Brining Turkey Article -
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Brining Turkey

Brining is the secret to a juicy, flavorful turkey.

Why Brine?

Brining makes it moist. Why are brined turkeys so juicy? Salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender-seeming turkey. This means that--despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time--you end up with a juicy bird.

How to Brine a Turkey

The real trick with brining is finding a container that's large enough to submerge the turkey, yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try a stock pot, a bucket, or a roasting pan; if you use a shallow roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine. Place the container on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (so spills won't reach foods below).

The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness.

  • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  • Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Cooking the Turkey

When you're ready to roast, pour off the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast-side up, on a roasting rack.

Proceed with your preferred recipe, but remember that the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt--any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, and no salt should be added to compound butters or spice rubs.

Quick Links

    Oct. 2, 2009 4:52 am
    I have a question about brining. I just read that most turkeys are already brined and if the label says that it contains salt, if you brine it the turkey will be too salty to eat. Is this true? Should I consider brining but with less salt or not brining at all?
    Oct. 7, 2009 9:41 am
    I have never seen a turkey that has already been brined unless it is a "turkey in a bag" type that is already prepared. Any fresh or frozen turkey will need brined.
    Oct. 8, 2009 7:08 pm
    I'm hoping that I saw this recipe here for buttermilk brine for turkey...I do believe it was a video...if anyone has this recipe or know of it I would really appreciate it.....I used it last year and I thought I had a hard copy but...Anyway...this made the turkey so moist..and left only bones...Thanks in advance!!!
    Oct. 21, 2009 6:58 am
    Can someone give me a formula for the amount of time to roast a brined turkey? I recall that last year I brined the turkey for Thanksgiving and it turned out great, but took a lot longer than I expected and we ate hours after we expected. On the other hand, I hear others' feedback that it takes less time to roast brined turkey than non-brined. I will be roasting a 22-pound turkey. Also wondering about the temperature. All the recipes I've seen are for smaller turkeys. Please help - thanks!
    Oct. 22, 2009 8:58 am
    What I have found a brined turkey cooks about 25 to 40 minutes quicker. I cover my bird with foil and once it comes up to temperature (180 degrees) I take the foil off and cook for another 30 minutes. As far as cooking temperature and time. I would suggest 350 degrees and you are right on the border for the weight of yur turkey but you should be looking at 4 hours - 4 hours and 45 minutes. Keep an eye on your temp, that is what will guide you for your bird being ready, basting during the cooking process will help even the browning of the turkey, but if you do not do it you will still have a great bird. Also keep in mind if you put stuffing in your turkey cavity it will take up to an additional hour to cook. Hope this helps!!
    Oct. 26, 2009 11:55 am
    I'm making my first turkey this year and was planning on bining. The problem is that I have several family members that cannot have large amounts of salt. Should I forgo brining or just not include salt when I season the bird?
    Nov. 3, 2009 10:02 pm
    I use a tall kitchen size heavy duty bag to put my turkey in, place it in my picnic ice chest and pour on the cooled brine. It takes two of us to steady it and tie with twist ties, making sure the turkey is immersed. Then surround with ice and you have extra refrigerator space!
    Nov. 5, 2009 5:50 am
    I was wondering how to brine with no extra space available. Thank you KHENLEY for the greatest help so far.
    Nov. 8, 2009 9:10 am
    Alton Brown showed how to brine a turkey in one of those big orange drink coolers like football teams use on the sidelines. Probably 3-5 gallons. You can put ice in the brine and that way you don't have to take up room in the fridge. I brined last year for the first time and will never do it any other way. Juicy and delicious.
    Nov. 9, 2009 10:18 am
    I am having a turkey breast and 6 turkey thighs for my meal. Should I brine the pieces as long as a whole bird?
    Nov. 10, 2009 3:50 pm
    Very helpful im making turkey for the first time this year. Thank You
    Nov. 10, 2009 8:58 pm
    We always brine our turkeys and they are never salty. It is well worth the time and effort you will get raves about your bird. KK...we did two turkey breasts a couple of week ago and did them over night.
    Nov. 11, 2009 7:07 pm
    We brine our turkey in a cooler... the kind you take camping. Add ice daily and it stays plenty cold. We once soaked it in brine for two weeks and it was delicious!
    Nov. 11, 2009 9:00 pm
    If I brine a turkey, can I still cook it in a oven bag?
    Nov. 13, 2009 3:48 am
    has anyone ever stuffed a brined turey? can it be stuffed?
    Nov. 13, 2009 12:09 pm
    I learned this trick will living in England from my local butcher shop one Christmas when I decided to make a Prime Rib roast instead of ham. It applies to any kind of meat you want to roast and works perfectly for brined turkey as well. Preheat oven to 450 degrees for 20-30 min prior to putting the meat in the oven. You want to make sure the oven is really hot and heat is distributed throughout. Roast for 30 -45 min depending on how big the meat is. Turn the oven down to 350 and let the meat cook. The last hour or so, turn the oven down again to 325. This method allows the skin to crisp and the meat to gradually roast. Keep in mind that a brined turkey will cook faster than a non brined turkey. An instant read thermometer is essential.
    Nov. 15, 2009 11:45 am
    I too cook my turkey breast side down however to avoid an ugly bird I turn it back over during the last 20-30 mins of cooking and rub it down with paprika or smoked paprika. Then i let it brown. This will give you a picture perfect bird every time.
    Nov. 15, 2009 7:27 pm
    I always brine my 12-14 lb turkey with 1 lb brown sugar and 1 lb salt for 24-48 hours and then smoke (pecan)at 225 deg for about 10 hours uncovered. The juices squirt out when it is carved and the flavor is unbeleivable. This never fails but it makes for a long night before Thanksgiving!!
    Nov. 17, 2009 2:56 pm
    I also find that my brined Turkeys cook faster. Here are 2 tips from years of brining... Tip #1 When brining, use a large TOUGH bag (like a Ziploc storage bag). After the last of the liquid is in the bag zip/tie it up, then place the bag in a large collendar. Gather the bag's sides up and -- no kidding -- duct tape the neck of the bag up so the turkey is covered in liquid. This way you won't have to rotate it or flip it. Put the collendar in the sink and bird in the fridge overnight. When removing it from the brine, place it in the collender (in the sink) and make a 1" cut in the bottom. The collendar will keep the big stuff from going into the garbage disposal; if your recipe has cloves or whole allspice like mine, add a paper towel under the bag to keep these out of the disposal as well. Just let it empty slowly by itself. Then take the turkey out of the top by removing the duct tape, or cutting the top of the bag off. Tie off the holes and dispose of the wet contents. Tip #2
    Nov. 17, 2009 3:01 pm
    Yes, you can stuff a brined turkey, as long as you rinse it out thoroughly. This might also be why some people's turkeys are too salty. "Rinse thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels." according to my Emirl recipe. :)
    Nov. 17, 2009 8:43 pm
    Over the years I have got Thanksgiving down to a fine science. My brined turkey goes in the oven first thing in the morning after rinsing and patting dry. I stuff the turkey with a rough chopped white onion and a cored organic granny smith apple or two. This makes the juices delicious and the veggies break down into mush. I bake a pie or two a few days before as well as make a spicy cranberry chutney, because I think that cranberry sauce tastes better chilled. A few potatoes are roasted in their skins, the only thing I need to cook the day of, is stuffing and gravy and turkey or a veggie roast. Simple is best.
    Nov. 17, 2009 9:14 pm
    RC I always brine my turkey as well as stuffing it. I then roast it in a Japanese Kamado Pot. I do cut down on the salt in the brining. I rinse the turkey well, the next day before stuffing and roasting. The Kamado Pot has thick ceramic walls and a stuffed 20 lb turkey will take about 4-5 hours.
    Nov. 18, 2009 4:25 am
    Anyone ever DEEP FRY a brined Turkey??
    Nov. 18, 2009 5:27 am
    I have deep fried a brined turkey. I still inject marinade into the turkey before frying. The brining makes a huge difference in how moist the turkey is.
    Nov. 18, 2009 6:59 am
    For thoe of you wondering if you can stuff a brined turkey, is the salt content high enough to put off people on special diets, etc, just remember, a Butterball Turkey is essentially a brined turkey - that's why it tastes soooo good! ("injected" with salt water is what happens). So...NEVER brine a Butterball - it will be WAY too salty! You may stuff a Butterball, so you can stuff a brined turkey. If you can deep fry a Butterball, you can deep fry a brined turkey.(I have never deep fried a Butterball so don't know if they suggest you using one of their turkeys or not for this purpose.) You might want to go to Butterball's web site and check the do's and don'ts for their birds along with the cooking times and temps for ballpark estimates too. As far as what container to use...I found at Williams Sonoma special heavy duty food-safe plastic bags made just for brining!$16 for 4 bags(2 big, 2 smaller) and the large bags will hold up to 23 pound birds!After purchasing these, I found bringin b
    Nov. 18, 2009 9:09 am
    I have deep fried Butterball turkeys before and have had no problem. I do not brine before deep frying. Hope this helps.
    Nov. 18, 2009 9:37 am
    What is the sodium content of the brined bird? Does anyone have any idea? My husband has high blood pressure and we are very sodium conscious.
    Nov. 18, 2009 11:19 am
    can a brined turkey be cooked in a turkey roaster?
    Nov. 19, 2009 10:40 am
    I am using a frozen turkey. Do I need to thaw it before brining?
    Nov. 19, 2009 12:15 pm
    If the turkey is frozen the brine will not work into the meat - so make sure you thaw the bird first.
    Nov. 19, 2009 1:08 pm
    its my first time this year making the turkey...which is better cooking the bird with the breast up or down...wish me luck!
    Nov. 19, 2009 5:49 pm
    I brined a turkey last year and kept it simple with no spices.It was the best turkey I ever had!This year I try the spices.I did it with a chicken yesterday to test the spices and it turned out so darn good I cannot wait until Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 19, 2009 6:37 pm
    The website has a basic recipe that says you can brine a Butterball. It also states that rinsing the turkey after brining is not necessary. That goes against all I've read about brining. Odd.
    Nov. 20, 2009 5:20 am
    I called the Butterball hotline a few years back and they told me I could brine a FRESH Butterball but not a frozen one (unthawed, of course.)
    Nov. 20, 2009 5:22 am
    And yes-- I have brined a fresh Butterball and it turned out great. I also stuffed this Butterball and added salt to the stuffing. I have low blood pressure, so I salt my salt. So I didn't think it was too salty, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE salt...
    Nov. 20, 2009 3:28 pm
    Okay, just got done reading all of the brining suggestions and still have questions. I have a 26 # turkey this year and it's already close to being thawed out!!! It's only Friday!! Can I brine longer than 24 hours if the bird is this big? Should I brine it now and take out of brine in a few days cuz then it will be safer leaving thawed after soaking in salt. It's a honeysuckle white.
    Nov. 20, 2009 7:28 pm
    I bought a "premium basted" turkey. Should I still brine it?
    Nov. 21, 2009 5:48 am
    Responding to GMD--I just saw a recipes for brining with buttermilk on William Sonoma's website; just go to their homepage.
    Nov. 22, 2009 6:24 am
    KLASSY- I use a roaster oven for turkeys but this will be my first year brining and I intend to use the roaster again. I also intend to stuff it and cook it breast side down so it will be quite the experiment! If anyone has any advice please post.
