I’ve had many people ask me why they should brine a turkey before cooking it, and the answer is pretty simple! It helps the turkey hold in extra moisture, which in turn keeps it from drying out during the cooking process.
As an added benefit, it adds even more flavor to the turkey. Always a plus!
What You’ll Need
- Ice Water
- 1 ¼ Cup Kosher Salt
- 1 Gallon Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tablespoon Crushed, Dried Rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Sage
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
- 5 Gallon Bucket
How to Brine
In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, kosher salt, rosemary, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil. Stir the mixture frequently until the salt is fully dissolved. Once dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and let stand until it reaches room temperature.
Once it has reached room temperature, combine the mixture with approximately 1 gallon of ice water in the 5-gallon bucket or pot, large enough to fully submerse the turkey.
Remove the turkey neck and innards. Thoroughly wash the turkey under cold water and pat dry. Carefully place the turkey, breast side down into the 5-gallon bucket. Ensure the turkey is fully immersed. If it isn’t, add more ice water until it is fully covered.
Place the bucket in the refrigerator – this will likely require you to remove one or more of the shelves to fit the bucket, so be sure you leave plenty of room in your refrigerator. Let the turkey sit in the brine, undisturbed for at least 8 hours or overnight.
The brine process takes time, so ensure you purchase your turkey in advance as you’ll need time to fully thaw the turkey (if frozen) and at least 8 hours for the brine to be fully effective.
You can now roast, smoke or fry the turkey as you normally would – without the risk of it drying out too quickly. If you want to learn how to smoke a turkey, we have an article about that too – How To Smoke a Turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!