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Turkey Talk (and a Turkey Brine Recipe)

served-Roasted-Turkey-585Nothing holds center stage like a Thanksgiving turkey. If your potatoes turn out lumpy and your gravy runny, all will be forgiven. But serve a dry, leathery turkey and you’ll have more leftovers than you can shake a stick at.
It’s a tricky beast, this illustrious holiday bird. The proportion of white to dark meat creates a cooks nightmare (light meat cooks faster than dark); even the sheer size of the thing is problematic.
You could opt for a breast only entrée and face the wrath of the dark meat lover, or you could attempt to de-bone and truss your bird to ensure even cooking time (good luck with that) or you can do the one thing that will guarantee turkey success every time and brine your bird!
All you need for this basic turkey brine recipe is water, kosher salt, and a container big enough to immerse a turkey, (a five gallon bucket works like a charm), but the more goodies you add to your turkey brine recipe (like onions, celery and spice), the more flavorful the finished product.
Low in fat, turkey meat is dry by nature. A brine works by way of osmosis, making its way into the cells of the meat. (And you never thought you’d use that fifth grade science.) For a brine to be effective the turkey needs to soak in the brine for at least five hours, but ideally 12 to 24.
The saltwater solution not only adds moisture to the meat, but also helps to break down the protein fibers of the poultry (this works for pork and seafood too), effectively shortening the required amount of time in the oven, thus creating a juicy and tender bird.
Admittedly, I was a nervous wreck the first time I brined a turkey (Two cups of salt? Sure seems like things could go badly…), but rest assured, my bird turned out not the least bit brackish.

Easy Peasy Turkey Brine Recipe

Simple Turkey Brine Recipe
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 servings
This turkey brine recipe is sure to make your Thanksgiving bird delicious, and it's easy as can be!
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • ¼ cup whole peppercorns
  • 18 pound thawed turkey
  • 1 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
  1. Rub the turkey inside and out with the salt.
  2. Place in a 5-gallon bucket and cover with cold water.
  3. Toss in peppercorns.
  4. Cover the bucket and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Remove turkey from brine and thoroughly rinse inside and out. Discard used brine.
To Roast
  1. Brush the turkey with unsalted, melted butter.
  2. Place turkey in a roasting pan and pour chicken stock in pan.
  3. Roast, uncovered for 3 ½ to 4 hours. Remove the turkey when the breast meat registers 165 degrees. Make certain the thermometer is not touching a bone.
  4. Allow the turkey to stand for 30 minutes before carving.
Optional: Stuff the cavity with a mixture of two chopped carrots, 1 chopped apple, 1 quartered onion, fresh rosemary and thyme before cooking.

What do you say, will you try to brine this year? I am a devotee and will never roast a turkey any other way!—Karen

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