How To Brine a Turkey
This is a great recipe for a turkey brine. You can use this brine for any turkey or whole chickens as well.
Turkey Brine Recipe:
*For the additional seasoning, this is where you can get creative and impart specific flavors into your brine. I’ve used BBQ Rub for a bbq style smoked turkey, I’ve used creole seasoning for a cajun style and a basic All Purpose Seasoning to keep the flavors simple.
- 2 gallons water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup additional seasoning of your choice*
- fresh herb bundle of sage, rosemary, thyme
- 2 lemons halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-5 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 Tsp whole black pepper corns
- 2 small onions quartered
Pour 1 gallon of the water (reserve the other gallon until you pour brine over turkey)
into a pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the salt, sugar and additional seasoning and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add the herb bundle, lemons, bay leaves, garlic, black peppercorns, and onion. Allow the mixture to steep in the refrigerator and cool completely. It’s great to make this ahead of time to allow it to cool completely (overnight is great).
The best way I’ve found to brine a turkey is using a XL Ziplock Bag
inside a cooler. This way everything is contained and if there is any leakage it will be contained in the cooler.
Place the turkey inside the XL Ziplock Bag
and pour in the cooled brine – top the turkey off with an additional gallon of water and the entire bird should be covered.
Close the bag and lay a bag of ice on top (this will help keep the turkey submerged). Let the turkey soak for 24 hours replacing the ice as needed.
Turkey needs to brine at least 24 hours – but can go as long as 48 hours. When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cool water at least 2 hours before it’s time to cook. You want to give the Turkey plenty of time to drain any excess water. You also want to dry the turkey really well with paper towels because the dryer you get the skin, they crispier it will get in the smoker.
To get all my Smoked Turkey Recipes, click here >>
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Really appreciate your recipes haven’t found a bad one thanks
how to fry a turkey last one I did was not very good
I don’t fry my turkeys – I always smoke them. They are so much better smoked.
I just watched a video on smoking turkey..you used a bribe of brown sugar and molasses. What was the recipe for your homemade injection?
I think this is the recipe you are looking for: https://howtobbqright.com/2017/11/09/cajun-smoked-turkey/
Dear Malcolm thanks for all your recipes could you please answer why sometimes my poetry skin is rubbery and not crispy so you can enjoy it there’s nothing like crispy skin please advise BK.
It’s tricky to get great skin on turkey and chicken. Some things you can do to help – make sure the skin is really dry before seasoning. Spray it with cooking spray and then apply your seasonings. Cook it at a higher temp (300 plus) to render the fat int he skin.
Thanks for the reply I’m going to really pay attention to drying off the poultry prior to spraying and then seasoning. Have a happy turkey holiday season gobble gobble.
When drying turkey (after brining), U mention 2 hour dry time (b4 seasoning). Do U just refrigerate (obviously ice chest no good now)? Covered??
You can – that will help get the skin really dry. Mostly I just let it sit out and come up to room temp while it’s drying.
How long do you recommend to smoke a 20lb Turkey on a traeger at 300 degrees
until it hits 165 in the breast
Hey Malcolm. What is your recommended “additional seasoning of choice”?
We are going to try this recipe. How long should we smoke a 22 lb turkey and at what temperature?
Malcolm, I really love your recipes and all your tips on grilling and smoking. My family and friends really appreciate everything you have done for their bellies. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Malcom, I really love your recipes and all your tips on grilling and smoking. My family and friends really appreciate everything you have done for their bellies. Have a great Thanksgiving!
P.S. Sorry I misspelled your name the first time around.
If I just want to brine a package of boneless skinless chicken breast how long should I brine them for?
I started using this brining recipe about 3 years old, and will never cook another turkey without this brine step again. It’s great if you are smoking a bird, cooking it in the oven, and I’ve even cooked a bird in an old school electric roster after this brine and it’s awesome every time. I’ve even used a scaled back version of the brine for wild turkey breasts that I smoked on my green egg with fabulous results.
Whats the best wood to use for smoking a turkey
do you have to rinse after the 24 hour brine?