Whether you’re making your first turkey for Thanksgiving or your hundredth, here's a recipe for the moistest, juiciest bird you’ll ever eat. It'll take some planning ahead of time. It’s called brining, where you soak the bird in a salt marinade for 24 hours before you roast it.

Wine First

Before you start, be sure to pour yourself a glass of wine. It's the only way to kick off the holiday cooking. Remove the giblets and neck from the inside of your thawed bird before creating the brine.

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Brine Ingredients:

12 cups water, divided
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sage
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons rosemary
1 tablespoon pepper
4 cups ice

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Make Brine

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Take a sip or two of your wine (or other adult beverage) while waiting for it to bubble.

Add salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. If you're good, you can stir with one hand and sip with the other.

Turn off the heat and stir in 8 cups cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and ice.

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Brine the Bird

Cover the turkey with the brine in a large soup pot bigger than the bird and cover it with a lid. Allow the turkey to marinate for 12 hours for a small turkey (8-10 lbs) and up to a full day for a bigger bird.

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Bag the Bird

If you don’t have a pot big enough, put the bird in a large bag with the brine, tie the top, and put it in the fridge fruit drawer. Make sure nothing else is in there and put down paper towels in case it leaks. You’ll need to wash the drawer when you’re done.

Pour yourself another glass of wine to celebrate and brine well made.

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Rinse & Roast

When you're ready to roast the next day, just rinse the bird and pat dry before adding additional seasoning, butter, or oil. Cook at 375 for 20-30 minutes per pound.

Add a bottle of wine, green bean casserole, garlic mashed red potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert, and your holiday meal is complete.

Once you brine your bird you won’t ever make a turkey without it again.  And the leftovers don’t last long. It tastes even better the next day between two pieces of bread with mustard and pepper, or however, you eat your leftovers.

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Gallery Credit: Vinnie Martone

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