The Daily Dish

Brining Your Turkey

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turkey marinating in brine

Do you suffer from overcooked dry turkey syndrome? You know, the legs are just cooked through, but the breast meat resembles cardboard?

I have an easy way to remove some of your holiday stress with an idea for cooking your turkey—try brining it first. What brining your bird in a salt and herb packed brine does is first draws all the moisture out of the turkey, then the bird reabsorbs the salt and flavorings for guaranteed juicy and delicious roasted turkey.

Don't worry about the science of it. Here's what you do: In a large stock pot, bring to a boil equal parts salt and sugar (you could even use honey or maple syrup if you like).

Add some herbs such as thyme and rosemary, as well as few cloves of garlic. Let it come to room temperature, then in large stock pot (or you could use a pristinely clean cooler) and put your turkey in it. Add the brine and cover for 24 hours. Rinse the turkey well and roast as usual.

2 cups kosher or sea salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
6 cloves of garlic
1 12- to 14-pound turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 bunch fresh sage
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh rosemary
5 bay leaves

In a large stockpot (one that can hold the turkey and brining liquid), combine 2 gallons water, salt, sugar, dried thyme, dried rosemary, peppercorns, and garlic.

Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve salt; remove from heat.

Fill sink with ice water, then lower pot into sink to cool brine. When brine is cooled, submerge turkey in the brine.

Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.


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