'Tis the season for trying your hand at cooking turkey, and if you aren't terribly experienced, then you might want to seek out some assistance before the entire family takes a seat around your table. Sure, a cookbook would probably do the trick, and you've probably got plenty of loved ones who would love to offer guidance -- but why not just ask Alexa?
Now, thanks to Morton Salt's new "Morton Brine Time" skill for the popular virtual assistant, you can.
To enable it, search for Morton Brine Time in the skills section of the Alexa app, or just say, "Alexa, enable Morton Brine Time," which is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to say out loud when you're alone in your kitchen. With the skill enabled, Alexa will be able to answer common brining questions, or even walk you through a recipe step by step, including recipes from celebrity chef Richard Blais.
"Brining a turkey with kosher salt helps ensure a juicy, flavor-packed bird," Blais says in the press release before going on to lavish praise on how well Morton salt dissolves in water.
Examples of commands you can give include, "Alexa, ask Morton Brine Time why I should brine," and "Alexa, ask Morton Brine Time for a wet brine recipe," though I started just by saying, "Alexa, open Morton Brine Time." From there, Alexa was off to the races, asking me how big my turkey was and whether I wanted to try a wet or a dry brine. I told her I had no idea, and she explained the virtues of each method. Immediately more informed, I told her I wanted to try a wet brine.
From there, she offered me a choice between a basic brine and a more involved brine from Chef Blais that adds in some Chinese flavor. I threw caution to the wind and told Alexa that my imaginary turkey deserved the fanciest of Chinese brines. "Ah, a budding gourmet," she replied before sending the recipe to my Alexa app and offering to read through the steps with me.
It was a surprisingly smooth experience, and actually one of the more robust conversations I've had with Alexa in recent memory, despite it being largely one-sided. If you're a clueless cook who just wants someone to tell you what to do, I could see the appeal. Morton clearly wants to sell a bunch of salt next week, but hey, kudos for picking a promotion that's actually somewhat useful.
And honestly, I'm just shocked that Morton beat Butterball to the punch.
9 things Alexa can't yet do: Our wishlist of features Amazon needs to add to its smart assistant.
CNET Smart Home: We transformed a real house into a test lab for the hottest category in tech.