Do you need to baste your Thanksgiving turkey but realized that you don’t have a baster on hand? Oh-uh! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
First, let’s back up a bit. What is basting, exactly? Basting is defined as moistening the skin of a meat, in this case a turkey, with juices or melted fat. Basting is done throughout the cooking process—ideally every 30 minutes or less until the turkey is fully cooked. Remove the turkey from the oven and close the oven door each time, as you don’t want heat to escape the oven (nor do you want to burn yourself).
Ideally, you’ll have a bulb turkey baster or a basting brush on hand to make the process easier. The bulb baster sucks the turkey drippings into the bulb so you can easily squeeze the juices back onto the turkey. A basting brush also comes in handy to spread the butter, fat or marinade evenly onto the turkey.
If you find yourself without either of these items, though, there is no need to worry. Here are 5 ways to baste a turkey without a baster
Tip 1: Use a measuring cup
Scoop the turkey drippings with a measuring cup out from the pan and pour it back onto the turkey. Though this can be a tad messier, it gets the job done just as well.
Tip 2: Use a spoon
Dip your spoon into the melted butter, marinade or turkey drippings and pour back on top of the turkey. This process will take longer than with a measuring cup, but still works just the same.
Tip 3: Bake the turkey in a roasting bag
Using a roasting bag to cook your turkey will eliminate the need to baste it, as the bag magically does it for you by keeping the turkey extra moist. In fact, opening the bag during the cooking process will cause your turkey to lose the moisture that’s been built up by the bag—so keep it sealed tightly!
Tip 4: Use a paintbrush
Paintbrushes act just like a basting brush would—simply dip the paintbrush into the liquid and spread evenly over the turkey. Though it isn’t what the pros do, the end result tastes exactly the same. Just be sure none of the bristles fall off onto the turkey, yuck!
Tip 5: Brine your turkey
Basting the turkey keeps it juicy and moist, but it’s not the only way. Brining works just as well, if not better. To brine your turkey, soak it in a mixture of water and salt (and any other seasonings or herbs of your liking) for a minimum of four hours in the refrigerator. For best results, soak the turkey in the brine overnight. The salt helps increase the amount of liquid inside the turkey’s cells, making the final product incredibly moist and delicious without having to worry about basting.