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:49 am
    My hubby brines our turkeys each year. I'd never had one cooked that way until we married. My mom was a roaster (aa dry bird) cooker! I thought it was weird until I tasted it. He also injects it with flavoring. It is SO good, I haven't cooked a turkey in the 26 yrs we've been married. That is his job. We cook the bird in one of those oven turkey bags to help contain the mess. When served, it is all cut off and plated on a serving platter. We don't do the whole ceremonial carving deal. It ends up in pieces anyway! While I was at first disappointed, I learned to love it - We could pass the platter, and everyone could take as much/little of white/dark as they wanted, rather than waiting for a ceremonial slice! The place we live in now has such a tiny kitchen (I think it is Barbie's old one - she upgraded! Ha!) that we literally have no room to put a turkey in the fridge. We'll be doing the cooler this year. (I also have to hide the pies inside the china hutch because we have a cat w
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:52 am
    PS - Something else my hubby does, and I love - We NEVER stuff a turkey! It always kind of grossed me out anyway, when you think of all the blood dripping into the stuffing. I know it cooks a long time, but still, just kind of gross when you think about it. He makes stuffing totally separately from the bird. That way, we don't have problems with funky flavors or poorly cooked stuffing, digging it out of the turkey hiney. I hope folks who have always done the traditional plated bird/carving/stuffing in hiney will break loose and try something new this year. You might have a new favorite tradition!
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:55 am
    Sorry to post so many comments - I keep thinking of other things I should have added! LOL! Also, Hubby puts the turkey in the oven late the night before, and it cooks on a lower temp all night long. Judge the time according to the bird weight, but if you use the oven bags, you can cook them for a long time without basting or them drying out.
    Nov. 23, 2009 10:44 am
    Can anyone give me a rough idea how long I roast an 18lb brined, stuffed, turkey? I know they cook faster than thinking somewhere around 31/2-4 hours? Trying to calculate for side dishes. Thanks.
    Nov. 23, 2009 12:36 pm
    how long do you fry a brined turkey if it cooks faster
    Nov. 23, 2009 12:54 pm
    we had an early thanksgiving and brined & deep fried a 12lb turkey. Took about 45 mins.
    Nov. 23, 2009 1:40 pm
    Why not use a large cooler for brining your turkey, rather than trying to fit a huge container into your refrigerator?
    Nov. 23, 2009 1:47 pm
    what about brining a 9 lb. amish turkey breast? Any ideas? Thanks!
    Kelly D 
    Nov. 23, 2009 4:36 pm
    Do you need to immediately cook a brined turkey? Or can I brine it tomorrow then put a dry salt less rub on it Wed. then cook in Thursday? Also, does anybody know how long to cook a 22 lb. brined turkey?
    Nov. 24, 2009 3:15 am
    I have the same question as Kelly D (I want to brine and then apply dry rub), but I will be deep frying and am also cooking a boneless turkey breast. Can prepare the breast the same way? Thank you!
    Nov. 24, 2009 3:19 am
    One more question: Has anyone ever used "liquid smoke" to give the turkey a smokey flavor? Should I add it to brine or inject in turkey? Appreciate any info. Cheers!
    Nov. 24, 2009 7:55 am
    I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year SO I'm kind of nervous about my first turkey. I have a 16 pound frozen turkey in my fridge, should I put it still frozen in Brine tonight until Thanksgiving morning or do I need to thaw it out first? I'd appreciate any advice!
    Nov. 24, 2009 7:57 am
    I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year SO I'm kind of nervous about my first turkey. I have a 16 pound frozen turkey in my fridge, should I put it still frozen in Brine tonight until Thanksgiving morning or do I need to thaw it out first? I'd appreciate any advice!
    Nov. 24, 2009 9:21 am
    Does the salt have to be kosher or can I use regular table salt?
    Nov. 24, 2009 10:43 am
    Can anyone tell me if they have ever brine a solution injected frozen turkey? I should have done my research before purchasing my bird...
    Nov. 24, 2009 10:43 am
    the salt needs to be there any other kind ;)
    Nov. 24, 2009 11:14 am
    How important is it to use a roasting rack? I just bought a tin foil pan and was planning on using that, but I don't want to go to all the trouble of brining and then mess it up without using the proper pan. I would appreciate any advise!
    Nov. 24, 2009 2:11 pm
    Been dumping whole frozen chicken in brine bucket overnight and roasting it the next day. i use two tablespoons granulated chicken broth spiced in a can from oriental grocery store dissolve in i cup of water and i tbspoon butter to base while roasting in a convection oven works perfect everytime.
    Nov. 24, 2009 2:16 pm
    I called the Butterball hotline. They said for Butterball turkeys, if they are fresh, you can brine them. If they are frozen, it is not recommended because they are injected with a salt/water solution at their plant.
    Nov. 24, 2009 3:36 pm
    My fresh turkey says that it has up to 3% of a natural basting solution of turkey broth, sugar, salt and natural flavoring. Should I still brine it?
    Nov. 24, 2009 3:48 pm
    @PEG I did just see this on Rachael Ray the other day. Don't use a cooler to store your turkey because you can't keep a consistent 32 or below degree temp in a cooler. Put your sodas, juice, tea, ketchup, mustard, that stuff in a cooler instead.
    Nov. 24, 2009 3:50 pm
    @proud2beafoodie I read on this site in one of the brining recipes that you should use kosher or sea salt as table salt has more sodium and is therefore, well, saltier.
    Nov. 24, 2009 9:59 pm
    how long can you brine a turkey? and how long after you take it out does it have to go in the oven? my brine box said 24 hours, does this seem right? i put mine in the brine tonight, plan to remove it tomorrow night (24 hours brine) and cook it thurs aft. sound ok?
    Nov. 25, 2009 8:30 am
    I am going to try brining for the first time this year (2009) and will be using the Citrus Turkey Brine (by MPrado) - I will be submerging the bird breast-side down in a camping cooler (maybe in a bag or not...) for over 24hrs. I then plan to use the advice given here and other places about super-high heat (500°F for 30-45 min. prior to placing the bird in), then stepping down the temperatures. The final 20-30 min. will be for browning the breast-side. Lots of great comments and suggestions on AR, as always! Thank you all for your contributions!
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:38 am
    I've brined my turkey for the past ten years. My favorite brining recipes have involved the use of fruit juices and savory herbs. This year, I used apple cider and cherry juice with rosemary sprigs, peppercorns, and garlic. I prefer to grill my brined turkey. It takes less time than roasting in the oven and gives the skin a rich mahogany color. I can cook my 15 lb turkey in about 4 hours. I always get rave reviews from guests. brined turkey leaves the breast meat so juicy and flavorful.
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:41 am
    Oh, and I use those big plastic paint buckets with a lid from the hardware store to brine a bigger turkey. They're perfect, especially if I'm cooking the turkey at someone else's house, then I can lug it with me.
    Nov. 25, 2009 9:44 am
    I too had the concern about brining a Butterball Turkey. Went to the and found them even suggesting brining and marinating the turkey. So after all the reviews, if Butterball encourages it, then it must be okay! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 25, 2009 11:59 am
    I started brining my turkeys about 7 years ago. I use a 5 gallon bucket for the process. 2 cups of kosher salt, fresh garlic cloves peeled, and 1 cup of honey. I live in Colorado where it's pretty cold so I put the bucket with the lid on it on the patio overnight. When I'm ready to cook the turkey, I drain off the water but reserve the garlic. I then put the garlic under the skin and inside the cavity. Best turkey that we have ever had. So juicy and flavorful all the way to the bone. I also cook my turkey breast down for the first 1.5 hours and then flip it breast side up. The dark meat takes longer to cook. So goooood. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
    Nov. 25, 2009 3:04 pm
    Hi. I planned on brining my Butterball turkey,and was concerned about the turkey being too salty. So I called Butterball and they suggested using less salt and more sugar to avoid an over salty turkey. They said it was not necessary to brine a butterball,but many of thier customers do with great results. Just thought I would pass this information along. :)
    Nov. 26, 2009 12:09 am
    It is the night before thanksgiving and I am out off Kosher salt, is there any way that sea salt will work?
    Nov. 26, 2009 2:25 am
    I would like to know how long after brining can I leave the turkey in the fridge? Or do I need to immediately place it in the oven? My brining time ends at 9am and my guests arrive 4p and the turkey will cook in 2.5 hours. Thanks!
    Nov. 26, 2009 4:26 pm
    Great! Everyone's comments were very helpful for my first brining attempt. It cut the smoking time down from a reported 10hrs to 3hrs and was the most tender, moist turkey we ever had. I used a 20 Qt. plastic tote container for my bird, brest down of course, and think that would work to completely submirge a 10-15 lb. bird, and still be able to fit it in the frige! It also fits in our camping cooler. Good to know if extra side dishes fill up the frige.
    Dec. 11, 2009 12:38 am
    I just discovered dry brining...ala a LAT food article that appeared just before Thanksgiving (2009). It is a superior method. It doesnt have the sponginess that a wet brine produces. You must try it...Excellent taste!!!
    Dec. 23, 2009 5:46 am
    Concerning the container you use for brining....if you have access to a canner. The enamel canning pot, just take the canning rack out. It works great as long as you have an extra fridge or can set it outside.
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:51 am
    can u brine a roasting chicken. My chicken is always dry.
    Aug. 6, 2010 10:53 am
    can you brine turkey parts.I have a small familt.
    Sep. 10, 2010 8:45 pm
    I have never brined a turkey, but this year I certainly will. After reading all the comments about brining, it has to be the best way to have a very moist turkey. Last Thanksgiving, I deep fried my turkey and it was really moist, but I am thinking that if it were brined, it would taste sooo much better.
    Sep. 23, 2010 7:07 am
    1)If I brine my turkey, does that mean I have to adjust my seasonings that I usually use, such as Salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, etc? I would imagine that the brining herbs could conflict with the aromatics I chose to use??? 2)Can dry herbs used in the brine actually absorb into the bird in a cold water brine bath? such as rosemary, sage, peppercorns and garlic??? Thanks
    Oct. 9, 2010 11:38 pm
    We usually have turkey dinners at my mom's however this year we decided it would be at my place. My first turkey dinner all on my own. After reading about brining I decided I would try it. I had to do in my roasting pan so I had keep flipping it but it was worth every minute! Comments from the guest were, "The best turkey I've ever had", "This is Amazing" and the raves continued well after dinner throughout the night. I will be brining ever turkey I make from this day forward, as will those who attended dinner and quizzed me on the "how to". Thank you for the article and the brining recipes...made me a star host!
    Oct. 25, 2010 10:18 am
    SUPER IMPORTANT, THAT I'VE NOT READ ANYWHERE AND IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO must use very little drippings for homemade gravy due to the level of salt. Start with flour and butter and brown up, then use water and drippings, approx 3 to 1.
    Nov. 3, 2010 11:36 am
    Someone here mentions never seeing a pre-brined turkey at the market. You can get one at Trader Joe's, they carry them throughout the holiday season. Its great for anyone that does not have the room to brine a bird in the fridge. Turkey is always juicy and tasty (and Kosher too, best bird I ever had!
    Nov. 3, 2010 11:47 am
    Forgot to mention, the brined turkey I purchase at Trader Joe's is fresh (not pre-cooked) all you do is rinse, and roast. I stuff with granny smith apples and onion. Also you can put some unsaled pats of butter in between the skin and the breast, rub with olive oil and roast at 450 for 20 minutes and then at 325 for the remaining time which depends on the size of your bird, 22lbs will be about 4 hrs and 45 minutes. Baste every hour with chicken or turkey stock.
