Tune in for Success With Kosher Turkey Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an odd holiday for a variety of reasons, and this whole turkey story may be the strangest. As evidenced by the thousands of recipes that urge you to brine, grate, soak, smoke, or even fry the ritual bird in the name of better palatability, turkey is a protein that requires a lot of persuasion. Simplest solution: just buy a kosher turkey and get on with your life.

What makes a turkey kosher? There are several explanations (some are longer than others), but here I will focus on a short one: kosher turkeys are slaughtered quickly and humanely , washed only in cold water, thoroughly salted and rinsed to drain off any remaining blood. Cold water keeps meat fresh during cleaning and processing, but salting is a key step. As any cook worthy of their salt knows (I’m sorry), increasing the sodium content of meat helps it retain moisture during cooking, especially if it’s frozen, as almost all turkeys do. Plus, to state the obvious, salt makes food taste good.

Natural turkey proponents insist that kosher turkey is too salty, but honestly, I don’t buy this. The soak and rinse process is specially designed to remove almost all of the salt, so you can brine, grate, smoke, or roast kosher poultry as much as you like. But you don’t have to do all of this if you really don’t want to, because kosher turkey will only taste juicy and delicious with olive oil (or butter if you’re not kosher) and salt. If you’re used to mass-produced butter balls or free-range birds, consider buying a kosher turkey this year; I think you will be pleasantly surprised.


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