Turkey Brine


Turkey Brine is t he basic process involves soaking meat like turkey, chicken, and pork in a tubful of heavily salted water overnight. Over the night the meat absorbs some of the water and that water stays even after the meat is cooked. By brining meat, you can decrease the amount of total moisture loss by 30 to 49 %.  This produces a meat with a juicier texture when served.  The salt helps break down the meat proteins so that the moisture is absorbed.


Turkey Brine

Course Main Course
Author Laurie


  • 6 quarts water 24 cups
  • 3 1/2 cups kosher or sea salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 T Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T thyme dried
  • 2 T rosemary dried
  • 12 bay leaves crumbled
  • 7-8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 3 shallots thinly sliced
  • 5 bay leaves crumbled coarsely
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 lemons cut in half


  1. Prepare brine by combining ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel pan (do not use aluminum). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until all of the sugar and salt are dissolved. Allow brine too cool. Pour into cooler (or bag, if using).
  2. When the brine is cold, add the turkey to the cooler or plastic bag. Keep the turkey cold (35°F or below). This can be accomplished by adding ice, or placing the cooler or plastic bag in a cold place. Check temperature to be sure it does not go above 40°F. (Note: A frozen turkey can be brined until it has thawed).
  3. Wash and dry a cooler which is large enough to hold the turkey you will be placing in the brine. (Or use a food grade plastic bag made for the purpose, available at your supermarket; this method will require only half the amount of brine.)
  4. Prepare sufficient brine to submerge turkey entirely. Recipe may be doubled, if required (or halved, if using a plastic bag for the brining).
  5. Remove giblets, neck, etc. from inside turkey and refrigerate to use later on for making gravy, stuffing, or broth. Wash turkey well, inside and out. 

  6. When ready to roast the turkey, remove from brine and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Pat dry with a clean towel. Rub turkey skin with 2 tablespoons melted butter combined with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Bacon drippings can be added for extra flavor. Sprinkle turkey with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Proceed to Roast Turkey.