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Everything You Need to Know About Turkey Perfect
We blinked and just like that it is November! With the holidays quickly approaching, preparing a wholesome Thanksgiving feast for your family can seem daunting, especially when your holiday to-do list is a mile long. We’ve gathered the most common Turkey Perfect questions asked this time of year so brining and cooking your turkey can be easy and stress-free.
Turkey Perfect Most Frequently Asked Questions
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 are injected with a flavorless brine solution. You can still brine with our flavorful Turkey Perfect (to add delicious herb flavor), but we recommend reducing brining time to 40 minutes per pound.
What size turkey should I buy?
Rule of thumb is 1 pound of turkey per person. If your family really loves turkey sandwiches or you want to try some of Fire & Flavor’s turkey leftover recipes, then buy 1.5 lbs. per person or roast an extra turkey breast for leftovers.
How far in advance can I brine my turkey? Can I do it 2 days ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge?
Yes, you can brine your turkey ahead of time. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry, and place on rimmed baking sheet or inside roasting pan. Store turkey in refrigerator, uncovered, for up to 24 hours before cooking. Allow turkey to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Do I have to cook my turkey immediately after brining?
No, you can brine your turkey ahead of time. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry, and place on rimmed baking sheet or inside roasting pan. Store turkey in the refrigerator, uncovered, for up to 24 hours before cooking. Allow 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 the last few minutes of roasting.
Can I make gravy out of brined turkey drippings?
If you dry brined your turkey we do not recommend making gravy with the drippings. However, if you wet brined the turkey, 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. It may be slightly salty due to the brine.
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 this by brining the bird a day or two in advance. Place it on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, and let it sit in the refrigerator (uncovered) for 8-24 hours. The skin will dry out and be extra crispy and golden. 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 bird because the drippings from the turkey can add too much salt to the stuffing. We prefer to cook our stuffing separately. If you insist on stuffing your bird, do not add additional salt to the stuffing. Also, make sure to check the temperature of the stuffing when you finish cooking the turkey. 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 package 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. 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?
No. Brining works much faster than a marinade so brining a turkey for longer than recommended will over saturated the bird. An over-brined turkey will taste salty.
Do I have to use vinegar in my brine?
No, vinegar is optional. The vinegar serves as an anti-microbial (and precaution) helping prevent bacteria growth while brining your turkey. If the turkey is stored in an environment that is at least 38°F then you do not need the vinegar.
How do I know when my turkey if fully cooked?
Use an instant read thermometer and insert in the thickest part of the breast. Push the thermometer until it reaches the bone then pull it back out half way. The turkey is done when the thermometer reaches 165°F. So that the turkey retains all its moisture, allow it to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.