How to Season a Turkey With Salt & Not Much Else

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There's nothing worse than bland turkey on Thanksgiving. There, we said it. The antidote to blandness? Salt, of course.

It seems obvious, but whether you go the route of fancy compound butters and fresh herbs and citrus and spices—which are all lovely ways to make your turkey, well, yours—the only molecules small enough to actually penetrate the meat of the bird is salt. As The Food Lab's J. Kenji López-Alt says, “Most … flavorful molecules are organic compounds that are relatively large in size—on a molecular scale, that is—while salt molecules are quite small. So, while salt can easily pass across the semipermeable membranes that make up the cells in animal tissue, larger molecules cannot.” So what does all of this mean for home cooks? Well, it’s not as easy to add flavor to a Thanksgiving turkey as you may expect (if you’ve ever cooked turkey for Thanksgiving, then you already know this to be true).

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