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Turkey Brine

First Posted: 10/27/2011 4:55 pm Updated: 09/21/2012 1:16 am

Turkey Brine

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total prep
Turn out a moist, flavorful turkey by first soaking it in this brine. Watch the video on how to brine a turkey here, featuring The Culinary Institute of America.



  • Remove the skin from one onion and roughly chop into about 1-inch cubes. Cut the carrot on the bias into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Cut the celery stalk on the bias into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Roll the lemon on a cutting board to loosen its juices, and then cut in half.
  • Fill a large pot with 3 gallons of cold water. Add in onion, carrot and celery pieces. Squeeze the lemon halves into the water, and add lemons to the pot. Add bay leaves, thyme and parsley to the pot, followed by the salt. [Note: if you're making a larger bird or want to make enough brine for two turkeys, the basic ratio of water to salt is 3 gallons of water to 2 ounces of salt.]
  • Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, turn off the heat and remove pot from heat source. You do not want the solution to simmer at all. The brine then needs to cool completely, so either set aside the pot to cool for several hours, or submerge pot in an ice water bath. (The brine must be completely cooled so that when the turkey is submerged in the liquid, the brine does not start to slightly cook the turkey meat).
  • Using a spider ladle or skimmer, remove the vegetables, lemons and herbs from the brine, and add them to an empty 5-gallon container. Then, slowly pour the brine liquid into the container. Lastly, add the turkey to the bucket, submerging it until it's completely covered with the brine liquid. Wrap the container with plastic, and put it in the refrigerator for 12 to 15 hours.
  • After 12 to 15 hours, take out the turkey, pat it dry, and then proceed with roasting.


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