Can we talk turkey for just a minute? Yeah, we know it’s kind of early, but if you’re like us, you’re planning to do a trial run of your Thanksgiving bird so you know you’ll end up with turkey perfection on the big day. Who wants to end up with dry, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-style turkey? Not us!
So let’s start out with prepping the bird. We know we can’t toss a turkey into an oven without doctoring it up a bit first. Two methods consistently turn out a delicious turkey: brining and injecting.
Many proteins, not just turkey, benefit from brining, which is just a fancy way of saying that you’re soaking it in saltwater before you cook it. Brining hydrates the meat, making it way more likely that you’ll get a glistening, juicy result. It also uniformly seasons it and makes the meat more tender. You can customize your brine with all kinds of flavors to make your turkey taste uniquely delicious. Sounds awesome, right? Well, there are a few disadvantages. You’ll need a lot of room in your fridge, or in a clean cooler, to make the brining magic happen. And you’ll need to start early – up to 24 hours early for a whole bird. And watch out for mass-produced turkeys that have already been injected with solutions—you don’t want to end up with an over-salted turkey!
Injecting a turkey requires less of a time investment and still results in a super flavorful bird. To inject, you’ll need a good injection kit (we’ve got ‘em in stock already!). Your kit will include a giant syringe called an injector. The injector allows you to shoot injection mixtures deep into the turkey’s muscle tissue to uniformly season and flavor the turkey. You can use melted butter, duck fat or olive oil to make the turkey more moist, and you can spice up the flavorings as you please (just avoid sites that come in big chunks so you don’t clog your needle). Some cons to injecting: distribution of the flavor isn’t as uniform as brine, and you might risk liquid squirting out of the turkey if you are trying to inject into an already-saturated spot.
And you know us—we think you should absolutely try smoking your turkey in a Big Green Egg or Traeger Grill this year. Here are a few recipe to inspire you and get you excited about Turkey Day!
- Big Green Egg Classic Smoked Turkey
- Cajun Smoked Turkey
- Traeger Slow Smoked Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey
- Honey Brined Smoked Turkey
- Traeger Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey
Pssst… Need some awesome seasonings, flavor injection kits, or even the perfect grill for your perfect turkey? Come see us at Dot’s Ace Hardware!