Important Notes to Get You Started:
For this recipe to be perfectly tasty, please be sure that you have purchased a turkey that has not been pre-salted! *If your turkey has been pre-salted, you can use the herbs for dry brining** (more on that below).
*Brining a pre-salted turkey would result in a too-salty turkey, which we don't want for you! This would result in an over-salted turkey. How to tell if it's been pre-salted? If your turkey label doesn’t give any indication that it has been pre-treated, then it’s safe to assume you’re clear to proceed.
**If you choose to dry brine your turkey, simply rub the herbs and 1/4 of the salt on your turkey prior to cooking. Reserve the remaining salt as the perfect finishing salt for your roasted turkey!
This recipe works best for a 12-16lb turkey, smaller or bigger turkeys — adjust the salt ratio appropriately.
Please note, you can brine a frozen or partially thawed turkey.
1) Use a large stock pot — and make room in the fridge! *You may also use a large plastic turkey brining bag, but not just any plastic bag.
2) Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets. Transfer the turkey to the pot.
3) You're going to create a salty water solution in this step! Mix the jar of herbs + 1/2 of the salt in to 4 cups of water in the microwave until warmed — the goal is to allow the salt to dissolve. Reserve 1/2 of the salt for finishing salt + taste after the turkey is cooked. Allow the water to cool to room temperature. If you have a turkey that is 16lbs or more
4) Pour the brine solution over the turkey. Add approximately another 10 cups of (cold) water to the pot until the turkey is fully submerged in liquid.
5) Cover the turkey with the pot lid and refrigerate. If the turkey floats, weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.
Leave the turkey in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
When you're ready to cook the turkey, rinse it in cool water, and then pat dry.
Roast your turkey as you usually would! Be sure to check in on your turkey early and often as the brined turkey can cook more quickly. Once your turkey registers at least 165°F in the breast meat and thighs, then it’s done. Add a side dish of the extra sea salt and brush with butter or other spices.
I’ve found that brined turkeys tend to cook a little more quickly than un-brined turkeys, so I recommend starting to check the internal temperature of your turkey about an hour before the predicted cooking time is over.