1½ cups iodine free salt
1 Gallon water
2 Tablespoons pickling spices
The best way to get great
poultry, no matter how you cook it is to start with a brine. Brining
adds moisture and flavor to poultry that will keep it from drying out
and just make it better.
To properly brine a turkey you need to start the night before you plan
to cook. You will need 10 to 12 hours (or more), a container large
enough to hold your turkey and enough brine to cover it, salt, water,
seasonings and enough room to refrigerate it all. A good container would
be a large stock pot or even a 5 gallon, clean plastic bucket. Whatever
container you choose the turkey needs to have enough room to be turned
so it should be big.
The turkey you brine should be
cleaned out, completely thawed and not be a self-basting or Kosher
turkey. Self-basting and Kosher turkeys have a salty stock added that
will make your brined turkey too salty. A fresh turkey works best, but a
completely thawed, frozen turkey will work almost as well.
put the turkey in your container and pour in enough
brine to completely cover the turkey with an inch or two to spare. You
do not want any part of the turkey above the surface of the brine.
A weight may be necessary on the top to hold it down. Now
you put the whole thing in the refrigerator. The
turkey should sit in the brine for at least 10 hours. You can go as much
as 24 hours but for the most part the turkey will have absorbed all the
brine it needs in 10 hours. Brining for too long can ruin the flavor. If
you are using a small turkey cut down on the brining time or reduce the
amount of salt in the brine.
Don't have room in the refrigerator? Try a cooler. A cooler big enough
to hold your turkey but not too big makes a great container for your
turkey and brine. The cooler will held keep it cool and allow you to
brine your turkey without taking up precious refrigerator space. If the
weather is cool, but not freezing you can put the whole thing outside
until you need the turkey. If the weather is warm fill a half gallon
milk carton with water and freeze it. Place this in the cooler with the
turkey and brine and it will hold down the temperature during the
When you are ready to start cooking your turkey, remove it from the
brine and rinse it off in the sink with cold water until all traces of
salt are off the surface.
Discard the brine and cook your turkey as normal. You will notice
the second you start to carve your turkey that the brining has helped it
retain moisture. The first bite will sell you on brining turkeys forever
and after you've tried this you will want to brine all your poultry.