This simple brine for turkey is a small extra step that makes a whole world of difference, resulting in a deliciously juicy bird that your whole family will love during Christmas, the holiday season, and special occasion.
Using easy-to-find ingredients with no special skills required, This basic turkey brine recipe is perfectly achievable for any home cook.
Try it out for your next get together and you’ll never go back to plain old turkey again!
Easy Turkey Brine
This impressive bird is the centerpiece of many celebrations despite having a reputation for being a bit dry. That’s because turkey is a lean meat, meaning it doesn’t have much fat on it.
There’s no complication when it comes to this easy turkey brine. Fat melts during cooking, which gives some of our favorite foods their moist texture and irresistible taste. With that being said, it also makes turkey a fairly healthy meat that’s also high in protein and a rich source of vitamin B6, B12 and zinc.
How to Prepare Brine For Christmas Turkey
There are many different ways to make a brine. During the holiday season, especially when it comes to preparing Christmas turkey, one can prepare a basic solution of water and salt to brine the turkey for Christmas dinner.
The brine is absorbed by the turkey, which actually changes its molecular structure. The salt in the mixture dissolves some muscle proteins, which means that the turkey releases less water as it cooks, resulting in much juicier meat and also adding to its savory flavor.
This recipe calls for some extra flavorings and spices to really amp it up, and there are all kinds of combinations that work beautifully with turkey.
The sugar helps to balance out the saltiness, while the herbs and peppers give it a subtle aroma. Feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors to see what works for you.
Do I Need A Brining Bag?
Brining bags aren’t a necessity, and brining can be achieved just fine in a large pot, cooler or even a bucket (new, of course). However, if you don’t have a pot big enough, then purchasing a brining bag is much less expensive than shelling out for some new cookware.
Specialty turkey brining bags are now fairly easy to get hold of, but if you use any other kind of bag just make sure it’s food safe before use.
Can I Brine Frozen Turkey?
It is not recommended to brine frozen turkey as they have usually been injected with a sodium solution that prevents them from fully absorbing the brine.
So while it is possible and perfectly safe to brine your turkey as you thaw it, the end result won’t be quite as flavorful as if you were to use fresh or thawed out meat.
Can I Brine My Turkey For Longer?
You should brine your turkey for at least 8 hours, but it is safe to do it for up to 3 days as long as it is is stored correctly. Of course, if you choose to brine your turkey for longer there is also the consideration of space – an entire turkey will take up a lot of real estate in your fridge, so keeping it in there for days at a time might not be that convenient.
How To Cook Your Brine Turkey?
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH BRINE CHRISTMAS TURKEY?
This versatile bird can be served with a wide range of sides and can be made into a meal to suit every taste, even during the Christmas, Thanksgiving, or special occasions. Consider serving it with the following listed below.
Haitian Eggs (Leftover turkey)
We would love to know if you tried this recipe, tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can see your beautiful dish.
Brine For Christmas Turkey
- 15 Lbs. Turkey
- 2 Gallons Water
- 2 Cups Kosher salt
- ½ Cup Firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 Whole garlic head
- 2 Tbs. Black whole peppercorn
- 2 Tsp. Juniper Berries
- 4 Bay leaves
- ½ ½ of a fresh lemon squeezed
- 2 Thyme sprigs
- 1 Rosemary sprig
- 5 Parsley sprigs
- 3 Tbs. Butter
- In an oversized stock pot suitable to fit a 12-15 lbs. bird, add all of the ingredients with the exception of the butter. Add the turkey to the brine and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.Pre-heat oven to 275° Fahrenheit. Remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Place turkey in a roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 3 hours. Remove and save foil for later use. Increase oven temperature to 400° Fahrenheit. Baste turkey with half of the butter. Place back in oven for 30 minutes. Using a meat injection needle, draw some of the excess water from the pan and inject the liquid throughout the meat. Also use the remaining butter to baste. Continue using this method every 30 minutes for another hour.
- When thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 155°, transfer turkey to a plate and cover tightly with saved foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
I am so glad you explained the science behind the brining. Now it makes so much more sense. Thankyou.
Thank you so much Seema!
Okay, this is perfect!! I needed this for Thanksgiving, so thank you for this post! Bookmarking it for next month 🙂
We are very glad to hear that. Thank you so much!
I love all the herbs you use in this brine. The Turkey looks perfectly juicy and delicious.
Thank you so much Andrea. Hope you get a chance to try it.
This brine looks so rich in flavor!! I can’t wait to try it as part of our holiday menu this year!
Very glad to hear that, Anjali!
Can’t believe I am already starting holiday meals! But after the year we’ve had I’m really looking forward to xmas! Love this brining recipe. This will be my first turkey attempt and wanted to make sure it will be really good. Can’t wait to try it.
Turkey day is just right around the corner. Thank you so much for reading. Best wishes with the turkey. You’ll do great!
The brine is such a good idea for this turkey. Cuts down the work tremendously. The family loves and it was gone by the next day.