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Brining a turkey



I have a turkey in the freezer I purchased for the holidays, but we never used it because we went to my sister's house instead. I do need to fix it and would love to use a brine. I've heard of a brine that you use as the turkey defrosts. Has anyone tried this method?


This is something that I have never done before but have heard of others that do it all the time. I would be interested in a good recipe for this if anyone pops in here with one.


Nec timeo, nec sperno
I base my brines off of Alton Brown's. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

I like a honey flavor, especially when I'm doing turkey legs, so I add a lot of honey to the brine. I play around with it to try and get different flavors too. I really want to try and do a spicy brine one day.


Jason, this recipe looks fairly easy. I've never bought allspice berries before, but I do go to Raleigh once a week and can check in several specialty grocery stores that have virtually everything. Thank you for sharing this recipe.


I have never actually brined a turkey before. Jason thank you for sharing your recipe, I may just have to give it a try next time I roast a turkey.


I haven't done it yet, but I've heard so many people rave about this method of cooking a turkey that I think I'll give in and try it this Thanksgiving. It's supposed to make the turkey incredibly moist and I'm all for that.

The Freshness