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Turkey: Thawing & Brining
...in your mind.
Turkey: Thawing & Brining

Turkey: Thawing & Brining

Thawing - You have 2 choices: - Refrigerator Thawing - Keep the turkey in it’s wrapper (I like to put it in a large roasting etc in case it leaks) and thaw breast side up - it will take 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey - Cold Water Thawing - Keep the turkey in it’s wrapper and thaw breast side down, in a bucket, cooler, sink with a stopper with enough cold water to cover the turkey completely. Remember to change the water every 30 minutes - it will take 30 minutes for every 1 pound of turkey Brining - A brined turkey is a juicy, more flavorful turkey. Ideally you want to brine for 24 hours before cooking - but if you don’t have that much time try for at least an hour a pound. Here, you have 2 choices:


    Wet Brine
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons each dried sage & rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups Kosher salt
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled & cut in quarters


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes partly covered
  2. Allow brine to cool completely
  3. Put unwrapped, rinsed turkey (without the bag of giblets etc) into a brining bag (like a huuuuge zip lock) or non-reactive pot and add the cooled brine to cover
  4. (Or, buy a brining kit and follow directions)
  5. Seal bag or cover pot and refrigerate up to 24 hours
  6. Remove from fridge about 2 hours before cooking, rinse, pat dry and roast as usual
    Dry Brine
    (this is preference btw)
  1. Let me just say I’ve done both wet & dry brining, and dry is so much easier with almost no mess and the results are virtually the same.
  2. Unwrap turkey, remove bag of giblets, neck etc and pat dry
  3. Season with Kosher salt - using approximately 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 pounds of turkey - being sure to cover the entire outside and and refrigerate uncovered 24 hours
  4. Remove from fridge about 2 hours before cooking, do not wipe off salt and roast as normal