I like to brine my Turkey because it's my belief that brining makes it moist. The salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings and breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender turkey. This means that despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time, you still end up with a juicy bird.
Stacey’s Savory Brine
It's important to find a container that's large enough to submerge the turkey, yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try a stock pot or a bucket. You can also purchase brining bags, like I did, and use the roasting pan, but you'll need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine.
The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness.
- Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.
- Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
- Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.
I have a tried and tested recipe that is full of flavor and I use every year to rave reviews!
Stacey’s Savory Brine
- 1 C course Sea Salt
- 1/4 C Sugar
- 1/2 C Dried Cranberries
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 C Chopped Apple
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 2 T Sage, rough chopped
- 1 T Juniper Berries
- 1 T whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 T Thyme, rough chopped
- 1 T Rosemary, rough chopped
This makes about 2 cups. Add this to 1 gallon boiling water and stir until solids are dissolved. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate to chill. Using a large bucket or brining bag, place thawed Turkey breast side down in brine with an additional gallon of water to fully submerge. Chill for 12 -24 hours. Remove bird from brine, rinse and pat dry. Now it’s ready to roast. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast side up on the roasting rack. I like to rub my bird with a bit of olive oil then pepper the skin, add fresh herbs to the cavity and tie the legs together. Follow the roasting instructions for your size Turkey. Remember that the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt and any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, so taste before you add any additional salt.