    Nov. 4, 2010 5:05 pm
    I haven't seen answers to some of the questions I've read so I'm adding my 2 cents to the pot (err...roasting pan in this case). 1) Always use Kosher salt, not table salt for brining any meat. Measurements are VERY different 1 cup of table salt is a lot more 'salt' than 1 cup of Kosher due to the size of the granules. Kosher salt's larger size will have more space between granules than tablesalt. 1 cup salt for each gallon of liquid used for brine. 2) Yes, the bird needs to be defrosted first. 3)Brine for 24 hours if possible (no longer) or at least overnight. 4) The bird can 'rest' after being taken out of the brine (still in fridge) after being rinsed & dryed off for another 24 hours prior to roasting. That 'resting' time also produces a more tender flavorful bird!! 5) I use Apple Cider, dried fruit, dried cranberries, whole cloves and fresh peeled oranges in my brine. The flavors actually come through the roasted bird. 6) Use a roasting rack if possible (not imperative) but it'
    Nov. 5, 2010 4:15 pm
    If I'm buying a 22-23lb frozen turkey(NOT Butterball) and I want to brine it. When should I purchase it to have enough time to defrost it & brine it in time? Also I looked for those big NFL coolers & they're expensive for me. It would take a portion of my dinner budget:) Can I use a big kitchen bag? Any suggestions for a cheaper container?? Please H-E-L-P!
    Nov. 7, 2010 9:07 am
    A caution about baking the stuffing in the bird. This will increase the mass, requiring a longer cooking time and increasing the risk of food-borne illness should the turkey not be cooked long enough even though it "looks done." Most food service professionals and food safety experts strongly recommend baking the dressing separately. (This is the distinction between stuffing and dressing -- stuffing is cooked in the bird, and dressing is baked separately. Otherwise, they are the same dish.) Also, another option for a brining receptacle is one of those five-gallon utility buckets that you can buy at the big-box hardware stores. (Home Depot's is orange and they call it a 'Homer bucket.') Or another possibility, provided you live in a cool climate is a plastic garbage can that you reserve SOLELY for this purpose and plenty of ice to maintain the cold temperature. (you might need to pick up a couple of bags at the convenience store, or get a cooler filled at Mickey-D's). Finally, rem
    Nov. 7, 2010 9:18 am
    cassandra asks: "can u brine a roasting chicken. My chicken is always dry. can you brine turkey parts.I have a small familt." Why, yes you can, cassandra. You can brine (almost) any protein you wish. You can brine a chicken, turkey parts, a pork shoulder, a pot roast, a salmon filet or just about any protein you wish. (I wouldn't recommend trying it with tofu, however.) The main difference will be the amount of brine you need to prepare and the spacce needed for brining your protein. Certain herbs and seasonings work better with certain proteins than with others, so try out different brines for different proteins. The "base brine" will stay the same...1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. (Yes, the extra money for Kosher salt is worth it...even then, a box of Kosher salt is only a couple of bucks.)
    Nov. 10, 2010 7:16 pm
    To Taziaun-I would give the turkey at least 3 days to thaw in the fridge, and if it is not thawing fast enough you can submerge it in cool water and replace the water periodically. I would start the brine early in the evening and leave it over night. You could put it in an unscented plain old garbage bag, or buy a tin foil roasting pan at the dollar store. If you are short on fridge space you could put it in the sink and cover in ice.
    Nov. 11, 2010 1:22 pm
    After reading all the great tips here, I'd like to add a stuffing tip I haven't seen suggested. Maybe I should look at the stuffing recipes & tips page but anyway, my 20 plus yrs cooking Thanksgiving I learned from the generation before me to make the stuffing the night before. That way you are putting cold stuffing in cold bird.We have always put Jimmy Dean sausage in our stuffing. Delish!!
    Nov. 11, 2010 11:39 pm
    I typically brine a 23 lb turkey each year. I find a 5 gallon round trash can from the local hardware store works great for brining. Not much work to fit it into the frig since it holds the bird upright. You need 2-3 gallons of brine in order to keep it submerged. A great thing to do for amazing gravy made from drippings is to put pieces of apple, onion, celery & carrots along with a stick of butter in the breast & neck cavaties before roasting. Don't cram it full, just some loosely inside. Some in the bottom of the roasting pan is good too. Really helps flavor those drippings!
    Nov. 12, 2010 4:22 am
    Can you do a brined turkey in a cooking bag? If so, anything special I need to know? I will do the stuffing outside of the turkey.
    Nov. 15, 2010 7:42 am
    @ kriffer: I have used the cooking bags the last 2 years with a brined turkey. It cooks much faster, I highly recommend using a meat thermometer you can monitor.
    Mrs. K 
    Nov. 15, 2010 2:46 pm
    I've been brining chickens and turkeys for years. Yum! I've used Reynolds Roasting Bags to brine and it is the easiet way. I have even used plastic bags in a styrofoam cooler, and even when it is super cold outside at night, I will leave it in a plastic bag in a bucket on the patio instead of in the fridge if I am short on fridge space. Never have had a problem. They always turn out very moist and tasty!
    Nov. 16, 2010 11:11 am
    I'm looking for the best brine for a turkey that will be deep fried =)
    Nov. 17, 2010 2:23 pm
    We have a 2nd refrigerator in our garage, and I've used the bottom crisper drawer to brine my turkey in the past. Just throw the whole bird in and add the brine. Just be sure to clean the drawer well when you're done!
    Nov. 17, 2010 5:50 pm
    Is there a time/weight chart for cooking a 14lb. brined turkey in an oven bag? I can monitor the heat, but once you put the bird in the oven it's too late to turn back. What if it gets done too early?
    Nov. 17, 2010 10:18 pm
    Ace Hardware sells 5 gallon buckets for around $5. I used it last year and it worked out great in our fridge:)
    Nov. 18, 2010 2:41 am
    Wow!!! This is a lot of great advice. And so accurate too. I've gotten here to this forum a little late; I've been brining and cooking meats and poultry for years and can't think of a thing to add or anything to advise against that hasn't already been mentioned. And, Aunt Tilly, you did great. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!!
    Nov. 18, 2010 8:19 am
    I cook 2 turkeys for about 20 people. I always brine. Luckily I live in Chicago, so I can use my deck as a refrigerator when I brine and I put them in stock pots. I add ice to the water to make sure the bird stays in a safe temp zone, never a problem. But my tip is I brine tuesday night, cook the turkey wednesday, carve and put meat in a large pan, top with broth from drippings etc. and reheat in the liquid the thursday. No need to worry about the turkey. moist juicy and flavorful every year! The side items take long enough to cook. I also make alot of my food the day before. Got it down to a science!
    Nov. 18, 2010 11:30 am
    Thanks for the compliment, yoyo1198!! Greatly appreciated! I start my cooking the weekend before with things I can do ahead. Leaves so much less to do on the big day ~ and far less kitchen mess and stress. One thing I'd love to toss out to everyone is this ~ how do you garnish your turkey platter for presentation?? After 30 years of turkeys, I have yet to find that one 'magic' way that works just the way I want it to. I glean the internet & magazines every year but if you've ever noticed, most photos show the breast side, not the 'rear' view, which is where my dilema is ~ I refuse to put the dressing in that cavity for serving. I've tried grapes, flowers, an artichoke and ignoring the whole empty hole but I really really want to find something to make it resplendent! Anyone have ideas on that??? The bottom of the platter is always lovely ~ but I'm willing to change that too. It's the hind end of the bird that I can't get right. Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 19, 2010 7:52 pm
    What an ingenious idea, brining in the crisper drawer. Thanks for the tip cause we all know one frig is NOT enough holiday time. GREAT IDEA!
    Nov. 20, 2010 8:59 am
    As to the question on brining and deep frying go for it!! Last year used a cooler to brine a 25lbs works great. No more than 24hrs. Brine in what you like as my friend Justin Wilson said. About deep frying out side (have not used the new in door master built yet) be carefull to lower slow into hot oil. Watch that the reaction to water in bird doesn't cause a boil over onto flames. This is known to most local fire dept as the bird that burn't the house down. HAVE A GOOD THANKSGIVING.
    Nov. 20, 2010 8:04 pm
    Last year I brined my turkey (used turkey brine recipe from this site), cooked it in a bag, breast side down and stuffed it... it was AWESOME!! Best turkey and stuffing we ever had!!
    Nov. 20, 2010 10:17 pm
    EEEKKKKK! LOL Been reading how much juicer a brind turkey is and I have never had a dry turkey. I always stuff mine with a homemade bread stuffing w/ onion, celery, sage, salt and pepper. Does that type of stuffing help keep it juicy? I would think it would dry it out more because it would take the juice out? But, I do add lots of chicken broth to the stuffing so it is very moist. I would love to try brining but I am a skeerdy-kat lol
    Nov. 21, 2010 6:52 am
    This is also my first year cooking a turkey and I have a question I haven't seen answered yet.. Is it absolutely necessary to cook a brined turkey breast side down???? Is this something specific to brined turkeys??? I plan to cook mine in an oven bag. Actually my family has always cooked our turkey in an oven bag, breast side up without any problems.. and in fact I've heard a few disasters stories of breast side down turkeys not cooking all the way. Anyway the point is, I don't want to go through the hassle of flipping over a 25 lb turkey if I don't have to, especially if it's something I can skip since I'm cooking it in an oven bag. Since I've never brined a turkey before, I just want to make sure I won't be dealing with major consequences because I didn't cook my brined turkey breast side down... :-\
    Nov. 21, 2010 11:31 am
    Is it still OK to stuff the bird if it has been brined?
    Nov. 21, 2010 1:25 pm
    I have two 20 lb turkey's to cook. Yes, I am having that many people over!! Can I cook them in a roaster oven? I plan on brining them. How long do I cook that much turkey?
    Nov. 21, 2010 1:35 pm
    Okay, What was I thinking? I am cooking one turkey in oven in a roasting pan, bagged and one in the roaster oven.
    Nov. 21, 2010 3:29 pm
    To Floren05: No, it is not necessary to cook a brined turkey breast side down. I've never roasted a turkey that way although it used to be a way of ensuring jucier white meat. However, it makes for an ugly looking turkey in my opinion. Not necessary to use a roasting bag either. You can, but if you do, the turkey generally falls off the bone when being removed from the bag from what I hear ~ roasting a brined turkey breast side UP and just in a disposable foil grocery store pan will be sufficient for an incredibly moist flavorful bird. Both breast down and bag methods are generally meant for unbrined meat. The bag is to hold fluids in an enclosed area, just like a lid on a pot. Your meat is really 'roasted' with a bag. Roasting is an open container and dry, not moist heat. Bags are great if you don't want to bother basting or brining. Have a wonderful holiday~ Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 22, 2010 10:58 am
    Oops ~ on the above post, I meant to say that meat is NOT really 'roasted' in a bag ~ sorry ~ Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 22, 2010 11:50 am
    I will be brining an 18 pound stuffed turkey, then cooking on a Big Green Egg at 350 degrees. How long should this take to cook? The Big Green Egg is a ceramic cooker, similar to a grill.
