Brine a Turkey

Before dressing it up and showing it off, give your turkey a bath. Brining – a fancy way of saying “giving a salt bath” – is an invaluable technique for making dry meat juicy, and meat expert Josh Ozersky walks you through the brining process.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Josh Ozersky. And I'm on today and I'm going to brine a turkey. Brining is an invaluable technique for almost any kind of meat cookery that is not made from cows. It is a way to make dry things juicy. Now, the weird thing about brining is, it involves taking something this turkey here and putting it in a salt bath. The salt solution disrupts the muscle tissues and it changes the proteins so that they loosen up and they break down a little bit. It makes them more tender and more importantly it makes it easier for the water to reach in and come back out again. So what I'm going to do is I am going to take this big turkey and I'm going to put it in this Styrofoam cooler. Now generally if you were brining a chicken or something like that, that you can put in a pot in the refrigerator you don't need to go out and buy anything. But this is so big it wont fit in any pot. And after it's had all the nasty, slimy, salmonella and various turkey fluids going around in it your not going to want to have it for beer. So I get one of these disposable jobs here, I brine the turkey in it, it gets thrown out away with the bones. Now to brine a turkey I am going to take, for a thing this big, it's about, I don't know, 8 quarts of water or something. Or maybe it's more. Anyway I have about one and a quarter cups of salt, kosher salt here. A million magic crystals painted pure and white. And I have half that amount, this is 3/4 of a cup of sugar. You don't want it to be too salty. Because as it reduces later on, especially in terms of making gravy and stuff like that it could become too salty so you put a little bit of sugar in there so that there's some sweetness in there, too. Twice as sweet as sugar, twice as good as salt. And I've got to mix it up in the thing here with a whisk.. Some people tell you to use hot water but I mean I think it's gross. The last thing that I want to do is have a hot water in there, like to put the thing into a schvitz. I take the turkey, by the way, before I did this I defrosted the turkey if it was frozen, which this one wasn't, and don't forget, you always forget, to take the innards and the kishkas and everything and you pull that out and you throw it away. The giblets, what have you. Alright so this goes in here. Alright, there, now it's taking its little bath. Now the problem is, you may have figured this out already, this is probably not going to fit in your refrigerator. Especially the night before Thanksgiving when it's already filled up with cream and butter and potatoes and a million other things. So I have come up with a very high tech and innovative solution, which is this. I take ice cubes and they go into the thing. And I keep putting ice in it. It sits in the kitchen, it sits out. There's some discussion, they say well, maybe you should brine it overnight because it's so big. I think that's a bit much personally. I brine it between 4 to 6 hours. And that is how you brine a turkey. I'm Josh Ozersky, on

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