Brine Like a Boss
Earn lots of wows for just a little work. Brining — soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution for 4 to 24 hours before roasting — results in a tender juicy bird. A big turkey in a big pot of water can get heavy and take up a lot of refrigerator space, so think twice about the logistics before brining a bird around 20 pounds or more.
How to Brine
- Choose a brine recipe or purchase a brining mix.
- Find a container large enough to submerge your turkey in; check to make sure it fits in your refrigerator.
- Unwrap your fresh or thawed turkey and remove the giblets.
- Place turkey in container and pour in enough cooled brining solution to completely cover it.
- If turkey floats to the surface, place a heavy plate or lid on top.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; the liquid must stay at or below 40°F for safety.
- Remove turkey from brine and pat until thoroughly dry. Discard brine.
Recipe for Success
It’s easy: 1 cup of kosher salt and 1⁄2 a cup of sugar for every gallon of water. A handful of herbs, spices and citrus peels in the brining solution gives it your signature twist. Start with our simple and adaptable basic brine recipe.
- Containers must be cleaned and sanitized both before and after brining.
- If you prefer to brine overnight, reduce the salt by about half or your finished bird may be too salty.
- Don’t stuff a brined bird; the stuffing will be too salty.
- Brining will produce salty pan juices. If making gravy with them, be sure to use low-sodium broth.
- Hold the salt! Don’t brine kosher turkeys. They’ve already been salted, so brining will yield an overly salty bird.