I’ve called brine a magic potion for years, since once I learned how to brine a turkey, it as as though I actually had a magic method for making the best turkey anyone had ever had. A brine is nothing more than a salt water bath at its most basic, but over the years I’ve learned how to tweak that basic salt water bath and turn it into something pretty spectacular. Of course it’s me – I’m not going to do anything difficult, nor am I going to spend a whole lot of money doing this either – so rest assured when I say you can learn how to brine a turkey, I’m going to be showing you how to do something that is easy, inexpensive and simple. Oh – and incredibly delicious.
You won’t need any special equipment either. You can use the giant Ziplock bags if you wish – just make sure you have it sealed real well. Those work great if you have to maximize space. If you have a little more room to work with you can use a small stockpot (as long as the bird fits) or what I use – a giant glass jar.
Lastly – I like to stick turkey in the brine and let it sit overnight, but don’t let it go more than 24 hours, especially if it’s a smaller bird – you’ll end up with one that is salty rather than seasoned, and that’s the last thing you want. If you can, let your bird sit on a wire rack in the fridge for a few hours after you take it out of the brine and before you roast it – yo
u’ll have the best, crispiest skin you can imagine. And if you want to see how I actually roast my birds, check out the video below. Have fun – learning how to brine means you’ll have magic potion too!
Turkey Brine - THE secret to having the most delicious, moistest, incredible turkey you've ever had!
8 cups vegetable broth
2-3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice OR juniper berries
1 tablesppon dry thyme or 3-4 sprigs fresh
1 tablespoon dried rosemary or 3-4 sprigs fresh
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1. Place half the vegetable broth in a large pot over medium high heat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir until salt and sugar are melted, remove from heat. Stir in remaining broth.
2. Pick a vessel just large enough to hold your turkey. You can use a ziplock bag, or a stock pot - even a cooler if necessary. Transfer brine to the vessel and add enough ice to bring the temperature of the brine below 40F. Start with a couple of quarts of ice and go from there. Alternately you can chill your brine to below 40F, then transfer it to the brining vessel. Add the turkey, adding a weighted plate if necessary to make sure the bird stays submerged.
3. Stash the whole thing in the fridge, or if using a cooler, in a cold spot and monitor the temperature to make sure it stays cold enough. All the bird to brine for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours.
4. Remove the bird from the brine, pat dry, and roast according to your favorite recipe.