The BEST Turkey Brine Recipe for Tender, Flavorful Turkey

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Brining your turkey will elevate it from “okay” to “that’s a great turkey!”

Many people skip or disregard this step, but I feel it is essential if you want a juicy and tasty turkey.

I believe we all have at least one childhood memory of biting into a piece of turkey and feeling like we were being spoon-fed wood pulp by a lumberjack.I always assumed that was why gravy was created.To help the unfortunate bird.

However, after I began brining, I knew that those birds had suffered unnecessarily in the past. I feel that the tastes and succulence of the flesh are substantially enhanced, particularly in the usual drier sections like the breast.

What is a brine? 

The BEST Turkey Brine Recipe for Juicy and Flavorful Turkey

A brine is, at its most basic, a determined quantity of salt dissolved in water. However, there are several flavoring alternatives available;

  • Do you like it sweet? Try adding some brown sugar to the mix.
  • Do you want it spicy? Throw in some cayenne.
  • Would you want some citrus notes? Mix with some orange, lemon, or grapefruit.
  • Do you have a festive spirit? Choose rosemary and cranberries.

The beauty of brine is that the recipe is rather forgiving. Even though the brine liquid is powerful, it absorbs gently into the flesh, imparting the intricacies and nuances that make for a perfect bite of turkey.

This brine recipe was used for my pellet grill turkey recipe.

Pros and cons of brining 

The brine is like a turkey spa day before it goes into the oven. It should moisten the meat all the way through, avoiding dry spots from forming in easily overdone places.

Now, there are some negatives to brining:

  • You must achieve the proper salt balance. If you use too little, you’ll merely have a soggy bird. If you provide too much, your visitors will be racing for water.
  • Both time and effort are required. A proper brine should last 8-24 hours; any longer and the skin’s texture may erode.
  • The overall messiness and inconvenience of creating the brine and locating a suitable receptacle for the bird to sit in.

Also, like with a marinade, the duration and strength of the brine should be correlated. Use a stronger brine for a shorter period of time and vice versa.

What’s the best vessel to brine in? 

You may have difficulty locating a container big enough to handle the turkey and brine depending on the size of your bird. If you have a small enough turkey, a brine bag works excellent; just place the turkey and brine in the bag, tie it up, and place it in the refrigerator.

If you have space in your fridge for something that tall and broad, a food-safe 5-gallon bucket or container would be a decent solution.

Binding turkey in a cooler is my personal favorite.

I have plenty of room in my cooler for any size turkey, and with some ice on top, I can keep it there overnight, freeing up space in my fridge for other Thanksgiving requirements.

How to make a brine

Making a brine couldn’t be simpler. Heat two gallons of water in a large saucepan and combine all of the ingredients. I season it with salt, sugar, lemon, herbs, and garlic. It’s a brine that’s perfect for Thanksgiving and one that my family makes year after year.

Stir well to allow the sugars and salt to melt completely. When the brine has reached room temperature, add the turkey.

If you do not allow the brine to cool, the heat will begin to cook the meat. For Thanksgiving, you don’t want boiling turkey!

If you want to chill your brine with ice, it will dilute it somewhat, so start with less water or add the components in the brine mix to make it more concentrated.

Do you need to rinse brined turkey before cooking?

When you’re ready to cook the turkey, take it out of the brining liquid and pat it dry with a couple paper towels. It is not necessary to wash the meat before cooking.

In fact, cleaning the turkey has been shown to transfer germs to other kitchen surfaces.

Recipes to use this brine with

This brine may be used on any of our whole turkey recipes or to season wings, breasts, or legs.

  • Smoked Spatchcock Turkey Recipe
  • The Best Deep Fried Turkey Recipe
  • Easy Smoked Turkey Breast: Texas Style
  • How to Smoke Turkey on a Pellet Grill
  • Smoked Turkey Wings
  • Smoked Turkey Legs


Does brining a turkey make it juicy?

Wet brining is one method used by many amateur cooks to combat dryness. The procedure, which involves soaking the turkey in a saline solution before cooking, allows the bird to absorb more moisture, resulting in moist and luscious dark and light flesh.

Does brining a turkey add flavor?

Brining is an essential method since it boosts the moisture and taste of a turkey. If you’re wondering how to brine a turkey, you have two options: soak it in a flavored saltwater solution or dry brine it in a salt-heavy rub.

How do you brine a turkey to keep it extra tender?

Make room in the fridge for a pot.
Add the turkey to the pot.
Make a brine solution.
The brine solution should be poured over the turkey.
Cover the turkey with the remaining 3 quarts of water.
Make certain that the turkey is thoroughly immersed.
Refrigerate, covered.
Allow 12 to 24 hours to brine.

What can I put in my turkey for flavor?

Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage, combined with a half lemon, give a lot of flavor, and stuffing it inside the bird takes practically no time at all. (While you’re about it, season the cavity well with salt and pepper.) Brining is an important step in ensuring a juicy chicken.

How do you make a turkey juicy and not dry?

Here’s an excellent trick for keeping the turkey breast juicy: Make a triangle out of a huge square piece of foil. Rub one side of the triangle with olive oil and form the foil (oil-side down) over the turkey breast, then remove foil; this will protect your turkey breast from drying out.

What is the downside of brining turkey?

Cons: Messy (handling raw turkey and a huge pot of salt water required) Takes quite a lot of fridge space.

Do I season my turkey after brining?

Do you season the turkey after it has been brined? Because brine is quite salty, there’s no need to add salt to a brined turkey. You may flavor the turkey afterwards by serving it with a compound butter or a savory sauce, or you can add your favorite dry rub, herbs, or spices after it brines.

What flavors can you add to brine?

Adding Flavor to a Brine

Any and all spices and seasonings may be used, although entire spices (such as seeds, peppercorns, and so on) work best. Aromatic garlic and bay leaves, citrus notes of coriander, lemon, orange, and lemon verbena, sweet allspice, and sharp peppercorns round out our Brining Mix.

Should you rinse your turkey after brining?

Do You Rinse a Brining Turkey? After wet or dry brining, always rinse the turkey. After rinsing, allow the turkey to air dry in the refrigerator for several hours, uncovered, or pat it dry with a paper towel.

What is the formula for brine?

NH4OH | ClH7NNaO2 | CID 131727087 brine – PubChem.

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