The Methods Of Brining A Turkey – A Tutorial From A To Z

Brining a turkey is a popular practice, but not everyone can do it in the best way. Recipes and tips are essential to cook a successful dish because it helps you know in advance and get it done correctly.

Don't worry if you are making turkey for the first time or doing it many times but still not getting good results. The following factors will help you become the most proficient cook in a turkey brining. Details are below!

Select turkey type

To prepare for cooking turkey, you need to choose the best one. Its quality is extremely important in making a delicious dish, especially in the brining step.

While choosing a turkey, avoid self-basting, water-added, and kosher turkey. The chickens that are given the best are organic or heritage turkeys because, with these two, you can actively control the amount of flavoring you put in them.

To find out more specifically, start with the next information!

Select the salt

Whether you choose wet or dry brine, there will be separate suitable formulas, but the best suggestion is still:

  • For about 4 pounds of chicken, you can add more than a tablespoon of kosher salt.
  • For a 12 to 14 pound chicken, add about 3 "half" tablespoons of kosher salt.

For the perfect marinating process, you need to choose the right type of "Diamond Crystal" kosher salt, while other types are not recommended. This recommendation is in standing because each type of salt will have different sizes and create different flavors for your dish.

Turkey Brine Time

Before cooking, brining the chicken for a few days is a good recommendation because soaking for more than 24 hours helps the flavors seep into the meat.

If you are too busy or need to make the chicken in a hurry, you can soak it overnight, but it will not be as good as soaking for two or three days.

The Methods Of Brining A Turkey

To brine the meat, you can easily choose between two methods: wet and dry. Specific details are below:


To marinate chicken with brine, you will need a large refrigerator to keep the chicken cold in a container filled with brine and cover the inside of the refrigerator with a sealing film.

You can prepare a clean 5 to 8-gallon container or bucket in advance to hold enough meat inside. Choose either a cambro container or a Yeti cooler, which provides good performance.

The key to dissolving is to fill the tank with a mixture of water and salt. If you want the dissolution process to be faster, you can actively dissolve a little warm water and salt first.

Then, put the dissolved part inside the bucket and add cool water. You must make sure that the water in the bucket is cool before adding the chicken since =hot water will cause some food safety effects.

The process to complete this immersion is very scientific. You can interpret it as salt pulling the moisture out of the meat and brining in osmosis. The meat has its moisture and needs to be swapped out to get the spicy substance for a better taste, while still keeping the tenderness of the meat.

Remember that marinated chicken should be covered even if stored in a container. The most important ingredients are salt and water, but you can add other flavors like bay leaf, pepper, thyme, and sage if you like.

However, many reviews say that adding these spices to the soaking process will not fully penetrate the meat because cold water will make it difficult for the flavors to blend. The best advice for adding flavor is after the soaking process and before roasting.


Dry soaking allows you to salt directly on the meat. Many people argue that dry soaking makes the process easier, takes up smaller space, and tastes better in the end.

It's worth mentioning that you can create and gain ultra-crispy skin for your meat. Remember to choose a dry salt to make the most delicious product.

You'll need to prepare a wire rack, an extensive rimmed baking sheet, and something to wrap the turkey in. To cover the turkey, you can choose a dough wrap, cheesecloth, oven bag, or cling film.

The wet soaking method may take up too much space in your refrigerator. In contrast, dry soaking must be kept cold, but it is much more convenient because the meat is neatly wrapped and does not take much space in the refrigerator.

The process will begin with spicing, including rubbing the top, bottom, and inside the chicken's cavity. Covers every nook and cranny to help the meat absorb the most flavor. From there, the meat will dry out and become more crispy.

You can still add more seasoning at this time of brewing, but the best suggestion is to wait for the flavoring process to complete before applying to season.

After the meat has absorbed the spices, place the chicken on the rack of a rimmed baking tray and place it inside the refrigerator. After the flavoring process, you will have an attractive turkey with dry skin that looks very impressive.

After Brining

Guarantee the temperature

Your chicken also is very cold after the chilling process in the fridge, so you need to take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before cooking.

If you take it out of the fridge and cook it right away, the meat won't cook or cook unevenly, and the meat won't taste good either.


Whether you use the dry or wet soaking method, it's a good idea to dry your chicken. You can pat the flesh gently or use a paper towel to pat it dry. The drying step is very important, and you need to do it before adding seasoning and grilling the meat.

Add more flavor

After flavoring and drying, you can freely add a variety of flavors to make the chicken more attractive. Specifically, you can cut into small celery, onions, and carrots. After that, you can place them underneath the chicken in the baking pan.

This grilling arrangement makes the turkey firmer, tastier, and rich pan juices. In particular, the layer of aromatics underneath the meat also helps spread the hot air evenly to help the chicken cook more evenly.

Additionally to the flavor listed above, you can add garlic heads, citrus pieces, shallots, leeks, herbs, and more.

On the other hand, you can take a different route for adding your flavors. Specifically, you can manually mix butter with spices, citrus, herbs, thyme, sage, oregano, and more, depending on your preference.

For a 12 to 14-pound chicken, use two tablespoons of butter at room temperature, then rub the mixture directly onto the top and bottom of the chicken. Remember to be careful not to add salt again because you have done it before.

What Can I Use Instead If There Is No Brine Time?

If you are busy and don't have time for a brine first, "mayonnaise" will greatly support you. This ingredient is recommended because it already has flavor and fat that will help make the meat juicy and moist.

If you want to try and compare the two types of brine and which one is better with mayonnaise, you can proceed to try both ways. Surely these ways will make you feel excited.

In general, you can cook a mayo-centric Thanksgiving menu with the methods outlined above. Try cooking a few times, and you'll soon be a pro and create a delicious family holiday treat.

Notes On Turkey Recipe

Whether you use wet or dry brine or a mayonnaise topping, the full implementation of the toppings will result in a crispier, more juicy turkey.

You can take notes of the formulas provided above and try to do it many times to become more proficient.


Brining a turkey is no longer a problem as you already have the recipes above we just provided. You can freely choose each way of marinating turkey to suit your current conditions to create the most delicious dish.

Turkey dishes are a wonderful menu that you can enjoy with your family over the weekend, especially on Thanksgiving. Wish you success cooking this delicious dish!

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