Holiday Turkey Brine: Part Two – Brining the Turkey

In my previous post, Holiday Turkey Brine, I provided a recipe for a turkey brine mixture that can also be turned into a gift. Today I am sharing the process I use for brining the turkey.

Instructions For Brining a Turkey (up to 20 pounds):

  1. Start with a fresh turkey – one that has not been previously frozen. Or minimally, find one that has not been injected with a sodium solution. If your turkey has already been infused with sodium or is kosher (see caption below) make sure it is gluten free and reduce the total brining time.

    Fresh Kosher Turkey from Trader Joe's - The koshering process consists of soaking the poultry in unsalted water for half an hour and then "packing" it in salt for about an hour, so it has been partially brined.

  2. Remove the wrapping, take out the bags of giblets/neck from inside and rinse the turkey.
  3. Place the bird inside one turkey brining bag or two turkey-sized oven bags or a heavy duty zip-top bag. (NOTE: Bags made specifically for brining turkeys are tougher but they are also more expensive.  As an alternative I double-bagged a turkey-sized oven bag and placed it in a roasting pan to ensure against leaks.)
  4. Add turkey brine dry mixture and fresh ingredients (garlic, orange peel, fresh rosemary, orange juice and honey) to a stock pot with one gallon of water and bring to a boil (stirring occasionally).
  5. Remove the pot from the heat. (The aroma will be intoxicating!)
  6. Add one gallon of cold water to the pot and allow to cool completely.
  7. Pour the brine mixture over the turkey inside the bag(s).
  8. Seal up the bag tightly and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. (Some people recommend one hour per pound)
  9. Ideally you will flip the turkey part of the way through the process to ensure even treatment.

In my next post I will show how I roasted the brined turkey.

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7 thoughts on “Holiday Turkey Brine: Part Two – Brining the Turkey

  1. Pingback: How to Roast a Brined Turkey - Paleo Spirit

  2. This looks awesome…but my turkey IS injected with Sodium. I decided last minute to have my own Thanksgiving & the 49 cents/pound at the grocery store was hard to resist! Should I still go for it w/this recipe? Thanks!

    • The turkey I used was “kosher” which I realized too late was already salted. It worked out for me because I rinsed the turkey really well.
      It does take several hours to properly brine a turkey so it depends on how much time you have before you need to cook it.

  3. On the Brining process you said to use up to 20 lbs. We are having 25-30 people and I was planning on getting a 25 lb turkey. How would I modify it to work with a turkey that big?

    • Hi Jeremy,
      I went back and reread the post for the context of my guideline of up to 20 lbs. I think you can view that as a rough estimate. You could probably get away with using the same recipe for your 25 pound turkey – perhaps add a bit more of everything. If you are using those brining bags it might be tough to fit a 25 pounder in those. But otherwise, I think you’ll be fine. That sure is a big crowd for Thanksgiving! Sounds like fun. Good luck!

  4. OH MY GOODNESS….This is too good. Need to share with all my friends. I practiced on a 11lb turkey. I can’t wait to have it again for Thanksgiving. Thank you for posting this. Can’t wait to try your other recipes:)

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