Brining Turkeys – Brining and getting ready for that special Thanksgiving turkey meal. Some people are still asking how much food they should buy. Most important, how big a turkey do you need?
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person (depending on whether you want leftovers). Keep in mind that smaller birds have less meat, so you might want to go with that higher ratio.
How much stuffing should you make?
About 3/4 cup per person or per pound of turkey. Note: Not all of that stuffing will fit in the cavity if you are planning on stuffing the bird. You will have to cook some of it in a casserole separately from the bird.
How much gravy?
About 1/2 cup per person, which allows for leftovers.
You will need about 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat and 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour per cup of stock.
How much cranberry sauce?
About 1/3 cup per person.
What Is the Basic Formula for Brining a Turkey?
Two cups kosher salt for 2 gallons of water. You can add sugar (up to 2 cups) and various spices, as well. Heat the water with the salt, sugar and spices, if using, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let the brine cool and then pour it over the turkey in a large pot or in a heavy plastic bag. Let brine overnight or up to 12 hours, refrigerated. Drain, rinse well and dry well before roasting.
The benefit of brining? A moist, flavorful turkey.
The downside of brining? You need a large space in the fridge to put the turkey in the bag of liquid and the process is somewhat messy. The drippings will be too salty to use for gravy.
Don’t brine a kosher turkey; it already has been salted.