Basic All Purpose Brine for Meats, Chicken, and Turkey

Total Time
3hrs 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 3 hrs

I like the combination of flavors in this brine more than any other I have tried.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Makes 1 quart- make up additional amounts of brine if needed until meat is submerged.
  2. Stir ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Continue stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Place meat or poultry in a food safe plastic bag inside another container for support and leakage control (oven roasting bags are a fine choice- NOT garbage bags).
  6. Pour cooled brine into bag, and squeeze out as much air as possible and seal with a twistie tie.
  7. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours for 3 pounds meat (such as pork ribs), 5-6 hours for a nice roasting hen, or 12-24 hours for a turkey, 12 hours being for a small one and the longer time for those turkeys around 20+ pounds.
  8. Discard brine before using and pat meat dry.
  9. If using poultry, you may want to add citrus fruit such as oranges or lemons, additional fresh herbs, or cloves of garlic into the cavity.
  10. Prepare meat as desired- roast, bbq, etc.


Most Helpful

I had never brined a chicken before and this was so quick and easy! We've done it several times, both grilling and oven roasting the chicken and it comes out great every time!. I did it per the recipe the first time but now I smash the garlic rather than slice it and I used 1/4 c of regular table salt rather than the kosher. I also only use 2 cups of water but then I added lots of ice to bring it up to 4 cups to cool it off faster. Next time I am going to sub 1 cup of apple juice. Thanks so much!

mandymershon November 21, 2010

We love this brine!!! It's easy to put together and uses ingredients almost anyone would have in their pantry. I cut back a little on the salt since the first time I made it, my BF said it was a little salty. And he loves to salt everything on his plate!!! I love the thyme in this brine... really enhances the chicken, without overpowering it, like rosemary does in some brines. Making sure the chicken is completely dry is the key to nice crispy golden skin when baking... I like to brush a little olive oil on top and it always comes out golden and so delicious!!! Thanks for a keeper!!!

atlfitgirl April 11, 2008

We used this to brine 4 large chicken breasts that we smoked using mesquite chips and our Smokenator. Even though we used boneless skinless breasts, this brine added wonderful flavor and kept the meat very moist. I will definitely use this again!

under12parsecs July 17, 2011

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