Basic Turkey Brine

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine
To brine or not to brine - that's the oft asked question this time of year. We are a fan of brining, it helps to retain moisture and add a punch of flavor to your holiday bird. There are as many brines as their are cooks, but below is a standard brining recipe to start with, add herbs or other flavorings to suit your liking! This produces 1 gallon, which should be enough to submerge a small turkey (up to 12 pounds). Double the recipe for birds up to 20 pounds. And if you'd prefer to brine overnight (12 to 24 hours), reduce the amounts of sugar and salt by half
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Prep Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr
Prep Time
24 hr
Total Time
24 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup kosher salt
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar
  3. Small handful of aromatics (garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon or orange zest removed in strips)
Instructions
  1. Combine salt, sugar, aromatics and 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of water in a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in remaining 1/2 gallon water (or water and ice) and cool completely.
  2. Pour brine into a container just large enough to hold turkey comfortably. (A 4- or 5-gallon vessel should be good for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.) Add turkey; add a little more water or ice to submerge it if necessary. Turn bird a few times and then leave breast-side down in the water; place a heavy plate over the poultry if it floats. Chill 5 to 6 hours. Remove bird from brine, discard brine and roast as directed
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