I think we are all thinking about that big meal we are going to eat at the end of the month. And the turkey is the guy in the spotlight. So ditch that dry bird and trade it in for a tender moist highlight of the meal like it should be with our easy turkey brine recipe.
How do you get your turkey tender and moist? Brining of course! Brining is marinating and adding moisture to you bird before it is cooked. So you can go from the photo above – to the finished product below.
A brine is simply a salt water soak. But I like to add in a few other flavors to season my turkey. I like to add peppercorn, lemons, oranges, bay, sage, rosemary, thyme, and apple to my brine.
Brining is really pretty simple. Let me give you the run down.
In a large stock pot combine 1 quart of water, 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt, and your aromatics. Bring to a boil and make sure all of the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 3 quarts of apple juice. Set aside and let cool completely. While it is cooling you can prep your bird. Remove the neck and giblets (yuck) and rinse and dry the outside and cavity.
Depending on the size of your bird you may be able to brine in your stock pot like I did here – or you may have to use a brining bag or a 5-10 gallon bucket. In the past when I’ve cooked a BIG turkey I’ve used an unscented garbage bag and placed it in a cooler with lots and lots of ice. Regardless of where you brine – the bird needs to be kept at 40 degrees. So choose your container of choice and insert your bird. I like to start breast up and flip it half way through the brining time. If your bird floats, weight it down with a bowl or plate. Once the turkey is in the container pour the brine over the bird. If the liquid does not cover your turkey, add water until it does. Now let it sit for 8-24 hours.
Once the bringing time is up – remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the bird and pat dry. Now cook however your heart desires – oven, roaster, smoker or fryer.
I promise you’ll be left with a moist flavorful turkey at your Thanksgiving table.
- 1 quart water
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 fresh springs rosemary - needles removed and stem discarded
- 10 fresh bay leaves
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3 quarts apple juice
- Water to cover the bird
- In a large stock pot combine 1 qt water, salt, lemons, oranges, rosemary, bay, sage, thyme, peppercorns, and syrup
- Bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add apple juice.
- Let cool completely.
- Place cleaned turkey in a large container (stock pot, brining bag, 10 gallon bucket, or unscented garbage bag)
- Pour brine over the bird. If bird is not submerged add water until it is. If bird floats, weigh it down with a bowl or plate.
- Keep bird in brine at 40 degrees F for 8-24 hours, turning the bird once.
- Once brining time is complete rinse and dry turkey and prep for cooking.