Picture of a turkey in brine solution

How To Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is on the way and we’re fielding lots of phone calls about how to properly prepare a turkey brine for the amazing Heritage turkeys that our friend Lynn raised for us this year.

Different people have different philosophies about the necessity and benefit of turkey brine, but plenty of adherents believe that brining not only seasons the meat, but that it also keeps it moist and tender during cooking.

If you’d like to give it a try this year, Joe has graciously offered up his recipe and instructions for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey brine.

Joe’s Turkey Brine

This is a simple method to make a moist, flavorful turkey that you will be proud of. You need to do this the day before you want to roast your turkey, so plan ahead. If your outside temperature is below 40 degrees you can store the turkey in a shady spot or in the garage while it brines, otherwise you will need to clear out a spot in a refrigerator… Not an easy task the day before Thanksgiving.

Brine Ingredients

  • 1 cleaned and sanitized 5 gallon bucket with lid (I buy one from Home Depot for this and sanitize it)
  • 10-16lb turkey (if frozen, thaw it first!)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 3 gallons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Brining Instructions

To make your brine solution, bring the water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the salt and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the seasoning and the cold water. Let the brine mixture sit for about 30 minutes before you add your turkey.

Place the turkey in the cleaned and sanitized 5 gallon bucket and pour the brine mixture over it until the water covers it completely. There may be more brine then you need. If so, discard the leftover. Cover the bucket and put it either in the refrigerator or in place where the temperature is below 40 degrees. Leave the turkey to sit in the brine 18-24 hours

Brined Turkey Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the turkey out of the brine and put it on roasting rack in a roasting pan. Allow to dry for 15 minutes, then rub a little oil or butter on the skin. DO NOT SALT THE TURKEY. Put 2 cups of water or broth in the bottom of the roasting pan and tent the turkey with foil.

Roast for 2 ½-3 hours or about 13 minutes per pound

Remove foil tent when you have about 1 hour of roasting time left.

Remove the turkey from oven and place on cutting board where it should rest for 20 minutes before you carving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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