This extra step is simple—and the payoffs are big.

Nothing’s worse than a dry piece of meat. Brining, or submerging in a saltwater bath, allows any lean type of poutry or pork (like a whole chicken or pork chops) to absorb extra moisture while raw so it won’t dry out during cooking. And because the water is seasoned, it flavors the meat from the inside. Here’s how to do it: How to Brine a Turkey

Ready for an extra credit step? Citrus peel, fennel, chilies, fresh herbs and spices (like cumin, coriander, star anise, and cinnamon sticks), can subtly flavor the meat. Add one or two to the brine along with the bay leaf and the peppercorns.