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How to Brine a Turkey

To brine a turkey means to enhance the flavor of a roasted turkey by soaking it in a mixture of salt and water, and seasonings. The roasted turkey is left in the saltwater solution for a night. The salt alters the muscle structure of the meat, due to which the meat absorbs the flavorings put in the solution.

In order to brine a turkey, the first thing you will need is a large container, so that the turkey gets accommodated comfortably inside it along with the brine solution. The container should be big enough to fit inside a refrigerator. You may use a stock pot or a bucket for the purpose. If you are using a smaller container, then be sure to constantly turn the turkey inside it to make sure all the sides get immersed in the brine.


  • 1 cup of table salt
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup of sugar (optional)
  • Seasonings (as per your preference)


  1. Before you brine the turkey, make sure it is completely thawed and cleaned. It is better to use a fresh turkey instead of a self-basting or kosher turkey. This is because both the self-basting and kosher turkeys have a somewhat salty stock. Brining these two kinds of turkey would only make the meat even more salty, and therefore, difficult to eat.
  2. In order to make the brine, mix 1 cup of table salt into 1 gallon of water. Dissolve well. You can add some sugar to the brine if you want. Apart from sugar, you can also use honey or brown molasses to sweeten the brine. The sweet taste counterbalances the salty flavor of the brine. You may also add seasonings that you like. For instance, if you like the brine to be spicy, you may add cayenne pepper to the solution; or for aromatic brine, you can put garlic and herbs in the brine solution.
  3. Once the brine solution is ready, pour it liberally over the turkey meat in the container. Place the container inside the refrigerator. If you do not have enough space inside your refrigerator for the container, you can even place it inside a cooler. The turkey should be soaked in the brine for about 1 hour per pound of turkey. Therefore, make sure that the meat is not over brined. The turkey should be soaked in the brine at least overnight.
  4. Before starting to cook the turkey, remove the brine from the meat by cleaning it with cold water.

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