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In November it seems like the typical chit-chat of pleasantries changes to a near integration on how one prepares their turkey. I think in the past week I’ve been asked this question at least a dozen times with half of that by complete strangers while standing in line at various locations, like the grocery store or coffee shop.

Here’s the skinny on our turkey: after a 24-hour brine bath (starts on Tuesday night!), sitting in the fridge overnight to air out (Wednesday night), then roasted on the grill until the perfect internal temperature of 165º is reached (Thursday afternoon), an amazingly juicy turkey will sit on a carving board. And as if the turkey and grill are in cahoots, this method frees up space in the oven thus I no longer am playing Tetris with baking dishes and a roasting pan in my oven.

Here’s some tips worth passing on:

  • Find a simple brine recipe that will make enough for your bird. Usually a recipe will note a turkey pound range, such as 16-25 lbs. My favorite is the Honey & Allspice Brine recipe in The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan – super simple and tasty. Follow the recipe and allow time for your brine to cool since you don’t want to poach the bird.
  • If you’re brining in a bag make sure you have two brine bags and a large roasting pan. Trust me on this: double-bag the bird and then place it in a roasting pan. Don’t underestimate the mess a leaky bag will cause in your fridge and on the floor.
  • If you’re brining in a pot, test the space needed before filling the pot with the turkey and brine (it’s really heavy!). Move what you will need to make sure it will fit, which might include moving a shelf and condiments for a few days. Also important: make sure your bird will fit in said pot.
  • Once your bird has enjoyed its 12 to 24-hour brine bath, rinse it off and pat it dry. Place your bird in a roasting pan and then put it back in the fridge overnight. This helps dry the skin, which will help the skin get crispy as it’s cooked.
  • If you’re grilling your bird, these are the best instructions we’ve found thus far to prep the grill. Pull your bird out of the fridge and set it on counter (not on the stove) to help it come to room temp before roasting it (this helps it cook evenly). Before it’s placed on the grill, I rub kosher salt throughout the cavity. To make this easy I have two small bowls prepped with a cup of kosher salt in each one to prevent having to touch anything while handling the turkey. The bowls fit easily in the cavity opening making it easier to pour the salt.
  • Lastly it’s best to use an aluminum roasting tray if you’re grilling. You’ll also need a Plan B for the gravy since you may not want what’s on the bottom of the tray as drippings.

Hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving with loved ones!

{image via bon appétit}

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