How to brine a turkey

Guarantee a moist bird

  • Leave a Comment
  • Max 5 stars
    0
    My Rating
    (0 Ratings)
Brining your turkey is a good way to guarantee your bird will be moist and delicious. Brining your own gives you control over the flavors you give the bird (and over the sodium content). And it's a lot easier than you think!

Brining a turkey before cooking it introduces extra moisture into the meat, protecting it against excess moisture loss as it cooks. You can add a variety of flavors to your brine, but a basic brine contains water, sugar and salt.

Brining a turkey

What you'll need:

  • 1 turkey
  • 2 large pots
  • 1 turkey-sized roasting bag
  • 1 roasting pan
  • Enough water or other liquid to cover the bird (about 4 quarts)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Any other ingredients you'd like to add to your brine

Directions:

  1. Completely thaw your turkey and remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. (Tip: make sure you don't purchase a kosher or self-basting turkey, which are already treated and will become too salty when brined.) 
  2. Rinse the turkey inside and out thoroughly, then pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Make your brine by bringing the liquid, salt, sugar and any other ingredients to a boil, then allow it to cool to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, place a roasting bag in a clean, empty pot, folding the edges over the outside of the pot.
  5. Place the turkey inside the bag and pour in the cooled liquid.
  6. Tie a loose knot to close the bag.
  7. Place the bagged turkey in the roasting pan and place the pan in the refrigerator.
  8. Allow it to marinate for 24 hours, then flip the bird to ensure all sides are equally marinated. If it seems like the top isn't getting properly marinated, open the bag once or twice to baste the top with the marinade.
  9. After another 24 hours, remove the turkey from the bag and discard the marinade.
  10. Rinse the turkey well again, inside and out, then prepare it for roasting as usual.

Try these turkey recipes

Herbed roasted turkey breast
Terrific roast turkey from Sandra Lee
De-boned: A new way to roast turkey

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix the Fish. You can follow her on Twitter @HireHeather.