Turkey Brining Made Easy
As the holidays approach, you may hear that you should brine your bird to make it more tender and juicy. It’s true, you should. Your guests will thank you for it. While brining—soaking a turkey in a solution of liquid, salt, sugar, and seasoning—may sound like a daunting task, it’s actually easier than you might expect. Especially when you use our Turkey Brining Kit to make the juiciest holiday turkey.
Savory Spice co-founder, Mike Johnston wrote a helpful Brining 101 article about the benefits of brining. Check out the article for the full science behind brining, but here are the highlights.
- Brining makes your protein juicy and tender: When your bird spends time in a liquid solution with salt, sugar, and seasoning, the turkey is infused with moisture and flavor.
- Brining takes less time than you think: You need to brine for one hour per pound. For a turkey, that’s an easy overnight process.
- Brining makes you look good: Seriously. When your turkey comes out nice and juicy, your dinner guests will notice!
How to Brine
To create a brining solution for turkey, you typically measure out the amount of liquid it takes to completely submerge your bird. Then you measure out just the right ratio of salt, sugar, and seasoning to dissolve in the liquid. If you want to go that route, we commend your DIY attitude. In fact, we even have three DIY Brining Spice Mix recipes for creating your own flavor-unique profiles for brining.
However, if you’re new to brining or don’t want to bother with recipe calculations, Savory’s Turkey Brining Kit has you covered. The kit contains Brining Mix (just the right amount of salt, sugar, and seasoning to brine a 12-15 lb. turkey covered in about 2 gallons of water) plus a brining bag, and instructions. We've included the directions below, with visuals in case you find them helpful.
Here’s how easy it is to use our Turkey Brining Kit to brine a 12-15 lb. turkey.
1) Find a container. Find a large, food-safe container with enough room to hold a 12-15 lb. turkey. The turkey should be able to be completely submerged in liquid. Usually a very large stockpot will work.
Pro-Tip: A brining bag will keep the brining liquid contained and make for an easy clean-up.
2) Dissolve brining mix. In a large pan, add the Brining Mix to about 1 gallon of water. Bring to a simmer and stir, making sure all of the salt and sugar are fully dissolved in the water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
3) Submerge turkey in brine. Place your fresh or thawed 12-15 lb. turkey in the brining bag in the container. Pour the cooled brine liquid over the turkey then top it with enough water to completely submerge the turkey. This will be about 1½ to 2 gallons depending on the size of the turkey and the container.
Pro-Tip: You can substitute part of the water for other liquids that will add flavor the turkey, like beer, juice, or broth. Add the flavoring liquid first, then finish with enough water to cover the turkey.
4) Refrigerate turkey. Secure the brining bag closed using the black tie included with the bag. Make space in the refrigerator for your large container, and refrigerate the turkey in the brine for about 1 hour per lb. of turkey.
Pro-Tip: For a standard 12-15 lb. turkey, it might be easiest to start this in the early evening the night before you're planning to cook your turkey. For example, if you need to start cooking your 15 lb. turkey at 10am, you'll want to have your bird in the fridge by 7 pm the night before.
5) Remove turkey from brine. After the brining time is up, remove the turkey from the brining liquid and discard the liquid and the brining bag. Rinse the turkey and pat dry.
Pro-Tip: For extra crispy skin, place the turkey on a roasting pan and set it back in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least an hour before cooking to let the skin dry out a bit more.
6) Rub the turkey. This is my favorite part! Generously rub the turkey with your favorite seasoning just before you’re ready to roast, fry, grill, or smoke the bird. We're going to recommend our classic Holiday Roast Turkey for traditional flavor, but get creative with your favorite rub or seasoning. We usually recommend using about 1 tsp. of seasoning per 1 lb. of turkey.
Top Picks for Turkey
Some of our favorite rubs to go along with turkey are:
For any rub, we suggest using about 1 tsp. seasoning per pound of poultry, or more to taste. Generously rub the seasoning on the outside of the poultry skin, and/or underneath the skin before cooking. Use rub with olive oil or melted butter, if desired, to help the seasoning stick.
Here are some of the questions our testers asked when trying the new Turkey Brining Kit. We hope you find these answers helpful.
What if I have a turkey that’s smaller or larger than 12 lb., can I still use the kit?
Yes, you can!
- For a turkey that’s smaller than 12 lb. (or if you spatchcock the turkey or cut it into pieces before brining) you’ll need less liquid to submerge the turkey, meaning you’ll need less brining mix as well. Use 8 oz. of the mix for each 1 gallon of brining liquid you need.
- For a turkey larger than 15 lb., you may need more liquid to submerge the turkey, and more brining mix so the flavor (& juicy factor) isn't diluted. You can purchase an additional package of Brining Mix, and combine that with the kit to make more brining liquid for a larger bird.
Can I use the mix to brine other protein?
Even though we call it a Turkey Brining Kit, you can absolutely use it to brine other types of protein you may be cooking up—roast chicken, pork roast, pork chops, tofu perhaps? Simply determine how much liquid will be needed to submerge the protein and measure out how much mix you’ll need from there. Here are some simple guidelines:
- Use about 1½ heaping cups for 1 gallon liquid. This is best for smaller poultry like a whole chicken.
- Use about 3/4 heaping cup for ½ gallon (2 quarts) liquid. This is best for smaller poultry pieces, pork roast, pork chops.
What types of things do you brine? Share your brining successes by tagging us with @savoryspiceshop on Instagram