Brining a Turkey

Andy Anderson ! Recipe

By Andy Anderson ! WichitaChef

Prep Time:
No-Cook or Other

Brining a turkey is not rocket science, but it does help to make for a moist, tasty bird. The biggest mistake people make in the brining process, is not leaving it in the brine solution long enough.

So, lets brine us a turkey, and get ready for the holidays.


2 gal
filtered water
1/2 gal
filtered apple juice
2 c
kosher salt
1 c
granulated sugar
1 medium
lemon, quartered
1 medium
orange, quartered
bay leaves, torn into pieces
6 sprig(s)
fresh thyme
6 clove
garlic, peeled, and slightly smashed
allspice berries, smashed
peppercorns, smashed

Directions Step-By-Step

Using a large non-reactive pot, add the water and apple juice.

Chef's Note: I usually use this pot to hold the turkey during the brining process, so it has to be large enough for the ingredients, and the bird.
Add the remaining ingredients, but not the turkey, and bring the mixture up to a light simmer.

Immediately, remove from heat, and stir until all the salt and sugars are absorbed into the liquid.

Cover, and allow to come to room temperature. This will allow the peppercorns, berries, lemon, orange, and thyme a chance to steep in the liquid (kinda like making tea).
Once at room temperature, place the pot into the fridge, and let it cool down completely.
Chef's Note: Not everyone has enough room in the fridge for a pot of this size; especially, with all the other Thanksgiving goodies and side dishes.

Once the liquid is brought down to room temperature; instead of putting the pot into the fridge, you can always transfer it to a brining bag. You can get brining bags just about anywhere... My favorite ones come from Williams-Sonoma.
Place the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Chef's Note: As long as the turkey is fully submerged into the brining liquid, it's not necessary to do anything... just let the brine solution do its thing.
Once the turkey has been properly brined, remove from the brine solution, and throughly rinse... inside and out.
Chef's Note: I like my birds to air dry in the fridge, overnight before I prep them for the oven. This helps to give the turkey a crisper skin. So here's my schedule:

Tuesday Morning: 8:00am - Make the brine, and allow to cool, place in the fridge, and allow to get nice and cold.

Tuesday Afternoon: 3:00pm - Put turkey into the brine, and place into the fridge for 24 hours.

Wednesday Afternoon: 3:00pm - Remove turkey from brine, rinse, and pat dry. Place into the fridge, and allow to air dry overnight.

Thursday Morning: Remove from fridge, and get to work...
Chef's Note: Before brining, remove the giblets, and the neck... we're going to use those to make some excellent turkey gravy.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Main Dishes
Main Ingredient: Turkey
Regional Style: American

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Linda Kauppinen cyrene
Oct 9, 2013
Ok that would work! Thanks Andy!! I usually do not add salt to my cooking if she is coming for dinner. But I will be using the Kosher salt for the brine. I will definitely try halving the salt! Thanks again Andy!!
Andy Anderson ! WichitaChef
Oct 9, 2013
But, if you're concerned about the salt content... since it will be in the brine solution for 24 hours... you could halve the salt, and still get good results.

And when I say 5 to 10 percent that's above the normal amount that would have already been in the turkey....
Andy Anderson ! WichitaChef
Oct 9, 2013
Well, kosher salt is twice a big as regular table salt... so if you are using table salt then half the salt. The main purpose of the salt, is to raise the specific density of the water surrounding the turkey, and cause the semi-permeable membranes of the cells in the turkey to absorb more of the surrounding water. But the salt content of the turkey will be increased by several percentage points... 5 to 10 percent.

This will also increase the salt content of the pan drippings, so I compensate by making sure that I don't add any extra salt when making the gravy.
Linda Kauppinen cyrene
Oct 9, 2013
Andy I have a question. I was telling my mother that we were going to do something new this year and that was brining the turkey your way. She is concerned about the amount of salt and wanted me to ask if it has a high salt content after the brining. :)