Turkey Brine Tips and Recipes For The Holidays

Turkey Brine Tips and Recipes For The Holidays

It’s time to talk turkey. With Thanksgiving and Christmas rapidly approaching, you’ll find yourself asking the annual question…to brine or not to brine?  Don’t let the task of brining the centerpiece of your holiday feast overwhelm you. We have the down-low about turkey brine.

Simply put, brining is when you soak the turkey in a saltwater solution overnight. Soaking a turkey overnight in a mixture of salt, water, sugar and spices helps achieve a moist, impeccably-seasoned bird.

Basic turkey brine ratio: According to our very own “Prince of Pastry”, Chef Eddy Van Damme, the basic ratio of salt to water for a brine is 1/2 cup to 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. In a container large enough to hold your meat (and preferably with a lid to avoid sloshing), dissolve the salt in the water. Add spices, and then your meat last.

Keep in mind these 8 tips for brining your turkey.

  1. Kosher salt is preferred, but you can use any type.
  2. After dissolving the salt in the water, let your solution cool down before moving it to the fridge to get cold.
  3. Once the solution is cold, then add the turkey. This prevents the uncooked turkey from being in room temperature water for a long period of time.
  4. Brine your turkey overnight for 16 – 18 hours for a 13 – 15 pound turkey.
  5. Don’t leave your bird in the turkey brine solution for more than 18 hours or it will be too salty.
  6. No pot? Use heavy-duty brining bags or oven-roasting bags. You can place these inside a cooler, then the cooler would go inside the fridge. Make sure the entire bird is covered in the solution. You may need to multiply the recipe.
  7. When you brine a turkey the moisture slows down the browning process, so remove the turkey from the brine well ahead of time to allow the surface to dry. If you can’t air dry it, dry it with towel.
  8. Rub the skin of the turkey with butter before roasting to increase browning.

Ready to brine a turkey for your holiday feast? Check out these recipes for a succulent, perfectly brined bird.baked-turkey-with-tarragon-orange-sauce-imperial-768x511.jpgBaked Turkey with Tarragon Orange Sauce – Tarragon may be one of the most underused herbs in the kitchen. Its delicate anise flavor is the perfect compliment to poultry, fish, and vegetables.Brined-Turkey-in-Lemon-Herb-Butter-IS-768x512.jpgBrined Turkey with Fine Herb Butter – This Chef Eddy recipe has a tarragon, rosemary, and sage herb butter marinade that adds a savory kick to this showcase dish.Brown-Sugar-Rubbed-Beer-Can-Roasted-Turkey-Imperial-768x511.jpgBrown Sugar Rubbed Beer Can Roasted Turkey – You’ve heard of beer can chicken, so why not beer can turkey? Serve this recipe at Thanksgiving or any time of the year.cajun-rubbed-turkey-breast-imperial-768x511.jpgYou can also use a dry brine or rub for your turkey like in this recipe for Cajun Rubbed Turkey Breast. Dry brining is like wet brining except you don’t use water. This  creates a stronger flavor because the water doesn’t dilute the spice. In our recipe for Cajun Rubbed Turkey, we apply a dry rub of spices with some salt and refrigerate for just 30 minutes to 2 hours for a 5-pound thawed whole turkey breast.


Check out these 2 step-by-step, how-to videos to see turkey brining in action!