Brined and Bagged Wild Turkey

Brine can be a simple mixture of salt and water. The meat is then placed in the brine for 4 to 12 hours, refrigerated. Most hunters find a cooler to be the easiest way to brine. Ice can be added to the cooler or to the brine to keep it cool enough during the brining process. It is important to thoroughly rinse the turkey after it is brined so that the saltiness doesn't overpower the meat.

  • Place 2 or 3 buckets of ice in the bottom of a large cooler. Place turkey in a large plastic bag (like a garbage sack) and set on top of the ice. Pour the brine into the bag and close with a twist tie. Add more ice as needed to keep cool, and brine for 8 to 12 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the stuffing loosely in a large stuffing bag.

  • Remove turkey from the brine; rinse thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Lightly coat turkey with olive oil. Place the stuffing bag in the cavity of the turkey. Any additional stuffing that doesn't fit can be baked in a casserole dish as per the stuffing recipe.

  • Follow the directions on a large roasting bag and place stuffed turkey in the floured bag. Place bagged turkey in a roasting pan and secure the tie. Cut six ½-inch slits in the top of the bag. Place in the oven and cook for 2½ hours.

  • Remove from oven and slit open roasting bag then pull stuffing bag out of the turkey. Let turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Stuffing Bags

Stuffing bags are available at gourmet shops and some grocery stores. They are practical and neat. The bag is made of cheesecloth. It comes with directions. Place the stuffing mixture into the bag. Push the bag into the cavity of the turkey. Make sure it is not too tight because this is where the spread of bacteria is a problem. If it is loose, it will cook more evenly. Pull the bag out when the turkey is done. Turn the bag inside out and the stuffing goes right into the serving bowl.

Serves 6 to 8

1 (10- to 12-pound) whole wild turkey

Lemon Brine for Big Game (page 24)

Corn Bread and Italian Sausage Stuffing (page 256)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large stuffing bag

1 large oven roasting bag

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