    Nov. 22, 2010 2:02 pm
    Sticklerj ~ I went out to Big Green ~ they have full instructions for grilling a full turkey. Essentially, it's the same as an oven, 15-20 minutes per pound. Nice to be able to free up your inside oven for side dishes!
    Nov. 23, 2010 3:12 am
    Maple Brined Turkey-- Better Homes "Best Loved recipes"..Got this after purchasing this book and happened to stumble on to it one day and tried it out a few years back..Absolutly Awesome never had turkey like this before and it blew our guests minds.. I had no idea it would be this great!! Okay well to start you need a 10 quart or larger kettle or in my case went to the cleaning section of the grocery store and bought a small plastic garbage can strictly for this recipe only..I have to recalculate the directions every time since this recipe is for a 10lb turkey..I always buy 20lb so I just double everything..Use 1 1/2 gallons of water 1 1/2 cups of pure 100% maple syrup..The fancy expensive kind (found at all grocery stores) 1 cup of course salt (2 cups if using Kosher)which I use not as salty 3/4 cup of brown surgar light or dark I prefer dark and 10lb turkey.. Note calls to marinate 12-24 hours but since I use a bigger turkey I actually marinate 3 days..I found that one of the bes
    Nov. 23, 2010 11:12 am
    my son just brought the (frozen) turkey over for me to cook thursday!Hope hope it will be grilled and ready by 1p.m.thursday. can i thaw it in the brin? please HELP!
    Nov. 23, 2010 12:07 pm
    No! Don't thaw in the brine. If you are in a hurry to thaw, submerge the frozen turkey (still in the bag) in cold water. Change the water every half hour. When the turkey is thawed, cook immediately or brine. The thawing process takes roughly a half hour per pound. (e.g. 8 hours for a 16 pound turkey) Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 23, 2010 1:18 pm
    Aunt Tilly could you give the quantities for the fruited brine that you use?
    Nov. 23, 2010 5:10 pm
    Ladyg~ I typically buy the largest bird I can find, 22+ lbs, so it needs several gallons of brine depending on the container you use. I start with 3 gallons of Apple Cider (juice is fine but I like cider). Just put 1 gallon of the liquid in a large pan on the stovetop with all 3 cups of Kosher salt. Just warm until the salt is desolved. I buy these bags of 'Fruit Bits' by Sunmaid ~ it's a medley of dried fruit in very small pieces. Not all grocers carry them. If yours does not, you can mix some cut up dried apple, dried cranberries, dried peaches, apricots & raisins to make about one cup total when cut & mixed. I also cut up fresh oranges (4 or 5) and squeeze the juice into the brine and throw in the juiced segments, too. If you want to keep it simple, just add the dried cranberries and fresh oranges. Add 1 tablespoon of whole cloves. Add a few peppercorns 10-12), 2 bayleaves and that's it. Let the warm gallon of liquid & salt cool in the frig. Add the other juice stir to combine t
    Nov. 23, 2010 5:18 pm
    Thanks so much! Have a great holiday! I'm going to use a friends electric roaster (mom used to have one in the 60's) so this will be a totally different bird this year....
    Nov. 23, 2010 10:00 pm
    so, when you use a thermometer, do you keep it in the bird the whole time in the oven? Or do you check the temp throughout? btw, thanks for all the brining tips. I tried it about 6 years ago and haven't done it since. My husband always says, "why dont you soak your turkey again, it was AWESOME!"
    Nov. 23, 2010 11:28 pm
    Ando~ A couple years ago I received a digital thermometer as a gift that has one end which is left in the meat and a coil that extends outside the oven into a monitor so I can see the temperature any time I like without opening the oven door. Employs a timer as well with an alarm. I absolutely love it. Other than that, it would depend on the thermometer as to whether or not you can leave it in the meat. Even a few hours in a brine will improve your turkey ~ it's worth the effort even if just a plain water/salt brine. Happy Thanksgiving! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 24, 2010 2:49 am
    Maple brined turkey--"Best Loved recipes"..Got this recipe after buying this book and happened to stumble on to it one day and tried it out a few years back..Absolutly Awesome never had turkey like this before and it blew our guests minds..I had no idea it would be this great!!Okay to start you need a 10 quart or larger kettle or in my case went to the cleaning section at the grocery store and bought a small plastic garbage can strictly for this recipe only..I have to recalculate the directions every time since this recipe is for a 10lb turkey..I always buy a 20lb turkey so I just double everything..Use 1 1/2 gallons of water 1 1/2 cups of pure 100% maple syrup(the fancy expensive kind found at all grocery stores)1 cup of course salt(Meaning Kosher or sea salt only)3/4 cup of brown surgar golden or dark (although I prefer dark little stronger I think)and a 10lb turkey..Note calls to marinate 12-24 hours but since I use a larger turkey I actually marinate 3 days..I watched a show on the
    Nov. 24, 2010 3:00 am
    Reposted above recipe due to the fact I left out a important safety hint and I had the salt down wrong..(Course salt= Kosher or sea salt only)"No table salt"..
    Nov. 24, 2010 6:32 am
    Many people have posted about brining in a trash bag or a bucket. Just a word of warning... make sure the container is safe for food prep. Many bags or buckets have harmful chemicals and even lead which can be released into the turkey, making it dangerous. Please be careful.
    Nov. 24, 2010 12:22 pm
    KristenS, that's exactly my thought as I read this page. Not sure using a plastic paint bucket or garbage can is very safe.
    Nov. 24, 2010 2:16 pm
    My garbage can has a 5 on the bottom which means it is food safe by food handling standards and is made of polyproplene which is what tupperware and rubbermaid or made of.. (food safe)..To check to see if your containers are safe please go to the following web site under cooking topics "plastic safe containers for brining"
    Nov. 24, 2010 3:18 pm
    Use a large turkey sized oven bag inside the bucket, its large enough to hold even a large turkey with the brine and is strong enough to hold it all. That way you don't have to be concerned with making sure you have food grade plastic.
    Nov. 25, 2010 4:32 am
    This is our first year both brining and frying our turkey. Very excited to try and appreciate all the tips posted here. Question however... when frying a turkey, you obviously will not have pan drippings for gravy recipes. Does anyone have any suggestions for making a great gravy with just the giblets from the turkey, without actually using the meat from the giblets?
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:05 am
    Tammy~ I can't stand giblets so they never go near my gravy ~ that said, you really can't make turkey gravy without turkey..... so here's what I do. This takes time (several hours). Roast the neck with some onion, carrot, and celery sprinkled with garlic powder or garlic salt and drizzled with oil (olive is best but veg oil works too) in an oven @400 for 2 hours. Deglaze the roast pan with some hot water or wine. Place the liquid and veggies into a large pot and add more water to make 3-4 cups. Add some peppercorns, bay leaves, etc for flavor. Whatever you like for flavoring. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a high simmer and cook until it's reduced to 2 cups liquid. That should take some time. An hour or two. It needs that time for the flavor to come out from the roasted meat/veg. When done, strain the liquid to remove the neck, veggies, etc. Put the liquid into a 2 qt pot. Use this as your base for the gravy. If you don't know how to continue from here, let me know. It's only 7:00
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:09 am
    HELP! Sudda looked sooner but just discovered that the turkey my brother bought over to roast today is a 20 lb BRINED bird from Trader Joe's. I have no idea how long to cook a brined turkey. Dinner's at 5pm. Anyone out there can help me today?? Frantic in the Kitchen Lizzy
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:20 am
    It's okay, really. The main thing to remember is to NOT use any salted butter in it or ON it!!! Unsalted ONLY~ if you use butter at all. Other than that, there's no difference between that and a regular unbrined turkey. Roast as you normally would. Check the label to see if the brine they used contained any sugar of any kind. If so, the skin may brown much earlier than usual so be sure to watch for that. Keeping it covered with a foil tent will help. Happy Thanksgiving, Lizzy! I think you'll find a brined bird is much jucier and tender!! Write back if you need to~ Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:36 am
    Thanks Aunt Tilly. That's very helpful.I was worried it would cook faster. I'm not a wiz in the kitchen. Wished you lived next door!
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:43 pm
    Mine has never seemed to cook faster. I have a digital thermometer now so that really helps. This year I'm trying an trick I learned a few years ago but stopped using. I've covered the turkey with 2 layers of cheesecloth that has been dipped in melted butter (unsalted of course) and turkey stock. I then have the foil tent over that. this way, the skin is not browning too fast, I can baste right through the cheesecloth too. It's working GREAT so far!! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 26, 2010 8:21 am
    I have the answer RE a container for brining a turkey. Use an enamel kettle used for canning ! It's food safe, certainly big enough to hold my 20# bird. Had to re-arrange the fridge shelves to fit the kettle, and you'll need to eat your Wheaties to lift out of fridge. No rotating, no ice-packing. You could even leave in the wire rack (that lifts hot jars of tomatoes out of the water bath) to lift the bird.
    Nov. 27, 2010 4:49 pm
    Doing Thanksgiving dinner late this year, I was planning on brining my turkey (I have never brined before) but noticed that my fresh turkey contains up to 3% of a natural basting solution - including salt, sugar etc. Does this mean I shouldn't brine at all - or is it possible to prepare a brine with a reduced amount of Kosher salt? My bird will soak for approx. 8 hrs. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
    Dec. 2, 2010 6:13 pm
    I have never felt my turkey was too salty after brining. It is always wonderful. I also put mine in trashbag with the water, and then put it in a cooler and pack it with ice. That way I don't have to lose space in my fridge!
    Dec. 21, 2010 6:36 am
    I have never brined a turkey before but have heard about it and now after reading all the comments here I will definitely give it a try. Fortunately I found this in time to defrost my bird and do for Christmas. I too wish Aunt Tilly lived next door to me or I was going to her place for Christmas. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.
    Jan. 22, 2011 7:08 pm
    I've never heard of brining. What is it and how do you do it with chicken? Thank you for any information you can give me.
    Feb. 9, 2011 9:55 am
    It may be that you need clear out your Internet cache. Go to "Tools>Delete Browsing History" at the top of Internet Explorer's window. Choose the full delete so that cookies and other applets will be removed from your cache. "Delete All".
    Mar. 25, 2011 4:55 pm
    I just happened to pull up this article again and saw your wonderful compliments! Thank you so very much ~ can't tell you how many people I've taught about brining & turkey roasting. I do hope they turned out delicious for you!!! Aunt Tilly
    Oct. 11, 2011 6:39 am
    Oct. 26, 2011 4:12 pm
    ALOHA,can someone pleaseeee tell me how to make homemaid gravy with the the juice when my turkey is done cooking...mahalo :) happy hoildays to all!! god bless*
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:51 am
    I have been brineing my turkey for several years now- and ALWAYS get extreme complaments on my turkey. Some tips you might find helpful: I buy a styrofoam cooler each year 3$ to brine. I wash it fill it with 1/2 ice water 1/2 apple juice fresh turkey heybs, slices of oranges, apples and cranberries add the brine ( I use a boxed smoked apple flavor). I add ice all night as needed. I brine for 12 hours because we get the biggest turkey we can find. Don't forget to cut the skin around each leg to let the fluid get to the meat and put the turkey in upside down (breast down). I rub 1/2 fat butter on the turkey to cook and put a pear and more fresh herbs into the cavity. I also use a baking bag. This method is fool proof! Happy Holiday season to all.
