Everything You Need to Know About Turkey Perfect

It's officially November, and the holidays are quickly approaching! Preparing a wholesome Thanksgiving feast for your family can seem like a daunting task, especially when your holiday to-do list is a mile long. Our Turkey Perfect brining kits were created to eliminate some of this stress. To make your life even easier, we’ve gathered the most common Turkey Perfect questions asked this time of year and answered them below.

Turkey Perfect Brining Kits FAQ

Can I brine a self-basted or injected turkey (such as Butterball)?
It is best to start with an all-natural turkey for maximum flavor. Self-basted or injected turkeys contain a flavorless brine solution. You can still brine with our flavorful Turkey Perfect brining kits (to add delicious herb flavor), but we recommend reducing brining time to 40 minutes per pound.

What size turkey should I buy?
The rule of thumb is to serve 1 pound of turkey per person. If your family really loves turkey sandwiches, or you want to try some other leftover recipes, then budget for 1.5 pounds per person.

How far in advance can I brine my turkey? Can I do it the day before and let it sit in the fridge?
Yes, you can brine turkey up to 24 hours prior to cooking. After using the Turkey Perfect brining kit, remove the brined turkey, pat it dry, and place it on a rimmed baking sheet or inside a roasting pan. Store the brined turkey in the refrigerator, uncovered, for up to 24 hours before cooking. Allow the brined turkey to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

What temperature do I roast my turkey?
We recommend cooking a turkey at 325°F until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast or thigh reads 165°F. If the skin is not browned to your liking, increase the oven temperature to 425°F during the final few minutes of roasting.

Can I make gravy out of brined turkey drippings?
We do not recommend this if you dry-brined your turkey. If you used a liquid brine, however, you can use the drippings to make gravy. Just keep in mind that you do not need to add any additional salt to your gravy.

How do I get extra-crispy skin if I brine my turkey?
Dry brining will ensure extra-crispy skin. If you decide to wet brine your turkey, you can easily accomplish the same effect by brining the bird a day or two in advance. Place the brined turkey on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and let it sit in the refrigerator (uncovered) for 8-24 hours. The skin will dry out, resulting in a crispy and golden texture. We like to brush the skin with a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar before roasting or smoking.

Can I stuff a brined turkey?
We do not recommend stuffing a brined turkey because the drippings from the turkey can add too much salt to the stuffing. We prefer to cook our stuffing separately. If you do stuff your bird, do not add additional salt to the stuffing. Also, make sure to check the temperature of the stuffing when finished cooking. The stuffing temperature also needs to reach 165°F before it’s safe to eat.

Can I brine a small turkey or turkey breast?
Yes, follow the instructions on the back of the Turkey Perfect packaging and allow the turkey (or breast) to brine for one hour per pound. If you are brining two turkey breasts, do not add the pounds of both breasts. For example, if one is 5 pounds and one is 4, brine for a total of 4 to 5 hours.

Can I brine my turkey for longer than 24 hours?
It's not recommended. Brining works much faster than a marinade, and brining a turkey for longer than recommended will oversaturate the bird. An over-brined turkey will taste very salty.

Do I have to use vinegar in my brine?
No, vinegar is optional. It serves as an anti-microbial, a precaution that helps prevent bacteria growth while brining your turkey. If the turkey is stored in an environment that is at least 38°F, you do not need the vinegar.

How do I know when my turkey if fully cooked?
Use an instant-read thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the breast. Push the thermometer until it hits bone bone, then pull it back halfway out. The turkey is done when the thermometer reaches 165°F. To ensure the brined turkey retains all its moisture, allow it to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

For more “How-To” guides and videos, visit our blogs. Additional FAQ’s on Turkey Perfect can be found here.