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turkey brine in big pot

Best Turkey Brine Recipe Ever

In addition to the listed ingredients, you will also need cheesecloth, butchers twine, a tub or pot large enough to comfortably hold the turkey and brine, without overflowing, and possibly a large cooler. (See instruction no. 4 in the recipe below. )

This brine recipe is for 1 (approximately 12 to 15-pound) turkey .

The turkey should be brined at least 18 hours and ideally 24.

Course Condiments, Sauces, Dressings and Vinaigrettes
Cuisine American
Keyword best brine recipes, great for Thanksgiving, turkey brine
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 20 minutes
Servings 12
Author Valentina K. Wein



  1. If you don't have bouquet garni bags, cut a double layer of cheese cloth into an approximately 7 X 7-inch square. Place it on a clean, dry surface. Add the allspice berries, peppercorns and bay leaves to the center of the square. Bundle the cheesecloth around the spices, being sure there aren't any open areas, and then tie it with butchers twine. (If you're using bouquet garni bags, you will likely need to use at least two.) Set aside. This is called a Bouquet Garni, which is French for bouquet garnish -- it's a small bundle of herbs and spices, that will impart their flavors to a liquid being cooked.

  2. In a very large stock pot, mix the water with the salt, and bring it to a boil. Mix to be sure it's dissolved and then lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the honey, syrup, ground cloves, cinnamon sticks, and the bouquet garni. Continue to simmer for about ten minutes. Then turn off the heat and cool to room temperature. (With a large quantity of liquid like this, cooling could take a few hours — I usually do this the night before I want to add the turkey, and let it cool, covered, all night on the stove.)

  3. Once it has cooled to room temperature, pour the brine into a large plastic tub, or, if the pot is large enough, leave the brine there. (Make sure whatever you're using is large enough to avoid overflowing.)

  4. Rinse the turkey with cold water, inside and out. Place the turkey in slowly, making sure it’s fully submerged in the liquid, filling up the entire cavity. Leave the bouquet garni, cinnamon sticks in the brine. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, if the lid doesn't quite fit. Brine the turkey overnight in the refrigerator for at least 18 hours and ideally 24. (If the container the turkey is in doesn't fit in the refrigerator, you can place it in a large cooler, surrounded by ice.)

  5. Remove the turkey, pat dry with paper towels, and prepare according to the turkey roasting instructions.