    Nov. 2, 2011 11:45 am
    Hello Abigail ~ I would be a little leery of the styrofoam leeching chemical into the brine especially with the salty water. I use a plastic tub for mine that is cleared for 'food grade use' which means it has a '5' on the bottom of the tub. Cost me $5 at the local hardware store and I can wash & reuse any time I want to brine a cut of meat or poultry. Have a wonderful holiday!! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 2, 2011 2:30 pm
    Hi again, Abigail~ out of curiosity, I went online to see what I could find about using a foam ice chest for brining (without lining it with a food safe bag). What I found really comes down to this. It's not a great idea without a lining. The reason is more from the acidic ingredients used in the brine than the chest itself. The citric acid in the apples, oranges and cranberries & juices and salt will break down the styrene foam container. As an example, completely by coinsidence, I walked out to my company break room which has fresh fruit snacks for us and picked up an orange to slice. We have black plastic utensils used almost everywhere these days for our use as well. By the time I had completed the first cut around the orange, it had some black marks from the knife discoloring the peel where it had been cut. By the time I was done making 2 more circles with the knife cutting around the fruit, I had black orange juice on my fingers. We don't normally have oranges so this was a st
    Nov. 4, 2011 10:52 am
    I always prep my turkey the night before so I can wake up and just throw it in the oven. I'm wondering if I can brine it 8 hrs. before prepping it, and still be able to prep it the night before without it tasting funky??? I just stuff with herbs and veggies, not bread stuffing, and do an herb butter under the skin. I really like having that done when I wake up. Would like to try brine this year if that won't mess it up. Any thoughts?
    Nov. 6, 2011 8:58 am
    I have always used cheese cloth to cover my turkey to get that super juicy flavor (and have always had an extremely juicy- flavorful turkey- of course you have to baste baste baste!), I'm thinking of trying the brining this year but am I little worrisome of the salt content- how much saltier does it make it? Also, I read in the comments above that it is very tender- how tender? Like does it fall apart when you carve it or does it hold some strength to make nice slices? Any info would be really great! I'd like to try something new this year but I'm a little apprehensive
    Nov. 8, 2011 3:57 am
    You're living in the 19 hundreds if you fry a turkey over a big fire - there are now electric turkey fryers just like french fry fryers check it out Butterball Indoor Turkey Fryer Reviews
    Nov. 9, 2011 1:30 pm
    I am cooking a thanksgiving luncheon for my customers and this year I bought a boneless turkey roll. just don't have the time to cook and debone 4 turkeys.Can I brine this? and for how long? I brine my chicken and pork all the time. any suggestions?
    Nov. 10, 2011 3:22 am
    How many days does it take to thraw a 12-16lbs turkey? If I want to brine it, how long does it take to bake and under what temp?
    Nov. 10, 2011 2:05 pm
    this thread rocks. thanks so much to all who posted. As I am finding the breast down n flip method too hard on the back, this year I'll just brine! Aunt Tilly, you're a Queen! Happy Holidays, all!
    Cj Texas 
    Nov. 11, 2011 5:29 am
    We have fried our turkeys for YEARS after seasoning them with cajun seasoning rub for 3 days. Then I heard about brining. The turkey fried great, but didn't have the "kick" that the rubbed turkey had. SOOOOO ... Into the brining water I added the cajun rub (about 2 cups) -- minus the salt. WOW!!! It worked great!!! I put my turkey in a bag, fill it with the liquid, tie it off and put it in a cooler with ice. No need to inject with anything else. I do give it a coating of dry rub inside and out before frying. When I fry the turkey it goes in breast down (it's much easier to pull it out of the pot by the "ankles". It does cook a little faster (about 3-3 1/2 min per pound) but the turkey will start to float when it's done. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer immediately after removing from the greast. If it doesn't read 160, put it back in to cook for a few more minutes. No longer than it takes, it's easy to visit with guests around it and keep an eye on it
    Nov. 11, 2011 12:11 pm
    Well, let's see if I can answer a question or two. Ally~ my turkey makes beautiful smoothly cut breast slices when brined, roasted & allowed to rest for a while prior to carving. I've also seen a technique with works well and that's carving off the ENTIRE breast half, laying it on a platter and carving slices cross-wise. With a 23+ lb turkey, the length-wise slices tend to get too large for plates loaded with so many other good things to eat. Here's my time frame for brining/roasting ~ Make brine Monday evening, allow to cool in fridge all night, add defrosted, rinsed turkey Tuesday mornng. Wednesday morning remove turkey from brine, RINSE WELL inside & out. Return him to fridge until Thursday morning. That morning, allow Tom to rest in room temp for 1 1/2 hrs prior to roasting. Stuff cavities with UNSALTED butter chunks, onion, carrot, celery chunks. Add some veggies to the pan too. I make my own turkey stock for basting the day before (roast the neck & veggies like I've described
    Nov. 11, 2011 12:19 pm
    I probably should have explained the 'day of rest' for good ole Tom on Wednesday. The salt continues to work on the fibers in the muscle making it more tender than if roasted immediately after rinsing. I've done both ways and prefer to have that extra day. No need to roast breast side down, either. It'll be just as juicy breast up. Prettier. too. As for the question on brining a roast, I think it would be fine ~ similar to a port roast, unless it has a high 'salt-added' remark on the label when purchased. The question of how long to thaw depends on a few factors but remember, even after thawed, it's fine in the fridge for a day or two. I'd allow 3 days for the 16-20#, 4-5 days for larger. I actually will move my temp to a lower setting because a large bird will make the fridge even colder for a day or two. Aunt Tilly
    S Woelfel 
    Nov. 11, 2011 1:36 pm
    Aunt Tilly - In your first Nov 11 post you said you use a cut up potato to absorb the saltiness when starting the gravy. Do you mean put a potato in the pan when you are cooking the turkey or put it in the pot when you are making gravy? Sorry, I'm confused. This is my first time cooking my own bird!!
    Nov. 11, 2011 2:10 pm
    I wrap my stuffing in foil & put it in the bag with my turkey, the stuffing has the same flavor as the "in bird" stuffing would have, if I have a large group I put the stuffing in a cassarole dish, cover it & bake in a pan of water to keep it from getting crusty.
    Nov. 13, 2011 3:45 pm
    Wow, those are all great ideas, I will use a Raynolds bag and a butterball frozen Turkey.Aunt Tilly, can you please tell all of us how you make your GRAVY???
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:29 am
    Hi S Woelfel~ my reference was for using a cut up potato in the pot on the stove while the drippings/stock are being reduced to make gravy. Remember to remove the potato before it's totally soft or you'll have mashed potato built right into the gravy! :-) I suppose you could put some potato into the roasting pan as well but I have a feeling it would work differently than in the stove pot simply due to the cooking method. I've not tried it but I think I will this year. I have also found that just a touch of mustard will take some saltiness out of the gravy as well. Using UNSALTED butter for basting is the best solution. The past several years, I've made my own turkey stock and started my gravy from that rather than pan drippings. A little more work but well worth it. I've posted previously about roasting the neck with veggies and making stock. It free up a lot of that 'last minute to-do things' too since you can start gravy without waiting for the drippins. It's easy to add some dri
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:34 am
    Could I stuff my Turkey with stuffing if I do this? If so, how would I? What about the carrots, onions....? Do I mix the water and ice with the broth mixture?
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:36 am
    Would I need to add stock while cooking the turkey still? Would I still bast? (Sorry about the spelling...)
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:00 am
    Hello Ingrid~ I surely thought I'd posted on how I make my gravy but you're correct ~ I have posted on brining, making stock, dressing but not gravy~ oops........ Here's what I do. As you already read, I roast the neck & veggies as soon as I can get the neck out of the bird. Since I'm brining the bird, that would be Monday evening. Cut up large chunks of onion, celery & carrot. Sprinkle with just a little garlic powder or garlic salt (easy does it from the garlic standpoint, not to mention the salt), drizzle w/olive oil and roast at 425 for several hours. Veggies can get VERY dark and it's fine. Put veggies in a large stock pot, pour in 6-8 cups of water, add bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, oranges, apples, dried fruit (or whatever you like), cover and bring to a boil. Take it down to a low boil then a high simmer for several hours. Your stock should be richly flavored & colored from the roasted items. When done, you should have 4-5 cups of rich stock to use for dressing, gravy, etc.
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:02 am
    I guess I did leave out the part where you strain out the veggies & neck when the stock is done. I usually store in frig or freezer with them IN, and when ready for cooking, stain them out. I like to glean all the flavor out of them that I can!! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 14, 2011 3:57 pm
    I love the deep fried idea We have tried this a few times and we have a big family I found the meat was delish but we had to buy a special frier for the turkey and fix it outside. I didn't brine it much before cooking although I dont see why you couldn't. I tend to use the oven bag after to bake the turkey after the brine. I am glad to see that people are watching thier salt content. I would think although it will make the turkey a bit saltier this is why the turkey is jucier because whan you look at fluid electrolyte balance with cells ect. water follows salt..but anyway thats for biology class not my thanksgiving table. I dont think it would raise the salt level to the point it would be a concern..if they are watching salt all year round a little extra a few times a year shouldn't make a big difference especially since they will be eating a serving or two of turkey (i dont think they are going to eat the whole bird) and if the side items are limited on salt as well it shouldn't be a
    Nov. 19, 2011 11:18 am
    I already bought my frozen turkey that does have some injected salt and seasonings. Now I am worried that I should not brine it! What do you think? Usually, I find that the drippings from the injected turkey are not very salty.
    Nov. 19, 2011 3:10 pm
    I have the same issue as Marylandgirl, went to 4 stores and could not find a turkey that did not contain seasonings. I am very unhappy, living in a new town so couldn't shop where I know I could have found an unseasoned turkey, now not sure if I should brine it or not.
    Nov. 20, 2011 10:28 am
    I use liquid smoke in my brine and its amazing!!! I brine my turkey for at least 5 days in the fridge.
    Nov. 21, 2011 8:58 am
    I have a two part question because I am so confused =/ 1. Can I brine a turkey in a pot rather than a bag? 2. I am planning to brine my turkey and then cook it (unstuffed) in a bag. I have seen a lot of comments saying that a brined turkey cooks faster as well as cooking in a bag. So my question is how long should I cooked a 22 lb. brined turkey in a bag? Thanks so much (:
    Nov. 21, 2011 11:23 am
    Most, if not all of your frozen turkeys contain an injected salt solution. I have brined several different brands of turkey (prefer Honeysuckle White) and have never had an issue with it being too salty.
    Nov. 21, 2011 1:17 pm
    One question and one comment: My grandmother always used to put an apple, a carrot, a stalk of celery, and an onion into the cavity when cooking her turkey. Does this help flavor the bird of is it just for flavoring drippings for gravy? I do not make gravy with any drippings so I am curious if I still ought to be doing this or should I just be sure to keep the inside of the bird moist with just an apple or two? Comment: I understand there is a lot of concern about keeping the turkey cold enough while brining but salt is a preservative; couldn't this POSSIBLY decrease the risk of any problems? I personally wouldn't count on it but nor do I think I would loose sleep over using a cooler with adequate ice outside in lieu of the fridge because of the salt.
