Turkey Brine 101

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Brining Turkey adds moisture, making it the best choice for lean proteins. Salt in the brine not only seasonings the meat but also promotes a change in its protein structure, reducing its overall toughness and creating gaps that fill up with water and keep the meat juicy and flavorful. Why brine turkey?

  • Brining turkey adds moisture, making it the best choice for lean proteins. Salt in the brine not only seasonings the meat but also promotes a change in its protein structure, reducing its overall toughness and creating gaps that fill up with water and keep the meat juicy and flavorful.
  • Not only does brining add moisture to the turkey, making it nice and plump, but it also helps prevent it from drying out when you cook it. The result is a delicious, moist, and juicy turkey.
  • Brining not only affects the texture and juiciness of your turkey, but it also affects the taste. A few hours in brine will let salt penetrate deep into the turkey meat, enhancing its natural flavor.

Of course, there are a couple of disadvantages. All the extra water that ends up in the turkey can make it harder to get a crispy skin and requires a brining container in the refrigerator.

If you're new to brining, you can refer to the guide below:

Turkey WeightTimeCold WaterTable Salt
1 bone-in breast 6-8 lbs3-6 hours1 Gallon1/2 cup
Whole Turkey, 12-17 lbs6-12 hours2 Gallons1 cup
Whole Turkey, 18-24 lbs6-12 hours3 Gallons1 1/2 cups

Maple brine recipe for smoked turkey:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup coarse salt
  • 3 whole heads garlic, cloves separated (but not peeled) and bruised
  • 6 large bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped unpeeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. dried chili flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
  • Water based on the size chart above
  • Handful of fresh thyme sprigs