I mentioned in a previous post that we brined our turkey for the first time this year.  It was absolutely, beyond a doubt, the BEST turkey I have ever had!!  Even the leftovers were tender, moist, and loaded with flavor.  We used a free-range, all natural turkey, which means lots of flavor, but also often means less fat and therefore much drier meat.  Yet, with the brine, it was amazing!  So, I thought I’d share….

Turkey Brine

This is very simple, so listen closely.  You have to make a decision…..do you want to soak the turkey overnight (over 8 hours) or start the day you plan to cook it (less than 8 hours)? 

If you plan to soak overnight, or over 8 hours, then dilute 1/2 cup kosher salt (I used my canning salt) per 1 gallon water.

If you plan to soak 4-8 hours, then dilute 1 cup kosher salt per gallon water.

Clean turkey as you normally would, removing the organ bag from inside if necessary.  Make enough salt/water solution (brine) to fully cover the turkey.  If you have trouble getting the salt to dissolve, heat part of the water slightly, just until salt dissolves, and add the rest of the water cold to re-chill the solution.  You don’t want it too warm. I had an 18 pound turkey, and found my granite-ware water-bath canner worked perfectly.  Cover and place pot in fridge (or cold porch/garage) for desired brine time.  When it is time to cook, remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly, prepare it as you normally would, place on roasting pan, and roast according to instructions. 

Based on my research, the brine causes an osmotic reaction to occur, causing the cells of the turkey to absorb more water.  Then, when you cook it, it will lose water as usual.  However, with the increased water available, it retains plenty of moisture within the cells to make a juicy turkey for the table. 

Have fun!!