    Nov. 22, 2011 8:36 am
    Ccelis1983 ~ if you can find a pot large enough to submerge a 22# bird in a few galons of brine, go for it!!! It simply has to be a 'food safe' container. There's lots of info on the web for describing what constitutes 'food safe' but a pot as you've stated, I'm assuming is already a food container. I typically use a 10 gallon container for brining my big bird. I would say to NOT use an aluminum pot however, there are properties with aluminum that the acidty of the salt may affect the brine. But you can verify that online as well I'm sure. As for your question on whether it will cook faster in a bag, I don't know. Never have done a turkey in a bag. That's not roasted turkey, it's basically a steamed turkey. I do hear it's tender, juicy and meat falls off the bone ~ but I like my roasted turkey. The smell throughout the house of it in the oven is very necessary for me to feel it's Thanksgiving. So is basting it as it roasts. Just says 'home' to me. Maybe I'll try one on an non-ho
    Nov. 22, 2011 11:04 am
    I just wanted to say thank you to all who post on this site. I have spent the last hour reading all the tips and suggestions and have gained a great deal of ideas. Have a wonderful holiday with whatever you decide to do with your turkey.
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:00 pm
    I have read and reread the comments on this site and appreciate the variety of brining methods. This is my first time to use this process and I am a little nervous as to how it is going to turn out. Just took my 13lb. turkey out of the brine after 24 hrs, rinsed and dried. Now it is in the refrig. Thanks to Aunt Tilly's suggestion of giving the turkey some time to rest, I won't be up until the wee hours tonight cooking. I brined my turkey in my 7 qt.canner. Hope that was okay. Used the citrus brine recipe on this site. If it doesn't turn out tomorrow, there is always time to do a ham for Thurs. Thanks for all the input.
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:44 pm
    ARGHH, fortunatly for my first tday this year it's just for my hubby and 4 young kiddos. So when my turkey fails and nothing turns out we can head to Ihop for pancakes! That's my backup plan. But I have to say Aunt Tilly I think you may have helped me the most! I may not need that backup plan after all. We'll see!! I have a 15pd Turkey that I will brine and am not sure if I should put it in the oven or use my mom's electric roaster that sits on the counter? Is there a big difference, other then needing to make my bread tomorrow as opposed to the day of? About how long does it take to cook a 15 pounder. Oh I'm so freakin' out!
    Nov. 22, 2011 10:58 pm
    Oh, I just LOVE pancakes!! You can always pretend the syrup is gravy, right? Almost every cookbook out there will use a guideline of 13-15 minutes roasting per # of bird. Add 30 minutes or so if you stuff it. I used to stuff, but stopped many years ago just for safety sake. I now use lots of turkey drippings in my dressing casserole right before putting it in the oven so you'd never really know it wasn't cooked inside the bird. Will an electric roaster work differently? I wish I knew. A back up plan might be to start the bird in the roaster while the bread bakes then switch it to the oven after the bread is done. You're way ahead of the game just by brining the turkey before roasting it ~ congratulations for that! And making fresh bread?! Wow!! You're on your way to a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 23, 2011 4:35 pm
    can you brine a turkey that has 8% solution in it. It is honeysuckle with a pop up timer. Need to know quickly!
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:31 pm
    Thanks Aunt Tilly your awesome!!
    Nov. 23, 2011 9:24 pm
    I'm in need of help this is my first turkey I ever cooked in my life, i'm gonna be cooking.. I did all the brining process, can i still put dry rub on the turkey that has salt in it?
    Nov. 24, 2011 12:05 am
    Yes, Rita you can. That's the same brand I buy every year. The pop up timer doesn't always work but you can test for doneness with another thermometer. Sorry I didn't see your question earlier. Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 24, 2011 12:09 am
    Pennie~ You can certainly season the turkey however, I think I'd use a rub that had more herb & other seasonings and no or very little salt. If you are roasting it (as opposed to deep frying) the dripping would not be useable for gravy. No salted butter, either. Stick to unsalted butter for basting or inside the cavity with brined turkey. Happy Thanksgiving! Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 24, 2011 6:15 am
    Aunt Tilly thank you so much... your a holiday saver.. :D I will surely try it.. thanks...
    Nov. 24, 2011 7:39 am
    speaking from experience all I can say is I have cooked turkeys every way there is. I have setteled on one recipe. I brine. As follows 1 5 gallon bucket to hold the turkey and beine. 1 cup salt (canning), 1 cup brown suggar, spices and flavors to suite you. and enough water to cover the turkey. Mix salt, sugar and the rest in hot water to desolve , then add to cold to cover the turkey in the bucket. Cover and stor in ice box for 3 daus. Wash off then cook in a bag in oven or deep fry. If you dont overcook you will never go back to the old way. i cooked 3 turkeys 1 year - smoked 1, deep fried 1 and roasted 1. No body could tell the difference as I used liqued smoke in the brine. Try it before you blast me.
    Nov. 24, 2011 10:16 am
    so quick question, do we bake the turkey or broil it?
    Nov. 24, 2011 12:55 pm
    Broiling ins't possible with a turkey as it's not a consistant thickness all around like a steak or boneless chicken breast. It needs to be roasted (which is oven 'baked' in a open pan (or use a special roasting 'bag' that encloses the bird completely. Set the oven according to the directions that came with the turkey or generally, you can go 426 degrees for the 1st 15-30 min then, set down to 350 for the remaining time until done. Cover with a tent of heavy foil the whole time, stopping to baste every 30-45 minutes with drippings, broth, wine, whatever liquid you like. Aunt Tilly
    Nov. 28, 2011 9:15 pm
    Aunt Tilly...thank you so much!! Very impressive and the best turkey I have ever made!! How many gallons of apple cider or apple juice/water should I use when brining a 20# bird? Please be specific!! Could I decrease that to save money? My husband was very skeptical but after tasting your brining recipe, he is sold out!!! I have been sharing your recipe with my friends!! The meat really does fall off the carcass...the only thing I had to carve was the white meat after it had fallen off in 2 large whole pieces!!!
    Dec. 21, 2011 10:17 am
    Dear LJ~ thank you so much for the compliments! Brining makes for very tender juicy meat for sure!! As for the quantity of apple juice/cider, I used to use all cider ~ but that's incredibly expensive for a sizable bird with needing 4-5 gallons of cider. $$$$ This year I went to 1 gallon of cider and the remaining was water just to save some dollars. I didn't really notice a huge flavor change, either. I do put other seasonings in the brine too which come through when eating ~ whole cloves, oranges, dried fruit, ~ I tend to like a 'fruity' bird and fruity dressing! :-) I do a 'Thanksgiving' meal all over again on Christmas Eve and standing rib roast for Christmas Day ~ my labors of love gift for family & guests! Have a Merry Christmas! Aunt Tilly
    Dec. 23, 2011 7:31 pm
    Does anyone know if I can brine a HoneySuckle White? It was frozen just don't want it to salty.
    Jan. 1, 2012 4:23 pm
    I do hope you got an answer to your question, Billie. Yes, a HoneySuckle White is the brank I use most often for brining. Aunt Tilly
    Feb. 22, 2012 7:30 am
    I'm sure brining is fine, if you aren't concerned about your sodium intake, but if you ARE, then I have one word for brining -- DON'T! I try to monitor my sodium intake like the proverbial hawk myself, but, I guess if you do the brining thing only once or twice a year, it's not TOO bad.
    Mar. 21, 2012 4:24 am
    Its such a nice site, i'am the regular visitor of this web. Its very informative site.
    May 14, 2012 3:02 pm
    Brining is the BEST way to make a turkey. I will never make it any other way! Everyone always comments on how juicy our bird is. The instructions above are very helpful. Mine is always cooked in less time than expected. It is extremely important not to use a prebrined turkey though! (also refered to as "solution added" or "injected") MOst grocery store turkeys are pre-brined. It can be very hard to find a non-brined turkey. Make sure to read the label!
    Jun. 24, 2012 3:40 pm
    I have always brined our turkeys the last 5 years and will never cook a turkey without this process. Since I don't have a big enough container to hold the turkey AND fit in my frig, (I make a variation of Alton Brown's brine recipe) I use 7 lbs. of ice and throw everything in an ice cooler with a tight-fitting lid. I bring the turkey overnight and the next morning, the brine is still ice cold! So I take the turkey out, rinse and pat dry, and leave out a couple of hours and allow to come to room temp before smoking. It always comes out great!
    Oct. 19, 2012 9:31 am
    Elinor3 ~ if you brine the turkey a day earlier and let it 'rest' in the refrigerator 24 hours after rinsing & drying, the tissues will absorb the brine more fully and become even more tender & juicy. It should only take about an hour for a large bird (23# or so) to come to room temp that way too (meaning you might be able to sleep IN a little more on Thanksgiving Day!). It also helps the skin to dry out a bit so that it crisps more when roasting. So they say....I've been doing it that way for so long I don't remember what it was like before! :-)
    Nov. 8, 2012 9:41 am
    I'm so PROUD!!! My cranberry sauce recipe that I submitted in 2010 (yes, 2 long years ago!) is FINALLY posted on All Recipes! It's so simple and fast that it's the first item I make for Thanksgiving & Christmas every year a week ahead and let them sit to have a really great flavor! It's titled 'Fresh Sweet Cranberry Sauce with a Twist'. The sweet from sugar, the twist from cinnamon. They are generally served COLD and cooked for a very short time in sugar/cinnamon water that's been boiling about 10 minutes so the juice thickens. The berries stay round (most of them)and beautiful. Just fun to make & eat!! Check it out!! 15 minutes and your first Thanksgiving dish is DONE!! Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does!
    Nov. 10, 2012 12:14 pm
    Quoting Aunt Tilly: This year I'm trying an trick I learned a few years ago but stopped using. I've covered the turkey with 2 layers of cheesecloth that has been dipped in melted butter (unsalted of course) and turkey stock. I then have the foil tent over that. this way, the skin is not browning too fast, I can baste right through the cheesecloth too. It's working GREAT so far!! Aunt Tilly LOL, I learned that watching Martha Stewart like ages ago! I don't cook a whole turkey anymore but when I did...that is a neat trick. I never tented mine tho and used white wine w/the butter. The cheesecloth looks pretty dark and kinda burnt by the time the turkey was done but after carefully peeling it off...OMG, beautiful! Family members even took pictures one year it was that pretty. Darn, too bad I don't have ppl to cook a whole turkey for any longer. Oh yes, brining is way cool - for pork & chicken too! I always bought fresh turkeys or frozen ones that weren't already pumped up with salt solu
    Nov. 12, 2012 1:45 pm
    Aunt Tilly: I've ben reading articles about brining and most of the recipes call for sugar. They say the sugar makes the turkey nice and brown. Your recipe does not call for sugar and I was wondering if that was because you use Cider which probably already has sugar in it. Is that correct? By the way, love the way you describe each step, nice and clear. Thank you.
    Nov. 13, 2012 9:38 am
    Can't Help Myself~ we must have seen the same Martha Stewart show! I was channel surfing one day and there she was~ I used the cheesecloth method for 3-4 years then just didn't anymore. It DOES work wonderfully well so I'm back on it again!! Palmerbj~ you are exactly right. I do not add sugar simply due to the sugar in either cider or apple juice. Plus, I use whole oranges, and a cup or two of tiny chopped dried fruit mixture sold by Sunkist called Fruit Bits. I use the bits in my dressing as well AFTER I've soaked them several days in Grand Marnier or Triple Sec. So no need to add sugar to the brine for my way of doing it. All cider or juice gets very expensive so I'd go with 1/2 cider 1/2 water. Of course, I'm going the largest turkey I can find so it's ~23-24#s and that's a lot of liquid needed. A 12# bird may only need 2 gallons so I'd go all cider/juice. You really can taste the apple flavor in the meat. Thank you for the compliment. I like to write directions so that someon
    Nov. 13, 2012 6:28 pm
    Thank you so much for the rapid response...time is fleeting. I like the sound of your brining recipe, but I saw a u-tube video using buttermilk. Then I saw that Williams and senoma also has a recipe using buttermilk. What do you think?
