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How To Brine a Turkey: A Step-by-Step Guide To The Best Holiday Bird

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How To Brine a Turkey: A Step-by-Step Guide To The Best Holiday Bird
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What's the best way to ensure a juicy Thanksgiving turkey? Many chefs believe brining is the answer to ensuring moist meat. If you'd like to learn how to brine a turkey then you'll enjoy the easy visual guide featured below.

If you are undecided about brining, we recommend reading this post on the pros and cons of brining. So what do you need to get started? Brining involves soaking the turkey in a salty solution overnight so it is a very simple process.

Below you'll find tips on how to brine a turkey two different ways plus a full tutorial on how to smoke a turkey. Let's get started!

Equipment and Ingredients For Brining

For starters, you'll need a vessel large enough to contain the turkey and the brine. This could be a large bucket, cooler or special plastic bag designed for storing meat.

The turkey should be thawed before brining. Also, ensure the giblets and neck are removed and stored for making gravy.

Turkey Brine Recipe

Here is what you will need for a basic turkey brine recipe: 

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns

These ingredients are brought to a boil then combined with 3 cups of cold water. Once cool the brine is poured over the bird and left to sit overnight in a refrigerated space. If desired, you could add fresh herbs, celery, onions and other aromatics to the brine at this point.

Naturally, this brine recipe can be multiplied according to the weight of the bird. For more information and a complete guide to brining, take a look at the following infographic from Real Simple.

How To Brine Turkey: A Cheat Sheet


Dry Brining A Turkey

Another technique you may want to consider is to dry brine your bird. This involves coating the turkey in salt and/or dry seasonings overnight. Learn all about the merits of dry brining here and check out the video below for a quick how-to:

How To Smoke A Turkey

Smoking a turkey isn't the same as brining but it sure does add tons of flavor to your bird. The following method not only shows you how to smoke the turkey on the grill but also includes tips on maximizing flavor using seasonings and aromatics. Take a look:


The Ultimate Roasted Turkey

Are you ready to commit to cooking the best bird of your life? Take the above tips into consideration and check out our recipe for the ultimate roasted bird.

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