Place the water in a large pot that can easily hold the liquid and the meat you intend to brine.
Add all the ingredients and stir for a minute or so until the sugar and salt dissolve.
Refrigerate poultry in the brine for 24 hours; pork for 3 days. If the meat floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine.
To cook chicken: Stuff the cavity with onions, lemon wedges, and herbs such as thyme, parsley, and rosemary. Rub the skin with oil to help browning. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. (Salt isn't needed because of the brine.) Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven until done, about 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 3-1/2 to 4-pound chicken.
To cook turkey: Stuff the cavity with lemons, herbs, and onions, if desired. Rub the skin with oil and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Cook uncovered in a 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes per pound until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh registers at least 165 degrees.
To cook a boneless pork roast: Sprinkle the roast with pepper and herbs such as sage, thyme, or tarragon, if desired. Roast uncovered in a 400-degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 150 to 160 degrees.