    Nov. 13, 2012 10:46 pm
    Well Palmerbj ~ I think it sounds interesting. Quite honestly, salt and water are all that's truly needed to brine. Anything else is just for flavor. It's an intriguing idea....buttermilk. But an expensive one as well unless you are using a brining bag like in their recipe. The bird must stay submerged/surrounded with brine. I have always had my bird 'float' breast side down in a tub. Their brine mixture sounds good ~ probably more savory than mine (mine is fruit flavor-based) but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be delish!! If I wanted to try it, I'd try it on a chicken first. See how I liked it. If you go ahead with it, please post after Thanksgiving and let me know if you liked it. Of course, if you haven't brined before, you don't have a real basis for comparison either. My honest advise is to do what makes YOU feel the most comfortable. That's all that matters ~ how you feel. Either way, your turkey will be wonderful! Enjoy~
    Nov. 14, 2012 5:24 am
    Aunt Tilly....You are right about the expense of using the buttermilk, and I do love the fruit flavor, so I think I'll stick with yours. Also, I looked up your recipe for cranberry sauce and it looks great, so I'm making that too. I feel like you are already my "Aunt". Will post after the big day. Thank you for all of the advice.
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:06 am
    Chefs, PLEASE brine your birds ! Absolutely the finest. Secondly, DO use the baking bag. No need to baste. Therefore no need to open the oven door and lose at least 25 degrees into the house and delay eating. I use the disposable type. Thirdly, invest about $15.00 in a remote temperature sensor. You place it in the thickest part of the meat, run the cable to the outside of the oven, and set the target temperature on a small monitor the size of a timer. The monitor I use has a magnet on the back to stick to the outside of the oven door. When the target temperature is reached, the bird is done ! Take it out and let it rest 25 minutes. Fall-apart perfection ! Your guests will brag on your skill. Do not fear, you first timers ! My first 22 pound bird was ready in less than 3 hours.
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:15 am
    We brine all poultry, and pork. Even for smoking. What you cannot do is brine and use an injector if you deep fry your turkey. It's too much moisture and you boil the bird instead of fry it. We do decrease the salt, and add brown sugar. About 1.5 cups of each to 2 gallons of water/ice. A very clean cooler works well when you use ice as part of the water. And we've brined a pork roast for a week and it was wonderful. You'll get juice for gravy, and the meat will be delicious.
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:17 am
    One more thing, I brine my turkey in a 4 gallon bucket left over from my restaurant. Originally, it had contained dill pickles. No, no residual flavor of pickles due to being food-grade material. If in doubt, get this type of bucket and let it air out until next year. There, no excuses. Do label this lidded bucket so it it NOT used for any other purpose than for food. Ask your favorite Deli or Restaurant to save an empty container for you. They will probably be glad to not have to dispose of it, anyway.
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:35 am
    If it is going to be cold outside,(40 or fewer degrees) I use a large cooler to hold the turkey and brine, cover w/ aluminum foil and cover w/ ice and leave in my garage over night. It is amazing how moist the turkey will be. I even brine bone in chicken breast (30 min) before baking. Amazing!
    Nov. 14, 2012 9:30 am
    If you want a less expensive food safe bucket, try a local hardward store! The 'food safe' #5 needs to be on the bottom of the tub. It's within a triangle label. Gail~ I think most of the nation falls into that category of having it be cold enough outside!! :-) Unfortunately for me, So Calif doesn't fall into that. I have to make room in my frig but I do have an extra frig in the garage that will be Mr Turkey's home for a week.
    Nov. 14, 2012 9:38 am
    Palmerbj~ that's about the nicest compliment I've ever had! Thank you!! I do hope you like the cranberries! I have to make a double batch every holiday because there's a 'sneeker' in my house that loves to snack on them for the holiday~ if you use the hollowed out oranges for serving, sometimes you get a hole in the orange where the stem is~ plug it up so the cranberry juice doesn't leak out! I've use just a piece of lettuce leaf lining the orange for that purpose. Works well. If you're careful hollowing the oranges for the brine, it's not an issue.
    Nov. 14, 2012 3:27 pm
    Oldie49~ I understand your concern. Brining has been around for centuries though, it's nothing new at all. We are not discussing eating brined meat on a daily basis here. This is one meal. A special holiday meal, at that. The choice is a personal one for each person to make. We probably use more salt on a serving of french fries with ketchup than we will consume in a serving of turkey on Thanksgiving. Don't forget ~there's no need to salt the turkey on your plate~ Just my opinion ~ Wishing you the best Thanksgiving ever!
    Nov. 14, 2012 3:57 pm
    I'm going to try brining for the first time this year(gulp) My question is for the stuffing, if you stuff the bird do you still use salt in the stuffing recipe??? Thanks!
    Nov. 14, 2012 6:26 pm
    Janine~ you would definitely NOT put any salt in the dressing recipe including the melted butter most recipes call for. It would need to be unsalted butter for anything touching the turkey ~ that means inside cavities, basting, gravy, etc. The drippings going into your dressing will have enough salt for flavor if you do stuff it. What I truly suggest is stuffing the bird with cut chunks of carrots, celery and onion and 1 stick unsalted butter. No salting that cavity, either. While the turkey is roasting, you can use the baster to suck up some drippings and generously add those to your dressing mix and bake it separately when the turkey is done. Most of us don't have 2 ovens or a large enough oven for both. It's much safer food-wise and there's virtually no taste difference if you use enough of the turkey drippings. Take a deep'll do just fine!
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:14 pm
    I saw someone using a refrigerator crisper drawer as their "bucket"
    Nov. 14, 2012 7:18 pm
    If I get the turkey fresh the morning of thanksgiving, does it not work brining the bird unless it is over night?
    Nov. 14, 2012 9:06 pm
    Well,we certainly all have our own way of doing things,don't we? :) I can remember my grandmother soaking the turkey all night in salt & ice water, but never heard the term "brine." Of course I was young & probably I just wasn't paying attention! LOL I never knew why she did it? Some of my own tips include: 1. I cook my turkey breast DOWN. It makes it moist & juicy. 2. Before I place it in the oven I rub it all over with butter, because it helps to brown it very nicely. 3. AND last but not least,I cook it at 450-475 (uncovered) for about 1-2 hours to seal in the juices. I then turn it back to 350-375 until done. The combination of all of the above, help me get many compliments on my turkey. *NOTE: I was not aware that you could do this with all meats? I found that very interesting. Can't wait to try it. Thank you ALL for sharing such great cooking tips.
    Nov. 14, 2012 10:04 pm
    Hi Corey~ overnight is certainly better than a few hours. It takes time for the flavors & liquid to be absorbed into the meat. Is it possible for you get the turkey on Tuesday or Wednesday instead of Thursday? If you brine it starting Tuesday (let's say evening just for fun) take it out Wednesday evening and let it rest until Thursday it'll be extremely good. The resting time in the frig gives the skin a chance to dry out a bit so it cooks a bit more crisp. If you are truly strapped for time, give it at least 4 hours in a brine, then rinse, let it come to room temperature (1 hour) before placing in the oven.
    Nov. 15, 2012 4:58 am
    I have used Alton Browns Brining Recipe for 10 yrs. It is the perfect Brining Recipe...I live in Tennessee & it's always been cold enough to keep my turkey & brine in A bucket with a lid( purchase @ walmart). I start my brine the day before I cook my turkey & it's good to go by the next morning for the oven. You won't believe how good!!! Alton gives the perfect baking instructions included with his Brine recipe. Just google; Altin Brown brine recipe
    Nov. 15, 2012 7:38 am
    Every year I go to my local .99 cent store and purchase a bucket to brine in. One year they only had a weaved plastic waste basket, so I just put a trash can liner inside the waste basket and added my brine and tied closed. It work beautifully.
    Roscoe in the Ville 
    Nov. 15, 2012 9:11 am
    I brine my turkey every year. I use a brand new 5-gallon paint bucket (purchased empty) - they are available at most hardware stores. I but the bird in a large plastic bag, then into the bucket, and the bucket in a large cooler with lots of ice to keep cold. I keep the cooler out in the garage while brining. I add orange and lemon slices to the brine solution! Works great!
    Nov. 15, 2012 9:38 am
    Sharon~ I wish MY grandmother would have soaked her turkey overnight in water & salt!!! I grew up with dry turkey and just loathed gravy so there wasn't much to do but suffer through it until as an adult, I started roasting my own turkeys and one year long ago my late husband heard someone on the radio talking about brining the turkey. So we did some research and sure enough ~ been doing it ever since. I've varied my flavorings over the years but when I hit the one that suited me just fine, I stuck with it. Funny story..... he used to give food safety seminars long ago and far away and would always ask the attendees how they defrosted their turkeys at Thanksgiving (given that most people do buy frozen, which is best anyway)and one year he had a woman get up and say she defrosted hers every year by tying a rope to it and throwing it into the family swimming pool!!!! I nearly split my sides open laughing when I heard that one. Can you imagine?? Oh my......
    Nov. 15, 2012 1:59 pm
    aunt Tilly: I guess if you like the taste of chlorine It probably wouldn't be that bad :) Thanks for the advice on the oranges, I was planning on serving the cranberries in the hulled out oranges. I will line them for sure. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 16, 2012 1:57 pm
    If I brine the turkey and rinse and then stuff it with stuffing do I need to add salt to the stuffing?
    Nov. 16, 2012 2:13 pm
    Tpric~ avoid salt anywhere near the turkey after brining. The drippings will salt the stuffing in the cavity if you go that route. If you add more salt, it would be TOO MUCH and not very pleasing to eat. Even butter used in the stuffing or basting the turkey needs to be unsalted butter!
    Nov. 17, 2012 4:31 am
    Don't sweat the small stuff. Trust this recipie. It works. Relax and share.
    Nov. 17, 2012 8:58 pm
    I just wanted to say Thanks, and have a great Thanksgiving. I have just read through three years of brining discussion. Very entertaining and educational. I will be doing my first brined turkey this year. It will also be my first turkey cooked on my big green egg grill. Thank you all for your input. Especially loved the scoop from Aunt Tillie, as I have an Aunt Tillie. Happy holidays!
    Nov. 17, 2012 10:54 pm
    Sheree~ glad I could help! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:50 am
    Hi Aunt Tilly, I read through all the previous posts late last night. I checked my turkey this morning, and it says they added an 8% solution to it. Should/can I still brine it or not? If so, what ratio of water/salt would you use, etc.? I know someone else asked that question before, but I cannot find the post/answer... I am trying to brine tonight, rest it tomorrow and roast it Thursday morning. Thanks for any help!
