We are at day 2 of our series Countdown to Thanksgiving Food and Frills. Yesterday you learned how to set a beautiful table with simple things around the house.

Today you will learn how to prepare a turkey so it’s moist and delicious instead of tasting like a piece of leather. The process is easy and you can use the ingredients you have around your house. Watch the video to see how it’s done.

How to Prepare a Thanksgiving Day Turkey for Roasting



How to brine turkey and other poultry

Brining is a process that uses a salt solution to tenderize poultry, whether it’s turkey, chicken, or Cornish hen. It helps break down connective tissue to make the bird more tender, and adds flavor, moisture and great taste.

These instructions are for a 12- to 14-pound bird. If your bird is larger or smaller, adjust the quantities appropriately.

Gather your ingredients and supplies:

  • 16-18 quart container
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4 cups of salt
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2 ounces of bourbon (more if you like)
  • 3 cups of ice
  1. Add two gallons of water to any container that is large enough to allow the entire turkey to be immersed. (You’ll need a container whose capacity is approximately 16 to 18 quarts.) As long as the container is clean, you can use anything that accommodates the size of your bird.
  2. Add 4 cups of salt to the water
  3. Add 4 cups of sugar to the water. The sugar helps sweeten the turkey, counteracting the acidity of the salt.
  4. Add 2 ounces of bourbon. (Bourbon is also an acid that will help break down the connective tissue of the meat. You can use as much as you like.)
  5. Whisk the brine solution until all ingredients are dissolved and mixed.
  6. Add 3 cups of ice. Ice is a very critical ingredient because it is important to ensure the temperature of the water stays below 40 degrees to avoid bacteria growth.
  7. Clean the bird, both inside and out, and then pat with a paper towel to dry completely.
  8. Add the washed and dried bird to the solution. Make sure that the turkey is completely immersed in the water with the salt, sugar and bourbon.
  9. Place container and turkey into the refrigerator, and leave it sit for six to eight hours.
  10. After six to eight hours, remove the container from the refrigerator and then remove the turkey from the container. Rinse it off and pat it dry, making sure that all the water is removed from the cavity.

Shopping List

How to brine turkey and other poultry

12-14 pound turkey
2 gallons of water
3 cups of ice cubes
4 cups of salt
4 cups of sugar
2 ounces of bourbon1 16-18 quart bucket

How do you prepare your Thanksgiving Turkey? Do you eat something other than turkey? Do you eat turkey?