How to brine a turkey starts with you knowing what ingredients and equipment you need for the whole process.
- 1 whole turkey
- 4 quarts divided cold water
- ¾ cup table salt or 1 cup kosher salt
- Aromatic options: peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, juniper berries, allspice berries, orange peels, lemon peels, etc.
- 1 large pot or bucket with a lid
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Paper towels
How to Brine a Turkey
After knowing the ingredients and the equipment, now it’s time to brine.
Step 1. Find a pot and make a space in your fridge. The pot or food-safe bucket is the one that’s large enough, so that you will be able to submerge the turkey entirely. And then, clear some refrigerator space and be sure your pot can fit.
Step 2. Put the turkey in the pot. Unwrap the turkey and remove the giblets. After that, transfer it to the pot. You can add any aromatics you’d like to use.
Step 3. Mix the brine solution. Heat 1 quart of water in the microwave until it’s warmed – note: it doesn’t need to come to a boil, just warm enough to dissolve the salt. Then, add the salt and stir it until the salt is dissolve. Let the liquid slightly cool – if it’s still a touch warm, it’s fine.
Step 4. Pour the brine solution over the turkey.
Step 5. Next, pour the remaining 3 quarts of water over your turkey. This process with dilute the salt solution to the best ratio for brining. It also helps further cool the solution.
Step 6. You want to make sure that the turkey is completely submerged. If required, you can prepare more brine solution at a ratio of ¼ cup salt per quart of water – this will help submerge the turkey completely.
Step 7. Cover and refrigerate. If the turkey floats, just weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover and then place it in the refrigerator.
Step 8. Now brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 9. Next, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold running water. Use your paper towels to pat dry. Make sure to clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to prevent cross-contamination.
Step 10. (Optional) If you have time, you can air-dry your turkey for another 24 hours in the refrigerator. Put the turkey on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and then cover loosely with plastic wrap to avoid cross contamination. This optional step will give your turkey crispier skin.
Step 11. Now it’s time to roast your turkey. To do this, you can either roast immediately after brining or after air-drying. Roast as usual and make sure to check the turkey’s temperature an hour before the end of your estimate cooking time.
Now that you’ve known the whole process of how to brine a turkey, you can try these easy steps at home.