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:22 am
    Good morning~ You caught me at just the right moment, Toner200! I just got my turkey in the brine (8:00 am for me) and so after reading your post, went to check my discarded turkey wrapping. It has an 8% 'solution' as well. I've used this brand for years 'Honeysuckle White' and I can tell you that it's not an issue at all. Go ahead and brine away and ENJOY! The ratio of salt (Kosher salt!) to water is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon of liquid (juice, water, cider, etc). A store clerk told me that she uses a brine that's part Guiness and part apple cider. I just may have to look that one up. Real expensive for a 23# bird though. Usually takes 4 gallons of liquid to have it 'floating' breast down so that the bird isn't touching the hard surface of the container. When it touches, you may end up with a 'spot' of skin that's white rather than colored if you used any colored liquid. Colored liquid will usually tint the skin of the bird which is perfectly fine. But you do want it all the same col
    Nov. 20, 2012 1:35 pm
    aunt tillie, I plan to start brining my fresh turkey breast (5 1/2 lbs) in a couple of hours. Brine overnite, and then let it sit in the fridge for a day, as you suggest. My question is: should I rinse it right after removing it from the brine, or right before I plan to stuff and cook it? Thx
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:30 pm
    Hello LBT~ rinse when you take it out of the brine then let it rest in the fridge. And remember unsalted everything from this point on. No salt rubs, no salted butter,etc. If the drippings are too salty for gravy (sometimes happens) put some large chunks of raw potato in the gravy. It will absorb the salt. Remove the potato before it overcooks and becomes part of your gravy though!! :-) You can also use just a touch of mustard to take away some gravy saltiness too. Have fun and Happy Thanksgiving!!
    Donna-Ocean View, DE 
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:42 pm
    Wow, glad I found this site. Definitely brining my turkey this year. Heading to the store for all the ingredients. Aunt Tilly I always use the bread cubes that are "herb seasoned" & add sage sausage. I like my in bird. Will this be too much salt? I will be using unsalted butter. For those of you trying to save room in the oven. For the last few years I have used my crock pot to cook extra stuffing. Turn it up high for about the first hour to get a crust on the sides & then reduce to low. It comes out really moist. Thanks!
    Donna-Ocean View, DE 
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:43 pm
    *I like mine in the bird.
    Nov. 20, 2012 3:10 pm
    Donna~ I use the same 'seasoned cube' mix for my dressing and love it with sage flavored sausage although I had to leave the sausage out for several years due to a guest who could not have pork. It was still very good without it but I missed that flavor. There's no actual salt added to dressing or stuffing so your only salt would be coming from the drippings. Yes, unsalted butter definitely in the dressing and for any basting. I have not stuffed my turkey in YEARS however, I DO add turkey drippings (lots of it) to the dressing caserole and it's not salty so if you're going to stuff, I'd think you'd be okay. Since you do make a separate dressing dish in the crock pot try adding turkey drippings instead of chicken broth or whatever liquid you'd normally use and see if you notice much of a difference between the two. It's more food safe baking it outside the bird. What most people miss is the flavor from the turkey which is corrected by adding the drippings. You know, I just might try y
    Nov. 20, 2012 3:20 pm
    I also have tried putting the dressing into a jumbo muffin tin to have individual servings created. It worked well but wasn't really the same as that nice moist caserole to dig into. For those who LOVE the crunchy top of a baked dressing, you'd love using the muffin tin!
    Nov. 21, 2012 4:14 am
    Thanks for your response Aunt Tilly! Can I bother you again? :-) I, too, am cooking a 23 lb turkey. Can you give me an estimate on how long it will take to cook? I will use a meat thermometer, but need to try and coordinate it with my sides. You are a wealth of knowledge, with great advice! Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 21, 2012 5:03 am
    Aunt Tilly (or anyone) - The only thing I could not find in my readings was 1) What Temp do I roast my brined turkey and 2) How many minutes per lb? Or 3) Do I just follow roating instructions on the bird? I am brining a 13.25lb fresh butterball turkey this afternoon and plan on cooking Thursday morning.
    Nov. 21, 2012 6:59 am
    Aunt Tillie OWNS Thanksgiving! I believe she has earned a mention in our pre-Thanksgiving feast grace.
    Donna-Ocean View, DE 
    Nov. 21, 2012 7:14 am
    Aunt Tilly ROCKS!! THANKS!!
    Nov. 21, 2012 7:43 am
    Can ANYONE answer this? PLEASE!! The only things I could not find in the posts were 1) What Temp do I roast my brined turkey and 2) How many minutes per lb? Or 3) Do I just follow roasting instructions on the bird? I am brining a 13.25lb fresh butterball turkey this afternoon and plan on cooking Thursday morning.
    Nov. 21, 2012 9:47 am
    You roast per the directions however, doneness is determined not by length of time, but by meat temperature. Some people say a brined turkey will roast faster than an unbrined. I've not found that to be the case but I've been brining for so long I can't remember anymore if the first one was faster or not. Also, an unstuffed bird will roast faster than stuffed. The temp of the stuffing needs to be taken as well to be sure it's hot enough to kill bacteria in the juices. I typically roast @325 with a digital meat therometer (about $10-$20) that stays in the bird, has a cable leading from the probe to the controller and I can see the temp right on the controller sitting on my countertop. 165 degrees for the thigh is 'done'. If you take it out @162, it will continue to cook while it sits. There's a wonderful web site (yes, there are others in addition to AllRecipes....but there's much available here as well, isn't there! :-) ) that's put out by the USDA Food Safety service and it has eve
    Nov. 21, 2012 10:26 am
    Awwww.... shucks guys......those are such nice things to say!!! I was so anxious to help Shadow that I missed your compliments when I signed on earlier! Thanksgiving is my favorite meal to prepare. (can you tell?) I do it all over again on Christmas Eve.... then we switch over to a Dicken's Christmas Day meal with Prime Rib, Creamed Corn, and English Trifle for dessert. Of course, there are all the Christmas Eve leftovers too so it's truly a feast! One more thing on roasting....timing will also depend on how often you are basting, since opening the oven door allows heat to escape and if you baste often as I do it will increase your roasting time. My 23# birds normally take close to 6 hours. I baste at the end of 1 hour, then almost every 30-45 minutes after that. It's more than a brined turkey needs but it's just my way. My side dishes are prepped already in the fridge, brought out 90 minutes before the turkey is done to come to room temp before going into the oven when the turkey
    Nov. 21, 2012 10:59 am
    barbi-My brother uses an impeccably clean cooler; because it is cold where he lives, he can leave it in the garage overnight. I suppose you could use ice otherwise.
    cookie momster 
    Nov. 21, 2012 11:02 am
    Oh Aunt Tilly, I am worried. My husband had the job of buying the fresh bird. I made my brine last night, cooled it....I was conservative with salt due to health issues and used just under a cup. Low sodium chicken broth, about 4 cups of apple juice and the rest water, enough to fill my stock pot, plus my seasonings....rinsed and added the bird to the brine and it is swimming now. Double checked the wrapper to check the poundage once more and I saw the dreaded words, "Injected with 3% solution that includes turkey broth and other seasonings". Now what? I am not a virgin briner, but I have always had pure turkeys, never one of these.
    cookie momster 
    Nov. 21, 2012 11:06 am
    apple cider...sorry, and about a cup of dark brown sugar...forgot that.
    cookie momster 
    Nov. 21, 2012 11:16 am
    Whew! I just read your other post and saw it happened to you too. I guess if you are doing yours at 8% and mine was only 3%, it should be okay? Now I am hoping I used enough salt. What do you think?
    Nov. 21, 2012 11:30 am
    Hello cookie monster~ I wouldn't worry a bit. My turkey always has an 8% solution and it works just fine. 3% is not much. Your turkey won't absorb any more or any less brine than it can take so rest easy. I haven't seen any birds that don't have a solution added anymore (I'm assuming if you order from a butcher or have a turkey farm nearby, you could get one without a solution but at what cost?!). Let me know how it turns out! Happy Thanksgiving!
    cookie momster 
    Nov. 21, 2012 11:52 am
    Thank you, same to you. We actually live near a turkey farm, Jandl's maybe we should just go there next year...but we do the grocery store discounted birds every. Thanks for all your advice and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    Nov. 21, 2012 2:59 pm
    Aunt Tilly - u are awesome - I am currently roasting my neck and veggies - (my husband said my chunks of veggies are too big) anyway - my question is - on my brined turkey tomorrow - do I HAVE to baste it? Would rather get up and put it in and let it ride... Thanks for all the tips! You rock!
    Nov. 21, 2012 3:50 pm
    Aunt Tilly-I brined my turkey last night. Should I wait till tomorrow morning to take it out, rinse and pat dry or can I take it out of the brine tonight and let it rest in the fridge till tomorrow morning?
    Nov. 21, 2012 3:50 pm
    Connie~ basting was/is for most cooks the only method of keeping the skin (and hence, the meat) of the bird moist. With brining, the meat is already moist and will shed some moisture during the roasting process (hence we have drippings for gravy!). If I were to decide to not baste (that would be a tough decision for me), I'd do this~ Soak several layers of cheesecloth (which is talked about earlier this month in this thread) with melted unsalted butter (probably 2 sticks) and some wine (or not) and place the layered buttered cloth on top of the turkey. Pre-fold it so you know it will cover the entire bird. Then, create a tent out of heavy duty foil and have that over the whole roasting pan. If you can tuck the foil ends to the inside of the pan all the better. Word to the wise ~ at least check on it twice during the roasting time. A brine with sugar will still cause the skin to brown even with all that covering! Or, if you're truly wanted to 'fix it and forget it', I'd put it in a
    Nov. 21, 2012 3:53 pm
    Sorry Aunt Tilly! I should have scrolled up and read the previous postings. You're great!!
    Nov. 21, 2012 5:22 pm
    Aunt Tilly... I do not have any cheesecloth - so... I'm back to the basic - I'll baste.. Who needs to sleep right? I'm on the East Coast - so I'd better wrap it up after my broth is finished and get to bed - I'm bringing the turkey to the in-laws - they are doing the rest - Since mine is the "main event" I don't want to disappoint - so.. I will follow your suggestion - Can you shoot me a quick schedule of basting times? (20 #'r) - and opening the oven up.. Add cooking time? Gosh - Just so thankful for the tips/knowledge - If this was facebook - I would like everything 20 times.. lol . Happy Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 21, 2012 5:59 pm
    sweetxdannie~ as long as it's been in the brine for 12 hours the salt & flavorings should have had time to do their work. If there's not enough time to rest it, it will still be delicious right from the brine (rinse it well) and into the roasting pan! Keep that foil tent on the entire roasting time (especially if there any type of sugar or fruit in your brine as it will brown the skin even with the tent on. Baste once an hour to keep the heat in as much as possible. Add an extra 10 mins time for every time the oven is opened. Just a much depends on the oven, how long it's open, room temp, etc. Add some stock to the pan if needed. It'll be fine and delicious! Does that help? :-) Have a Great Thanksgiving!
    Nov. 21, 2012 7:09 pm
    In reading what I last posted, it seems I was addressing the questions from both Connie and Sweetxdannie although I didn't intend to do that ~ I hope I didn't confuse anyone!
    Nov. 21, 2012 7:19 pm
    All Good... I understood - I'll let you know how it all turns out! Happy Thanks - and many thanks!
    Nov. 22, 2012 12:55 am
    Aunt Tilly, My son bought a 23.5 lb turkey frozen. Placed it the spare refer. The placed it in the brine ( it was still frozen) that was yesterday morning. He forgot it and at 1am I took it out of the brine rinsed it well, covered placed it in a roasting pan and covered it and placed it back in the refrigerator. My concern if the turkey was still frozen when he put it into the brine how will it effect the turkey? I now it was frozen because it still had ice in the cavity. I plan on cooking it this morning @ 350 for about 4 1/2 hrs covered. Unstuffed.