How to Brine a Turkey
A simple brine can take your turkey from standard to spectacular.
The best way to create a moist and tender turkey is by using a brine. Soaking your turkey in a salt-and-water solution for several hours helps the meat hold moisture while cooking. You'll get a juicy turkey every time.
Not prepping a big feast? Brining works great on whole chickens too.
Gather the Ingredients
What you'll need: 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, three teaspoons of peppercorns, two oranges, three teaspoons of dried thyme, three teaspoons of dried basil, 1 1/2 gallons of water and, of course, your turkey.
Prepare the Brine
Combine all the ingredients except your turkey in a large stockpot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool.
Don't brine turkeys labeled kosher or prebasted. They've already been seasoned with a salt solution, and brining them again may make your turkey too salty.
Rinse & Let the Turkey Rest
If previously frozen, make sure your turkey is completely thawed. Remove the giblets from the cavity and rinse the inside and outside of the turkey in cold water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and the submerge it in the brine. Use a container that's large enough to hold the turkey but small enough for your fridge. Or place the turkey and brine in a brining bag, making sure to squeezing out excess air.
Refrigerate your brining turkey for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. When it's done, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat it dry with paper towels and now it's ready to roast.
Find more helpful How-Tos here »
Plus: Get the full recipe for this turkey brine »
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