How to Brine a Ginormous Turkey

"This is an easy overnight brine for your Big Bird or even a couple of smaller birds. The secret is your picnic cooler. Cook time is brine time. If you are brining a chicken reduce the brine time to 2 - 4 hours. I don't add spices to the brine at all since I don't want to mask the flavor of the bird but if you want to add molasses or brown sugar it would be great! This works on any poultry."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
8hrs 15mins
1 turkey


  • 1 (10 lb) bag ice (more or less)
  • 2 gallons water (filtered and chlorine free)
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 turkey, any size that fits into your cooler

  • 12 cup soy sauce
  • 12 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups apple juice


  • Line a big picnic cooler with a food grade plastic bag.
  • Boil water and salt together until all salt is dissolved and cool in fridge several hours.
  • Wash turkey inside and out and place into cooler. Add your optional add-ins to the cooled brine and cover turkey with ice and pour brine over all. Let turkey brine overnight making sure the cooler stays closed and adding ice if needed.
  • Rinse bird and continue with your recipe . Your turkey will be moist, flavorful and tender!

Questions & Replies

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  1. What a great idea!! I wish I had read this tip 2 years ago when I had a 22 lb turkey to brine. I could barely fit the stupid thing in the sink to rinse it. I'm not having Thanksgiving here this year, but I'll definitely keep this handy for the next time. Thanks!!
  2. We buy a 20-23 lb turkey every year, the more leftovers the better! A $7.00 home depot bucket is the perfect "brining bucket"! We have an extra fridge for storage, so don't have to worry about keeping it cold.... The recipe above is great, I prefer a bit more savory to the sweet, so I added in a couple heads of garlic, tbls red pepper flake and black peppercorns, bay leaves and fresh herbs; Rosemary, thyme & oregano. Rotisserie the bird for ~3 hours, and it's moistest turkey you've ever tasted!


Hello Zaars and Zaarinas! Thank all of you who tried my 'memory' recipes and left such nice reviews and for taking such lovely pictures. I do appreciate your comments. My pet peeves about cooking are recipe reviews where the reviewer says, "I made the recipe exactly as written EXCEPT yada yada yada" and I don't like suggestive names or titles such as, "Better Than Sex". I don't know why anyone would eat anything that is 'sinful' or 'decadent' since decadent is described as being decaying. Also, PAP-RI-KA only has 3 syllables. VINAIGRETTE is pronounced vin-a-grette, not vinager-ette. It's mas-car-pone not mars-ca-pone. And I don't like cutesy adult baby talk,,, or metro chic names like delish, nutrish, yummo, sammy, BAM! Oh well, I make as many, or more, faux pas as the next guy especially in ASL! Things that crack me up are: DH Fred from Nick, my nephew Fish and Poi song as performed by PoiBoi My possum recipe per the song on wow this is good! my Doggie Little Yellow Petey Bird on youtube My BFF's. all of them and there are so many! and my little Sister Mary Beth. She has MS and Lupus and a great attitude. <img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"> <img src="">
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