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brining, I'm so confused!!!


I want to brine my turkey.

There are so many recipes and so many different things to do, I was hoping someone could just give me something simple to follow.

I have water, kosher salt, brown sugar, juniper berries and all spice.

If i couldn't find anything, I am just going to put all that stuff together in a pot, boil it, let it cool, then put it in a cooler with a turkey and ice.

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  1. Find a recipe that tells you exactly the proportion of water to salt so your turkey is not over-salted or under-brined.

    1. Yeah it just comes down to water to salt ratio and then you can add any flavours you want to. Sometimes I put in some apple cider instead of all water or maple syrup instead of all brown sugar, citrus or different herbs and spices. Have fun with it!

      Usually I use a Michael smith brine recipe as a start.


      For example, but he has a few

        1. Yes it's all about the salt/water proportions.

          I sub soy sauce for some of the salt and maple syrup for the sugar.

          1. I started with the Chez Panisse brine recipe and now I go a little crazy. I take about 2 cups of the water and simmer her spice ingredients, but add a sliced orange, lemon, sprigs of sage and thyme, until all is fragrant. Turn off the heat, add the salt and sugar. When it is cool, I add it to the remainder of the cold water and add the turkey. Probably overkill, but everyone comments on how tasty it is.

            1. So no one here thinks like I do that wet brining makes the meat a little mushy? I admit it adds flavor, I just don't care what it does to the consistency and the feeling with every bite that flavored watered comes squishing out.

              I wet brined for a few times yet now I've been dry brining for several years, and use a compound butter between the skin and the meat, and I much prefer the results both in taste and texture. Plus it's a whole lot easier to do. Just salt bird inside and out with course kosher salt. Wrap tightly in a roasting bag in the fridge for three days. Let air dry in the fridge over Wed. night and cook as you like. Delish crisp skin and moist firm meat that taste like turkey, not some mushy turkey/ham hybrid.

              4 Replies
              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                I wet brine all the time and have never had "the feeling with every bite that flavored watered comes squishing out"

                The two musts for me is not to brine for too long, 12-24 hours depending on the size. and the second is to let the turkey rest for another 12-24 hours on a rack in the fridge before roasting. The brining infuses the meat with flavor and moisture. The rest allow for excess moisture to evaporate from the skin so you can still get that deep mahogany crispiness.

                Of course the correct ratio or salt/water is imperative as well.

                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  I do notice a very slight texture difference, but not in a bad way. I only brine for 12-24 hours, and always use large turkeys. I have never planned well enough to leave it rest in the fridge before roasting, but I cooked 2 turkeys without brining before trying a wet brine method and will never go back. Except this week when I am catering for someone and they bought a butterball turkey which nixed my plans. I have had the best flavoured and tasting turkey from the wet brines I have done, and no negative impact on the texture and have had very good reviews from family.

                  Members of my family have severe dairy allergies so I have enjoyed the wet brine, and then stuffing garlic and herbs under the skin, and massaging the bird with olive oil rather then butter. I could use margarine but I have had excellent results with the olive oil.

                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                    i have definitely had that sensation and you don't really realize how much until you try dry-brining. that way you get moist, flavorful meat with the texture of muscle. plus, no buckets of water to juggle in the refrigerator.

                    1. re: FED

                      I might try dry brining at Christmas, I have been fortunate in that I am from Canada so I always just stored the brining turkey in a cooler in the garage, never had to deal with a fridge or anything, that definitely would get annoying.