Turkey Brine

Prepare ONE DAY BEFORE needed  |  Leave to Brine for at LEAST 6 hours (ideally overnight)


Because turkey breast meat is so lean, you need to protect it from drying out during cooking. There are different ways of doing this. The simplest are using steam, using covers or basting. More effort is required for brining.
Many cooks swear by brining as a way of ensuring that the turkey remains moist during roasting but this is not an essential step. Brining the turkey simply means that it is soaked in a salty (brine) solution with added flavourings and seasonings prior to cooking.
Ingredients for the Brine:
Prepare brine 1 day before needed
  • 4 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 cup plain salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1T black peppercorns
  • ½ T whole allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2L chilled apple juice
  • 2L iced water
Directions for Making the Brine:
  1. Pour the stock into a very large pot.
  2. Add salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon and bayleaf.
  3. Heat to boiling point, stirring until salt and sugar have dissolved.
  4. Remove from the heat, allow to cool down, then refrigerate until completely cold.
  5. When turkey is ready to be brined, mix the chilled liquid with the apple juice and iced water.
Directions for Brining:
It is usual to brine overnight or for a minimum of six hours. To be absolutely safe, brining should take place in the refrigerator. Raw meat of any kind should not be stored at room temperature. The difficulty here, is that a turkey in a container of brine takes up a lot of space and many people don’t have enough spare refrigeration space to do this. 
The following steps provide an alternative safe method for brining without a refrigerator:
  1. Refrigerate the prepared brine solution until thoroughly chilled
  2. Sterilise a plastic chilly bin (insulated cooler bin/”Esky”) by rinsing with boiling water and wiping dry with paper towels. Allow it to cool down. Use a cooler size that will allow the turkey enough room to be surrounded by liquid but is not overly large. 
  3. Pour the chilled brine into the cooler.
  4. Using clean hands, place the thawed turkey breast-side down into the brine.
  5. Fill two or three sealable plastic bags with crushed or cubed ice and pack these around the turkey (as many as you can fit). Don’t use loose ice cubes as these will dilute the strength and flavour of the brine.
  6. Put on the lid and place the cooler bin in a cool place. 
  7. Half way through the brining, turn the turkey over and check the ice, replenishing the ice if needed.
  8. After removing the turkey from the brine, rinse it inside and out with cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels before continuing with cooking preparations.
  9. Discard the brine and sterilise the cooler bin.