Basting a turkey sounds like a good idea in theory, but Alton Brown told NPR that he believes basting is unnecessary. The “Good Eats” star revealed to the media outlet that basting is a waste of time because it only adds flavor to the skin and does not keep the bird juicy. Additionally, every time you open the oven door to baste the skin, you are allowing heat to escape, so your turkey will take longer to cook and possibly dry out. So if basting isn’t the answer, how do you get your turkey moist and rich in flavor?
Epicurious explains that brining and salting your turkey is the way to go because you really don’t want to add more moisture to your bird, you want to remove it. The food site goes on to share that when you allow the skin of the turkey to dry, it creates a crispy layer that protects the juicy meat underneath. Brown concurs and told NPR, “Brining definitely adds a lot of juiciness, moistness and it protects against overcooking a great deal because it kind of changes the cellular makeup of the meat and superloads it with moisture.” So, this Thanksgiving, skip the basting and try brining instead.