| |

Turkey Brine Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Turkey Brine Recipe is the secret weapon for a succulent, juicy, and flavor-packed smoked turkey. Say goodbye to dry turkey and hello to a mouthwatering masterpiece with our easy and aromatic brine.

Elevate your Thanksgiving turkey to a whole new level with our turkey brine recipe. This aromatic concoction features fresh rosemary, orange zest, and a medley of spices, all harmonizing in a brine that ensures a moist and flavorful turkey that will leave your guests craving more. Plus, brining your turkey before smoking can add moisture, reducing the chances of it drying out.

Why brine?

Brining your Thanksgiving turkey is all about infusing it with moisture and a delightful medley of flavors that seep deep into every nook and cranny. When you soak your turkey in a brine recipe, like the one we’re sharing, the salt in the solution works its magic, not only seasoning the meat but also breaking down the muscle proteins, resulting in a juicier and more tender turkey.

Meanwhile, the sugar and aromatic ingredients like rosemary and orange zest contribute layers of complexity, making each bite a heavenly experience. According to the experts at the USDA, brining is a trusted technique for enhancing your turkey’s taste and texture, ensuring your holiday centerpiece is a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt (or 3/4 cups table salt)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh, whole rosemary leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • zest of 3 large oranges

Turkey Brine Recipe Directions

Step 1: Create Brine

In a big, sturdy pot (12 to 16 quarts), combine water, apple cider, salt, sugar, rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, red onion, and orange zest.

  • Fire up the heat and bring the brine to a gentle boil. Stir it to make sure the salt and sugar dissolve into the mix.
  • Now, here’s a little tip: this pot is going to be heavy. So, carefully take it off the heat and place it in a sink filled with ice water. We want it to cool down completely, and this is the quick way to do it.

Step 2: Soak

Once your brine is cool and ready, it’s time to let your turkey soak. Get yourself a large brining bag or a spacious pot.

  • Gently place your turkey into the brine solution. Now, pop it into the refrigerator, and let it soak in all those wonderful flavors for 16 to 24 hours. That’s roughly 1 ½ hours per pound. The longer, the better – trust us on this one.

Step 3: Give Your Turkey a Fresh Start

When the time’s up, your turkey is going to be bursting with flavor. But, we want to make sure it’s not too salty on the outside, so here’s what you do:

  • Carefully take turkey out of the brine. Submerge it in a pot or sink filled with fresh, cold water for 15 minutes. This will wash away any excess salt from the outside.
  • Then, take it out and place it on a cutting board. Give it a gentle pat down with paper towels until it’s nice and dry.

Step 4: Smoke Your Turkey to Perfection

Now, you’re all set to continue with your flavor injector (if using) and smoking. Whether you’re using a smoker, grill, or oven, your beautifully brined turkey is primed and ready!

Tips and Recipe Notes

Thaw in advance (if necessary, plan 3 days ahead): Select a turkey weighing 12-14 pounds from your local grocery store or butcher. While a fresh turkey is ideal, if you opt for a frozen one, be sure to allow ample time for proper thawing in your refrigerator. Our recommendation is to allocate 24 hours in the fridge for every 5 pounds, so for a turkey just under 15 pounds, you should plan for approximately 3 days to ensure thorough thawing.

Prepare turkey brine recipe (16-24 hours ahead): After your turkey has completely thawed, it’s time to immerse it in a flavorful brining solution. Brining your turkey in a mixture of salt, sugar, and herbs not only imparts seasoning from the inside out but also enhances its tenderness and flavor. A dry turkey is nobody’s favorite, so invest the effort to guarantee an amazing meal for your family.

Infuse the marinade (if using, right before cooking): Inject turkey in the breasts, thighs, and legs with a marinade using an injector, which should take approximately 15 minutes.

Smoke (or Roast): Allow for a cooking time of 2 to 3 hours, and your delectable turkey will be ready to serve!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Turkey Brine Recipe

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Category: smoker recipes
  • Method: brine
  • Cuisine: american

Description

This Turkey Brine Recipe is the secret weapon for a succulent, juicy, and flavor-packed smoked turkey. Say goodbye to dry turkey and hello to a mouthwatering masterpiece with our easy and aromatic brine.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup kosher salt (or 3/4 cups table salt)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh, whole rosemary leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • zest of 3 large oranges


Instructions

  1. Combine water, apple cider, salt, sugar, rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, red onion, and orange zest in a large, sturdy pot.
  2. Bring the brine to a gentle boil. Stir it to make sure the salt and sugar dissolve into the mix.
  3. Carefully remove the pot from heat and place it in a sink filled with ice water.
  4. Once your brine is cool, place your turkey into the brine solution and set it in the refrigerator for 16 to 24 hours. That’s roughly 1 ½ hours per pound of turkey. 
  5. Next, carefully take turkey out of the brine. Submerge it in a pot or sink filled with fresh, cold water for 15 minutes. This will wash away any excess salt from the outside.
  6. Then, take turkey out and place it on a cutting board; pat it down with paper towels until it’s dry.
  7. Now, you’re all set to continue with your flavor injector (if using) and smoking turkey.

Notes

This is a Yummly original recipe created by Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes of Cooks with Soul that has been upgraded and adapted for this website.

Keywords: turkey brine recipe, smoked turkey, turkey brine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.