, you couldn’t even cut the thing. Another year I cooked a turkey and it was suck-the-moisture-outta-yo-mouth dry. That was probably the worst… ever.
I have however cooked some tasty turkeys too, so trying to keep that in my mind this year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to be
sure that my beautiful pastured turkey didn’t go to waste. Brining has been something that has worked nicely for moisture and flavor in the past so I was commited to brining my bird.
So when the girlie and I got out 20lb bird home from the farmer’s market the Saturday before Thanksgiving (an amazing bird from Wildwood Farm in Mineral, Va), we washed that baby up and planned the brine
On Monday, we got her in the brine… a bucket was the only thing that she fit in! The turkey had a good three days to brine (we flipped it each day).
Still, I wasn’t sure if the brine would make any difference because I have made brines before that didn’t really effect the taste much. So I was curious as to the ending flavor would be.
Because I was scared to death that I would destroy my baby, I decided to follow The Pioneer Woman’s turkey cooking instruction, aside of the butter coating. We used a cider reduction to coat the bird instead for browning.
As it turned out, we have about 10lbs of turkey still leftover and I don’t mind one bit. Our turkey came out more flavorful and delicious than ANY turkey I have ever cooked. I credit part of that to the Pioneer Woman, but the other- definitely the brining and cider reduction. You can totally taste the brine flavor in the meat, its amazing