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Brining a Turkey

Updated on June 26, 2017

Brining a Turkey for Thanksgiving (or any day) Isn't as Hard as it Sounds

Soaking a turkey overnight in brine is a surprisingly easy to way to create a moist, juicy and flavorful turkey.

This simple recipe will be enough brine an average sized 10-14 pound turkey.

Let's start by gathering up the supplies we'll need....

  • 2.5 gallons water
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup kosher salt

Also, keep on hand sharp knife, cutting board and a large stock pot.

Step 1: Chop the Vegetables & Fruits

Roughly chop the carrots, celery and onion. You don’t need to peel the carrots because they won’t be eaten after this application, they're just used here for flavor. (If you compost you can add them to your bin later)

Slice the orange and lemon in half.

Step 2: Load up Your Stock Pot for the Brine

Add 2 ½ gallons of water to a large stock pot. Then add your vegetables to the pot of water.

Thoroughly squeeze lemon juice into pot and then drop the lemon pieces in.

Squeeze the orange into the pot and add the pieces as well.

Add ½ tbsp each of parsley and thyme.

Next, add the 3 bay leaves.

And finally, add the 1 cup of kosher salt. Substitute note: Use about half if you’re using regular table salt.

Now you’re ready to create your brine.

Step 3: Preparing the Brine for the Turkey

Turn the stove to high heat and bring the brine to a boil, but not let it simmer. Turn it off as soon as it starts to boil and remove it from heat immediately.

Allow the brine to cool completely, which can take several hours. Do NOT place the turkey in warm or hot brine as it will start to cook the turkey.

Once the brine has cooled, use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove all the fruits and vegetables.

Step 4: Begin the Process of Brining the Turkey

Gently lower your turkey into the brine.

Cover the stock pot and chill overnight, up to about 12 hours. When you’re done, remove the bird, pat dry and start roasting.

Because there is a considerable amount of salt in the turkey already, you may wish to avoid using any ingredients with salt during the roasting process as it become too salty.

Meet the Chef in Our House.....

My husband Brian does 99% of the cooking in our house. And does it well. Yes, I am a lucky girl indeed. And now he blogs about it too: http://www.cookingwithzen.com

Share your own brining experience or add more tips....

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    • bbsoulful2 profile image

      bbsoulful2 5 years ago

      We are having our Thanksgiving late this year (we volunteered today) -- I will definitely try this (adding the brown sugar, too). Blessed by a Giant Squid!

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 5 years ago

      Brown sugar in the brine, brining makes a HUGE difference, it is how all those places make turkey and chicken taste so good, tender and juicy :)

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens being chosen to be featured on the Fall Harvest Fest monsterboard. Nice photos and step-by-step instructions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great photos and instructions. I am going to try this! Thanks for sharing!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      This looks fantastic!Great photos with the instructions.

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      I am definitely trying brining this year, thanks!

    • auntjennie profile image

      Jen 6 years ago from Canada

      Love the simple instructions for brining a turkey. I won't be making it myself as I don't eat meat, but I will pass it on to some family members who be interested in giving it a try. This is the first time I've seen the term brining.