How to Brine a Turkey: Simple Thanksgiving Recipe

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Before cooking your turkey…To brine or not to brine?
Brining the bird will add moisture and make it much juicier. The process also enhances its flavor by enabling it to absorb more liquid while it’s cooking. Note that a brined bird will be a little saltier than a non-brined one, but definitely tastier. And it only works on fresh turkeys, not frozen ones.

We have outlined a simple procedure that only involves a few ingredients.

Prepare these ingredients first:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar
Small handfuls of spices such as onion, garlic cloves, celery, thyme sprigs, whole peppercorns, bay leaves or lemon
You can also add oranges or apple cider to the mixture


To make the brine follow these simple steps:

1. Combine salt, sugar, herbs and 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of water in a large pot and place it over medium heat
2. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved
3. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes
4. Remove from heat and let cool
5. Stir in the remaining 1/2 gallon water and cool completely

Now you are ready to brine your bird.
To brine your turkey:
1. Put the brine inside a container large enough to hold the turkey
2. Add the turkey and if needed, more water to fully submerge it
3. Turn the turkey over a few times and finally leave it breast-side down
4. Soak the turkey in the brine for 5-6 hours, covered and refrigerated. You can let it brine for up to 24 hours.