Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

brining a turkey

★★★★★ 1
a recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

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.

★★★★★ 1
method No-Cook or Other

Ingredients For brining a turkey

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

How To Make brining a turkey

  • 1
    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.
  • 2
    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).
  • 3
    Once at room temperature, place the pot into the fridge, and let it cool down completely.
  • 4
    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.
  • 5
    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.
  • 6
    Once the turkey has been properly brined, remove from the brine solution, and throughly rinse... inside and out.
  • 7
    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...
  • 8
    Chef's Note: Before brining, remove the giblets, and the neck... we're going to use those to make some excellent turkey gravy.