A turkey burner is one of those single-use kitchen items that most people only need once or twice a year (although you can use it for a few other things). You never seem to miss one until the holiday is over and it's time to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. But do you really need a baster to end up on a moist, delicious bird? The short answer is no .
What does a Turkey baster even do?
The main purpose of a baster is to ensure that the turkey does not become too dry. As The Kitchn explains, the fat in the pan drops melts in the skin of the turkey, so that it is flavored and remains moist and juicy. It also helps to prevent the skin and meat closest to the outside from boiling too quickly because the liquid cools the surface while evaporating in the heat from the oven.
But stringing is not the only way to keep your turkey moist, and a baster is certainly not the only tool you can use to keep it to do. Here are a few alternatives if you don't want to go out and buy one.
The same job, different utensil
Basting only means that the drops are distributed on the skin of the turkey, so who says you need a special tool to do it? Just about anything that holds fluid will work. You can use a large spoon, a ladle, a brush or even a mug with a handle to pour the juice over your bird.
Brine Your Turkey
Brine is a beautiful term for a saltwater solution. The other ingredients vary depending on the tastes you want, but salt water is always the basis. Pickling makes the meat juicier by increasing the amount of fluid in the cells. It is easy to do, but the bird must hang in the brine for at least a few hours (ideally & night), so you must plan ahead.
The most challenging part of pickling a turkey is finding a container large enough to hold it. Depending on the size, you can use a large, lockable plastic bag, a cool box, bucket or even your sink. Some turkeys are already pickled, so read the label carefully to make sure you don't end up with a super-salt bird.
You can find more information about the process and tons of brine recipes here.
Download a Smaller Bird
The larger your turkey, the greater the chance that it will dry out. Because most turkeys are nevertheless sold by the pound, it might be better to buy two smaller birds instead of a large one. If you go with a smaller turkey, you can simply rub oil or butter over the skin or even drape a few pieces of bacon over the chest to keep it moist instead of basting.
With spatchcocking or removing the backbone of your turkey, the bird can lie flat and the whole skin becomes visible, making it more crispy. It also helps the turkey more or less to baste itself, because the fat drips from the skin over the meat while it is cooking. Plus, a chalky turkey cooks in about half the time of a whole, so what's not to love?
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