Brining a turkey makes for a moist and flavorful bird, and keeps it from drying out when you cook it. But first things first, if you have a kosher turkey brining is not necessary to brine because it has already been salted.
No matter how you plan to prepare your turkey you should always start with a brine. Your end result will come out impeccable and your guests will be salivating for seconds and thirds.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to brine a turkey.
1. Give yourself proper time. You will need to brine your turkey overnight, so start the night before and clear out space in your fridge for the turkey. You can brine the turkey in a large stainless steel pot or oven roasting turkey bags from Reynolds or Ziploc. Be sure that the container for the turkey in brine is non-reactive, like enamel, glass, crockery, stainless steel, even a plastic bucket – never cast iron or aluminum.
2. Remember I mentioned that you should not brine if using a Kosher or self-basting turkey. With that said start with a fresh or thawed out fully cleaned turkey. If you using a large stainless steel pot add the turkey and fill with water to completely cover turkey. Remove turkey and measure out the water. This is a great starting point. You’ll want at least 1 gallon of water for your brine.
3. To make a simple brine, mix 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of water. Making sure that the salt is completely dissolved before adding your other seasonings. The type of salt you use is also very important. I recommend using Kosher salt, never table salt. (Table salt shouldn’t ever be consumed to begin with). Sugar or other types of sweeteners, like brown sugar, maple syrup or honey, are also very popular ingredients added to brines, about 1 cup. It helps to balance out the flavor of the salt. I will give you brining recipes below.
4. After you’ve adding all your seasonings, fully submerge your turkey in the brine and place it in the refrigerator. The size of your turkey will depend on how long you brine it. If you have a small turkey brine for 1 hour for every pound of turkey. If you have a large turkey, 10 hours minimum and no longer than 24 hours. You can over brine a turkey which will result in toughness instead of juiciness.
5. If you do not have room in your fridge for the turkey, there are other options for you. Try a cooler filled with some ice or if you live in a cold climate you can even place it outside, as long as it is not below freezing.
6. When you are ready to cook your turkey, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse off the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water and pat dry. You can discard the brine. Cook your turkey with your preferred method and you will have a moist, juicy and flavorable turkey. Brining doesn’t have to stop with your turkey. You can brine any kind of poultry, shrimp or pork.
Turkey Brine Recipes: