What You'll Need to Brine Your Turkey

What You'll Need to Brine Your Turkey
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What You'll Need to Brine Your Turkey

This is a simple, 3-step process – the brine, the bag, and the cooling source. Here's what you'll need to brine the perfect turkey:

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This technique can work with any sized bird, whether your turkey is a wee little thing that resembles a chicken, or a monstrous, pan-bending, 22 lb. beast.

Image Credit: Getty Images


While it might sound like a lot of work, a brine is quite easy to make. You simply simmer some water with a large amount of salt and a selection of herbs and spices (and sometimes an acid like lemon or orange juice). The trick is making enough for the size of your turkey.

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All that is really required in brining is a vessel that will hold your bird and enough brine to completely immerse it -- usually a large pot. However, brining bags -- essentially a really large and sturdy zipper-lock bag -- save you from three really big hassles and can make life a whole lot easier.

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Cooling source:

Put the bag in a cooler, and surround it with some ice. Seal it up, and the ice will keep the bird properly cooled overnight, and save you the headache of trying to reorganize your fridge contents.

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Now that you know how to brine your turkey, you need to figure out how to cook it. Check out the rest of the slideshow for some of our favorite turkey recipes!

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Soy Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turkey

"We never had turkey on Thanksgiving," says Joanne Chang, "only duck. I love turkey with sage and butter, but I crave the flavors I grew up with." Here, she marinates and bastes the bird with soy, sesame, honey and ginger, giving it superb flavor and a beautiful mahogany color.

Click here for the recipe: Soy Sauce and Honey-Glazed Turkey

Turkey and Cornbread Stuffing with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Try something new this year. Slivered almonds and sun-dried tomatoes add a delicious twist to this stuffing recipe that's the perfect pair for a moist roasted turkey.

Click here for the recipe: Turkey and Cornbread Stuffing with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Turkey with Herb Basting Sauce

In the mood for roast turkey? Here's a simply delicious recipe for roasted turkey breast, that gives you wonderful flavor without all the fuss of a big bird.

Click here for the recipe: Turkey with Herb Basting Sauce

Brine-Cured Roast Turkey

A big turkey is so spectacular you hardly need to do anything to embellish it. But brining can be that extra touch that makes it so juicy and flavorful that you’ll remember it for years to come. Brining the turkey takes 3 days so you’ll need to plan ahead, but the lengthy brining time really pays off with fabulous flavor. Make sure you start with an all-natural bird without any added water and sodium solution. (Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.)

Click here for the recipe: Brine-Cured Roast Turkey


If you've paid attention to any sort of Thanksgiving-themed food show over the last few years, you've heard about brining, a process that soaks meat to help fight off the inevitable moisture loss during cooking, while simultaneously unwinding muscle fibers with salt. This simple, almost magical aid is the holiday ace from your back pocket -- the secret to transforming your typically dry turkey into a moist and succulent masterpiece, and one that masks many typical over-roasting mistakes. All that's required is a quick and simple brine and an overnight soak; Thanksgiving morning, dump the brine, and toss the bird into the oven.

Check out the slideshow above for our step-by-step turkey-brining instructions!

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