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BRINED TURKEY (and other poultry)

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

POULTRY BRINING — Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose, Cornish Game Hens


1 gallon of water -- for several small Game Hens or 5 to 10 pound bird

2 gallons of water -- for 12 to 17 pounds

3 gallons -- for 18 pounds and up … or better yet, make two smaller birds (they’ll cook better/faster, taste better, and are much easier to handle)


If brining overnight: 1/2 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water [plus 1/2 cup sugar and smashed garlic, some whole peppercorns, and herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage]


If brining 4-5 hours: 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water [plus 1 cup sugar and more smashed garlic and herbs]


Put salt and sugar into medium-sized round bottom bowl. Add boiling water a little at a time and stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add smashed garlic cloves and herbs (or any spice you like) and let sit for 15-30 minutes, occasionally stirring and pressing against the herbs to help release flavor.

Meanwhile, fill your brining container with cold water to bring up to the one or two gallon mark depending on size of bird--precision not required, but make sure to leave plenty of room for displacement. When the salt/sugar/herb solution has cooled, add to brining container. Only add the bird once the liquid has completely cooled; if in a hurry, add ice cubes to speed up the cooling process.

Brining Container

* put a BRINING BAG inside a lobster pot or bucket that's spotlessly clean

* line a SMALL COOLER with a large BRINING BAG

* use a SPECIAL DEEP BRINING BIN made especially for brining (should have a locking lid; if not, make sure the water isn’t all the way up to the top and use several layers of heavy aluminum foil to seal)

* get a 5 GALLON PAINT BUCKET with lid from the hardware store


Poultry must be kept cool! If no room in the fridge, a bird in its well-sealed container can be place in a sink or cooler filled with ice water. Refresh the ice as needed.


Once brined, remove from bag, rinse away any herbs that may be stuck to the bird, and dry well. After drying well with paper towels, both inside and out, you can put it in front of a fan for 15 or so minutes.

Proceed with your favorite marinade and cook as usual.


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