Bringing the brine: learn this technique
Everything you need to know about this essential technique to getting the most flavor and juice out of your whole roasted turkey.
Brining is a method of marinating in seasoned, salted water to increase the moisture content of the turkey. Amazingly, it doesn’t make the turkey taste salty. When done properly, brining makes the meat very juicy, and if seasoning is added to the brining liquid, the flavors are trapped in the meat as well. Our method of “flavor brining” is used to enhance the taste and texture of the turkey.
Equipment & Ingredients
- Clean, food-grade plastic, stainless steel, glass or other heavy-duty container made of non-corrosive material, and large enough to hold the turkey and about 8 quarts of water. (DO NOT use aluminum containers, because they are corrosive.)
- Large, heavy plastic, food-grade bag (such as turkey oven roasting bag)
- Large non-corrosive stock pot
- One fresh or thawed Foster Farms turkey and brine mixture (see “Preparation” instructions below)
- Line brining container with food-grade heavy plastic bag. (DO NOT use garbage or other plastic bags that are not specifically intended for food use.)
- To make brine:
- In large stockpot, mix 8 quarts water and 2 cups kosher salt.
- Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.
- Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar and other desired seasonings (garlic, herbs, and spices).
- Refrigerate brine overnight or until chilled.
- Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity. Rinse turkey cavity and skin under cold water.
- Place turkey in lined container. Add brine. Gather plastic bag tightly around turkey so that the bird is completely covered with brine; squeeze out excess air from bag. Seal bag.
- Refrigerate turkey in brine at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours, following desired recipe.
- Remove turkey from brine; rinse cavity and skin under cool water. Pat dry inside and out. Discard brine.
- Immediately cook turkey according to package directions.
- Always refrigerate turkey and brine.
- Heating the brine solution dissolves the salt and enhances the flavor of any seasonings. However, brine should be cold before adding the turkey, or the meat will absorb too much salt.
- A brine solution guideline: 1 gallon liquid to 1 cup kosher salt, or 1 gallon liquid to 1/2 cup table salt.
- Discard brine after use.
- When stuffing turkey, brine the turkey first. Cook immediately after stuffing.
- If turkey is left in brine too long, it will taste over-seasoned and have a mushy texture.
Honey Garlic Brine
- 8 quarts water
- 2 cups Kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce salt to 1 cup)
- 1 cup honey
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- Bring water and salt to a boil; stir to dissolve salt.
- Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients.
- Refrigerate overnight or until well chilled. Proceed with above recipe.