photo by Average Jane

It is just two days before "turkey day" and if you were even thinking about making turkey, know that brining helps keep meat moist and flavorful during cooking.  I've been looking around and started running into some intriguing ingredients that chefs were putting into their brines.  

Some of the more unusual brines or unusual ingredients in brines we’ve run into are: 

7)  Apple juice - from Andreas Viestad via

6)  Allspice berries - from Alton Brown via

5)  Candied Ginger - also from Alton Brown via

4)  A whole bottle of wochersher sauce [sic] - from N7uvh at

3)  Dark Beer - from Emeril Lagasse via

2)  Riesling - from NcMysteryShopper,at (There's also a Riesling Gravy there)

1)  Spiced rum, "such as Captain Morgan Original" - from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel


You can find myriad methods online but there seems to be common themes that nearly all of them stick to.  Here is a recap of some of the steps involved:

1.       Dissolve salt and sugar in boiling water
     a.      Keep your “salt to sugar” ratio between 2:1 and a 1:1
     b.      Your brine can anywhere between a 4:1 and a 10:1 “water to salt/sugar” ratio
     c.      Cups to cups, quarts to quarts, it doesn’t matter.  Just watch the ratios.
     d.      Don’t worry about this too much

2.       Add your aromatics 'at will'
     a.      Crushed garlic
     b.      Pepper or Peppercorns
     c.      Chopped onions
     d.      Rosemary
     e.      Cilantro
     f.       Thyme
     g.      Sage
     h.      Really anything, even just “poultry” or “Italian” seasoning will work fine

3.       Chill the brine solution in the refrigerator for a while – or chill immediately with ice

4.       Place the bird into a container and cover it with the chilled brine
     a.       An easy way to do this is to start by placing it in a double layer of oven bags then into a cooler or an ice chest,
     b.      Keep the bird cold with either ice, ice packs (outside of the oven bags)
     c.      You’re allowed to worry about this step, keep it cold! 

5.       Brine for 4-24 hours
     a.      Ensure the bird is well dried before placing it in the oven, you can use paper towels
     b.      Or, you can even dry it overnight in the fridge on cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet

 Try our Chelada Turkey Brine!  It's amazing.


Authordavid koch