Maybe you remember the Great Brine Incident of 2012. But just in case you don’t, let me refresh:
It was the first time I was making Thanksgiving dinner in my own home. My parents were due in town and I had pre-ordered and picked up a much-too-big turkey from an Amish farm. Having done some research online, I understood that I should sugar/saline-brine my turkey in a container large enough to submerge it in the bath and cover by at least another inch. Owning no such vessel, I probed further online and learned about brining bags — these giant, heavy-duty ziplock bags designed to contain both bird and bath and sit on a shelf in the fridge.
I mixed the solution, took all the bagged things out of the cavity of my giant turkey, plucked the remaining feathers out of it (such is the way with a fresh local turkey) and got it into the bag, sealed, and in the refrigerator.
Later, when my whole family was asleep and my house was blissfully silent, I attempted to turn the brining bag over (in order to evenly soak) one last time before bed. Maybe by now you can see where this is headed. Somehow, in the process of turning the bag, the zip-lock burst open, exploding sugary sticky raw turkey juice all over me, the floor, the refrigerator, and everything in it.
Suffice it to say that I made the decision in that moment never to brine a turkey again. And, between travel to Boston and choosing to roast chicken instead, I haven’t. This year, though, armed with new information, I am braving the big fowl again.
What new information could I possibly have that would change my mind? Two words: Dry. Brine.
This year, I am trying a dry brine. The internets swear that this kosher salt and baking powder rub will yield a juicy bird with crispy skin and won’t flood my fridge in the meantime, so I’m game. I spent the afternoon today picking up my pre-ordered Black Heritage farm share turkey, patting all of its moist parts dry, delivering the salt rub under and on the skin, and otherwise prepping it to sit for two days.
Anyway. So that’s where we are. My fridge is full up with dry brined poultry (we’ve named him Mort and greet him every time we go in for a snack or a drink) and I have touched more raw bird today than I really need to ever again. I’m ready for Thursday. Bring it.