A salt water brine changes the cellular structure of the turkey and allows it to both hold in the moisture, as well as pull the seasonings deep into the meat. It's actually a very simple process that will yield beautiful and delicious results. My mom told me how good Alton's recipe was and that she was going to repeat it again this year. I decided to try it myself. It's, hands-down, the best roasted turkey we've ever had. The brine and aromatics create an amazing symphony of flavors that starts with the aroma of making the brine and follows right through to the rich, full gravy. I've also used this recipe on a whole fresh chicken by halving the recipe and adjusting the cooking times.