What Is Brining?
Brining can be done with any cut of meat, but it’s especially important with lean cuts like poultry. In short, brining uses salt to add flavor, tenderize and infuse meat with extra moisture.

It can be done by submerging a cut of meat into a saltwater solution (a wet brine) or by sprinkling salt directly onto the meat (a dry brine). The salt denatures the meat’s proteins, causing the muscle fibers to unravel and swell.

Types of Brine
Wet Brine.

Using a wet brine is the traditional way to brine a turkey. To wet brine turkey, combine salt and water (and other optional flavoring ingredients, like honey or molasses, soy sauce, herbs, apple cider and more) and submerge your turkey in the solution.

How to Wet Brine Turkey.
Create the brine by dissolving 1-1/2 cups of kosher salt (or 1 cup of table salt) into 6 quarts of water. The salt should dissolve naturally when stirred with a whisk.
If you’re adding additional ingredients to brine, like sugar, herbs and other aromatics, mix the salt and additional ingredients with 2 quarts of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer to infuse the flavors into the brine.

Remove the turkey from the packaging and set aside the neck and giblets for making gravy. Place the turkey in an oven bag or your brining container.

Pour the cooled brine over the turkey, adding additional cold water as needed to ensure the turkey is completely submerged. Weigh the turkey down with a plate or bowl if it floats.

Brine the turkey in the refrigerator or an ice-filled cooler for 12 to 24 hours. If you’re brining outside the refrigerator, use a probe thermometer to ensure the brine’s temperature doesn’t exceed 40°F.

A dry brine does the same thing as a wet brine but without using any water. It’s a fancy way of saying seasoning a turkey in advance with salt. The salt pulls out moisture from the meat and creates its own brine when it infuses with the meat’s juices.

How to Dry Brine Turkey.
Remove the turkey from the packaging and set aside the neck and giblets. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and set it on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet.

You’ll need a tablespoon of kosher salt for every two pounds of turkey. You can mix the salt with other dry rub spices to create an herb-rubbed turkey or keep things simple by using salt only.

Sprinkle the salt over the meat, lightly rubbing it in. The turkey should be well-coated with salt (but it shouldn’t be caked on).

Let the turkey sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. You can dry brine with this amount of salt for an additional 24 hours, but the flavor will get saltier and more concentrated. Cover the turkey loosely with plastic wrap after the first 24 hours.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. It’s not necessary to wash off the dry brine.
Roast, grill or smoke the turkey using your favorite recipe.