If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, then there is a good chance you will soon find yourself staring at a giant bird with your mouth hanging open, completely at a loss.
People will probably tell you that you should brine your turkey before you cook it -- in other words, soaking it in salty water for hours, maybe even days. Culinary heavy hitters like Alton Brown and Martha Stewart swear by brining, saying that it gives the bird more tenderness and flavor, according to BuzzFeed.
Wet brining a turkey is a huge nuisance. After you make a brine out of water, salt, sugar and seasoning, you need to find a huge pot that will hold the whole turkey, and then you need to figure out how you're going to keep that pot cold for no fewer than 12 hours.
One commonly used turkey brining method involves putting the huge bird in a brine bag and then surrounding it with ice, changing it out as it melts.
But here's the thing: considering all the hassle, wet brining does not work all that well.
BuzzFeed tested three different ways to flavor a turkey -- wet brined, dry brined, and not brined at all -- and cooked all three turkeys the same way.
After taste-testing, turns out that wet brined turkey was the worst of the bunch. It had very little flavor, was not particularly tender and the skin was rubbery. Tasters preferred the juicy, flavorful dry brined turkey by far.
Here is how you dry brine a turkey:
Combine 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Rub the mixture all over a 14 to 16 pound turkey. Try and get it over the skin, under the skin, and inside the cavity. Refrigerate uncovered for 8 to 16 hours. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry before roasting.
When you are ready to cook it, consider using Bon Appetit's dry brined turkey roasting recipe, which uses a quartered medium onion, a halved head of garlic, and 1-2 bunches of herbs. Instead of water, pour two cups of chicken broth into the pan for extra flavor and tenderness.