This simple extra step in preparing your turkey will make a WORLD of difference!!  Long story short, thanks to the process of osmosis, the cells of the turkey will retain the brining solution in the muscles– even during cooking!  This will result in your turkey meat turning out juicy, tender, and infused with flavor every time.  There are many different ways to brine poultry meat.  Below is the super simple method that I use every year. 




About a cup of COARSE KOSHER SALT, on a plate or in a cup…in a place where it’s easy to access because your hands will be messy from touching the turkey.


A CONTAINER or BUCKET– ideally one that is not too wide, but deep enough that you can completely submerge your turkey in it… AND it needs to fit in your fridge too.  (A food-safe, clean and sanitized 5 gallon bucket works well.)



The day before Thanksgiving, unwrap your thawed turkey in a clean kitchen sink.  (I usually cook a 12 pound turkey and plan for my turkey to soak in the brine for 12 hours.)  Take out the giblets/neck and place them in a ziploc bag.  Keep them in the fridge to use for tomorrow’s gravy.  Rinse off your turkey, inside and out.

Using your hands, grab the salt by the handful and rub it all over the turkey, inside and out, in every nook and cranny.

Place the salted turkey into your clean bucket, breast side down.  Fill it with ice cold water JUST until it covers the turkey.  You do not want to water down the salt too much.

Place the bucket in your fridge.  Flip your turkey halfway through.

The next day, after it’s been soaking for 12 hours, remove the turkey from the bucket and place it in a clean kitchen sink.  Rinse your turkey THOROUGHLY, inside and out to get rid of the salt.  Pat it dry with a clean towel or multiple paper towels.  Your turkey is now ready to prep for roasting!  (See our Thanksgiving Rosemary Turkey recipe.)  Be sure to NOT add more salt as you prep/roast your turkey, as the brining process has already infused the turkey with enough salt.



As I mentioned before, there are many ways to create a brine for turkey.  Another method is to mix/boil a variety of ingredients, including the salt, to create the brine and THEN putting the turkey into the solution with ice in your large bucket.  There are so many flavor combinations you can throw into your brine!  Example: Alton Brown’s method: 

IF your turkey is just TOO BIG to fit in your fridge, you can use a cooler instead.  In this case, you will want to make a boiled brine solution, as mentioned above, and be sure to make enough that the turkey will be mostly covered with it in the cooler.  To use a cooler, first make sure it is completely cleaned and sanitized.  Create your brine according to whatever recipe you want and let it cool.  Then pour it into the cooler, along with the appropriate amount of ice or ice water, then place your turkey in breast side down.  To maintain a fridge-like temperature of 40F degrees, fill a few gallon size ziploc bags with ice and toss that in with the turkey.  Switch the ice out of the bags as often as needed to maintain the temperature.  You want to use ice in bags so the brining solution doesn’t get watered down.  Don’t forget to flip your bird over halfway through the brining time.