How to Brine a Turkey

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  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 23 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 8 teaspoons juniper berries
  • 8 garlic cloves


  1. Heat 2 cups of water in a small pot with the salt and brown sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. In a small, dry saucepan, toast the juniper berries over medium heat for about 30 seconds, or until they become fragrant.
  3. In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (or on a cutting board with the bottom of a mug or the flat part of a knife), crush the pepper and juniper berries.
  4. Smash the garlic cloves.
  5. Place the turkey in a large stockpot (we used an canning pot) or a brine bag (an extra large, leak-proof ziplock you can find at the grocery store). Add the smashed garlic, spices and herbs.
  6. Cut the lemons and oranges in half, squeeze the juice over the chicken and drop in the lemon and orange shells.
  7. Fill the pot or bag with water, submerging the turkey. (If the turkey is not completely submerged, you will need to flip it every few hours.)
  8. Let the turkey sit in the brine for at least 6 hours, and ideally overnight.