Yes. You need to brine your turkey before you put that bird into the oven. You do not want a dry, bland tasting meal – you want people to ooh and ahh over how moist and full of flavor the meat is. Here is my tried and true brining mixture. What exactly is bringing you may ask? The process of brining or soaking meat in a solution of water and salt, before cooking. Yes – it really is that simple. As it soaks, the meat absorbs the brine, then retains it during cooking.
Don’t forget to make sure your turkey is defrosted (remember it can take up to two days to defrost!) before you begin.
|Turkey 12-17 lbs||2 gallons||1 cups table salt or
1.5 cups Kosher salt
|Turkey 18-24 lbs||3 gallons||1.5 cups table salt or
2.25 cups Kosher salt
*Important to remember, cup for cup, table salt is stronger than Kosher salt. If you use Kosher salt in a brine, multiply the amount of salt called for by 1.5 times.
Mix these additional ingredients together until they are fully dissolved into the water:
- 1 cup sugar or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 cups vegetable stock, optional
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 garlic gloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cloves
Heat one gallon of water, pour in all of the ingredients including the salt, and stir thoroughly until the ingredients are completely dissolved. Refrigerate until the brine is cold. In the largest stock pot that you have or 5 gal pail, fill it with the brine mixture water. Put your turkey into your pot gently and add the rest of the water. Ensure that the breast it is fully submerged. The entire bird must be submerged for the full brining period. Refrigerate the bird for the recommended time.
Once the turkey has brined overnight, remove it from the brine, rinse it off, and pat it dry. You are now ready to prep your turkey for the oven. Need help getting it into the oven and onto the table? Check out My Famous Drunken Turkey Recipe that has two videos on how to make the perfect turkey your guests will love.
Hey, Thanks for sharing! I started brining and grilling our turkey in 2006. It frees up space in the oven and gives the guys an excuse to stand outside and drink beer. The turkey is so tender and Juicy! This is the recipe I use for “Apple Hickory Smoked Turkey.”
For the Brine:
2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
6 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large cloves garlic, crushed
You will Also need:
1 turkey, 12 to 14 pounds (If you need more, buy two turkeys for best results)
Cotton string for trussing turkey
Heavy-gauge foil pan
Hickory chips, soaked in water for at least 1 hour.
I let my brine go 24+ hours. Started it last night about midnight.
1) Ok, combine your apple cider with the sea salt and brown sugar on the stove. Heat it until everything is dissolved. Let it cool to room temp.
2) Add water and remaining ingredients. (I use a garbage bag to brine the turkey in. I seal it up tight in the bag, then stand it up in a cooler and pack ice around it. Done! Just be sure the turkey is completely covered!
3) Set up your charcoal grill for indirect heat. All you do is put your foil pan under the grate in the middle of the grill and put the charcoals around it. (you can add water or white wine to the pan to create some steam)
4) Once your charcoal gets hot, add the hickory
5) Completely rinse and dry your bird or it will be way salty. Take out that plug thermometer and toss it. DO NOT PUT STUFFING IN THE BIRD!
You are grilling @ a temp of about 275, so it is not recommended. I stuff the bird with sliced apples and a cinnamon stick.
5) Put the turkey cavity side down, and let it go! I add more wood/ charcoal about every 45 minutes and brush with olive oil.
6) When your wings get to the desired color, wrap them in foil. Then take foil and tent the remaining part of the turkey when it reaches a nice color.
7) It usually takes about 4-6 hours to grill/ smoke your turkey. Temp it in a couple spots. When the coolest spot hits 165, your done! Don’t over do it! The meat will have a pink color, but that is from the smoke. No worries!
8) Wrap your bird in foil and LET IT REST FOR 20 minutes. I’m serious. You’ll be glad you did. It will help the bird expand a bit and be way juicier. You’ll be the hero of thanksgiving. Leftovers will be thin, and people who thought they didn’t like dark meat will be gnawing away. Thank me later.
That brine sounds delicious!! I will try this one next. I haven’t grilled a bird yet, but now I just might. Thanks so much for posting!