Brining a Turkey is the secret to making a turkey that will have your guests asking for third helpings. However, not all brines are equal. Poorly made turkey brines won’t improve the taste or moisture of the meat.

Why brine a turkey?

The purpose of brining the turkey is to make the meat as moist as possible. Turkey meat, especially the breasts, is not very moist. Turkey is pretty lean, the lack of fat means turkey meat can be pretty dry after being roasted. Brine is a solution of water, spices, and salt. The salt in the brine draws the moisture into the meat.

If you decide not to brine a turkey, it will come out dry and stringy, especially the white meat in the breasts.

The key to brining a turkey is preparation and planning. If you are going to brine your turkey, then you will need to begin at least a day ahead of Thanksgiving, but even earlier is okay.

Brining isn’t difficult, you are basically soaking it in salt water before cooking it. However, the recipe for turkey brine that you use will make all the difference in the world.

How to brine a turkey in 3 easy steps

The steps to brine a turkey are easy.

  1. Remove the turkey from its wrappings, remove the giblets, and rinse the bird off.
  2. Place the bird in the turkey brine and let it sit for 8 to 72 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the bird, prep it for cooking, and roast it.

That’s it!

Pretty easy, right?

No, not really. I glossed over an important part. The part where I said place the turkey in the brine.

Best recipe for brining a turkey

The best recipes for turkey brine call for about a cup of salt and a gallon of liquid. The salt is a necessity because it draws the moisture into the meat, and it is with the liquid where you can make a big difference with the brine.

Instead of adding only water, some people will add in apple juice, pineapple juice, soy sauce, or even bourbon.

The spices in the brine can also be adjusted to your own tastes. Instead of traditional herbs, such as thyme and sage, many people add their own blend of seasonings so the meat has a unique taste. These spices include red pepper flakes, molasses, and even coffee.

The point is you don’t have to be locked into a recipe, you can add your own blend of spices and liquids to make a turkey with a taste different than anything out there.

So, how do you go about finding the recipe you like and getting it to the level of taste you like? Well, that’s where all the preparation and planning comes into play.

Don’t try to come up with your own brine on the day before Thanksgiving. You’ll rush it and not get the results you expected. If you don’t have the time to test and tweak the brine, then make one of the recipes I’ve included.

Also, if you don’t have the time to make a turkey brine, you can buy cans of pre-made brine in the store or you can purchase a turkey pre-packaged in brine.