You may be familiar with brining in reference to pickling things like cucumbers, eggs, peppers, etc. That is because a brine is really just water saturated with salt. So why brine a turkey?
Brining a turkey adds moisture and flavor and keeps the turkey from drying out. It’s really easy to do and makes a world of difference. And contrary to popular belief, the turkey does not taste salty at all.
These are the ingredients you will need for a 15 lb turkey:
- 2 gallons of water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 lemons cut in half
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- small handful of cloves
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. We use a turkey fryer pot that we picked up at Dick’s Sporting Goods (in the camping section). It’s large enough to fit even a very large bird.
Empty the cavities of the turkey out and wash well. Plunge it into the pot. The turkey should sit in the liquid for at least 6 hours. We like to keep it in overnight. To do this, we add a bunch of ice, keep it covered and put it in the garage where it’s still cool but protected.
Pull your turkey out and you are ready to cook as usual. I usually put the contents of the brine inside the cavity of the turkey while it is cooking for added flavor.
Just a note: You can really use any types of herbs and spices for the brine. The key ingredients are the sugar & salt. Everything else can be modified to your liking.