Turkey Brine and Injection Marinade

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 0 mins

I have been playing with this recipe for awhile, and I know it's is too late for the holidays this year, but there's always next year, and it's good for fried or smoked or barbecued turkey at any time of year. It's also good for chicken or a pork loin... just divide in half, or make a full batch and refrigerate half for next time. Prep time does not include 24+ hours brining time or cooking time.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. You will also need 1 Ice chest just large enough to hold the bird, brine, and ice (not too big, bird must be submerged) and 1 Brine injector (preferred), or a large (50+cc) hydodermic with large diameter needle.
  2. Stir salt and sugar into boiling water until completely dissolved.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except olive oil, and allow to set for at least 30 minutes for flavors to develop.
  4. Taste; brine will be very salty; that’s why it is called ‘brine’.
  5. Adjust any or all ingredients to your taste, keeping in mind that tastes should be quite assertive.
  6. Thoroughly blend everything in a food processor or blender.
  7. Whisk or blend in olive oil, and strain about half into a cup or bowl for injecting, returning all strained solids to the half to be used for brining.
  8. Thaw your turkey completely, if frozen.
  9. Better yet, get a fresh turkey that hasn’t been injected with all of the artificial quote ‘butter’ unquote stuff, so the only thing in the bird is what YOU put inside the bird!
  10. Remove and reserve the neck and innards for gravy making, or discard them if you are not a gravy freak.
  11. Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.
  12. Use a 2 ounce (about) brining injector or a BIG (50+ cc) ‘hypodeemic nerdle’ to inject the bird with the strained brine.
  13. Inject in at least 3-4 sites on each side of the breast, 2-3 in each thigh, and 2-3 into the meaty part of each drumsticks, pushing the needle in deep and injecting about 1/3 of the brine deep, pulling the needle back about a third, injecting another third of the brine, and repeating after pulling the needle back another third of its length.
  14. Pour any remaining injection-brine with the half to be used for brining.
  15. Place 1 bag of ice in the bottom of the ice chest, place the turkey on top, and pour all of the brine over the turkey.
  16. Dump the remaining bag of ice over the turkey, and add enough very cold water to just cover the bird.
  17. Slosh things around enough to combine the brine with the additional water, ice, and the turkey, and make sure the brine gets into the turkey cavity.
  18. Close the ice chest, and set in a cool place to marinate.
  19. After about 7-8 hours, turn the turkey over, top to bottom, and do it again after another 7-8 hours.
  20. Add more ice only if everything melts; don’t bother otherwise.
  21. After a total of at least 24 hours, you are ready to cook your bird any way you desire, stuffed or not stuffed, roasted, fried, nuked, whatever.
  22. Just be sure to drain the turkey well and pat it dry before cooking by your desired method.
  23. Throw away all of the brine, remaining ice, etc.
  24. ,and thoroughly wash your ice chest before using it for more legitimate purposes, such as storing beer and wine to go with your ‘wonnerful’ turkey dinner.
  25. Notes: This marinade/brine can also be used for chicken or pork-- just half the recipe, and follow the general instructions using smaller amounts-- or make a full recipe of the brine/marinade and save half in the fridge for next time.
  26. If you are lucky enough to actually have a fridge large enough and empty enough to hold a turkey for a day or so, forget the ice chest and most of the ice, and brine your bird in a plastic bag large enough to hold the bird and brine, squeezing out all of the air, and just turn it over every 7-8 hours so things marinate evenly.
Most Helpful

3 5

I didn't use all the ingredients listed, so it would be hard for me to rate this fairly. Author did not like my no rating comment and e-mailed me accordingly. I asked our host (Recipezaar) if a comment could be retracted. They replied that it could be replaced... Therefore...I didn't use cardamom or ginger. I didn't use kosher salt or balsamic vinegar or white wine Worcestershire sauce. I didn't measure anything exactly...it gets thrown out anyway...I didn't inject the bird with anything, I just let it soak for many hours. It was a very moist turkey. We liked the flavor and it was great for sandwiches. However, any turkey that is brined is usually moist and flavorful. I liked this recipe, but next time will use #127606. (feel free to say this review was not helpful...)

5 5

I have been using this recipe to inject my tiurkeys before frying them since 2008. Everyone who has eaten my turkey has always raved about it. I use half of the ingredients called forin the recipe. I substitute the white balsalmic vinegar with regular balsamic vinegar and white Worcestershire sauce for regular. I don not use the Cardamon. this Thanksgiving, I used all ground spices and and substituted the garlic for garlic powder and the onion for onion powder. This made injecting alot easier. I usually inject my turkeys 24 hours prior to frying. Thanks for sharing!

5 5

Absolutely Awesome! This was by far the best turkey I've ever had. I've been making turkey's for Thanksgiving for 25 years and this tops the list. A little more work ahead of time, but well worth it. I let the bird marinate for 48 hours. Perfectly tender, not a dry bite in the whole bird!

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