Help! What Are Your Best Tips for Cooking a Moist and Tender Turkey for Thanksgiving?

published Nov 27, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Lauren Volo

From Kitchn’s Reddit AMA: What’s the best way to make sure the turkey stays moist and tender all the way through for Thanksgiving?

Chris: Brine brine brine brine brine!

Kelli: Yes, to brining! It always feels like such a pain (wet brining) when doing it and takes up so much space, but so worth it always.

Meghan: Team dry brine here!

Faith: But what if you ran out of time? What is the MINIMAL amount of time you can brine and still make it count?

Meghan: One of the reasons I love a dry brine is that you can do it the morning of, too!

Sheela: Perhaps if you don’t have time, you should just wrap it in… bacon?!?

Meghan: Oh yes, Sheela, I forgot about that gem!

Kelli: I’m also a HUGE fan of rubbing compound butter between the skin and flesh of the turkey, which also adds extra flavor.

Chris: Dry brine is great — and saves some space. But wet brine is probably more sure-fire? I think even a few hours of brining can be worth it. And you can brine while it’s thawing! But if it needs to go in the oven and you haven’t brined, then I have a controversial suggestion…

Arie: Bring it!

Chris: Spatchcock. Or better yet, cut the turkey into parts: Breast, legs, all separate. Then roast and pull each out when they hit 165°F. Moist and tender, not at all dry Of course, you don’t get the carve-able bird. But that may matter less when everyone is filling up their plates and going to town. I would like to note, also, that I am not alone in this position.

Arie: I like this take!

Lauren Masur: My parents fight every year because my dad waits for the little plastic popper which is always defective. I recommend investing in a Thermapen.

Faith: That’s so funny!

Christine: Chiming in late here, but I would say spatchcocking, especially the way we do it in two pieces on the site — means you don’t overcook!

Chris: Yessss…

Reader: Your turn!

Do you have any ingenious ideas for keeping a bird from becoming bone-dry? Let us know in the comments!

Welcome to “Ask Kitchn,” where our editors put their heads together and answer reader questions. While we can’t answer every email, we thought it would be fun to let you into our team chat a couple of times a month. Want to ask us something? Email