How To Brine A Frozen Turkey- Making A Perfect Treat

how to brine a frozen turkey

One of the most important parts of any feast is the turkey, and if you’re looking to make a perfect holiday meal, you’ll want to learn how to brine a frozen turkey.

Brine is a saltwater solution that helps to tenderize and flavor the meat, and it’s an essential step in making a delicious turkey.

In this article, we will show you how to make a simple brine solution for your turkey, as well as how to properly brine the meat. And so, if you’ve never brined before, don’t worry – it’s easy to do, and we’ll walk you through the process step by step.

But you are new to the concept of brining and want to know more about it before you get started? No problem! We’ve got you covered.

Why Should You Brine Frozen Turkey?

If you brine a turkey, that means submerging it in salt water for 8 to 24 hours. You might have heard of the method even if you’re not sure why people do it and how exactly they do it.

In order for frozen meat to maintain moisture during cooking, it is important to brine it before cooking. This involves exposing the meat to salt, which causes the muscle fibers in the meat to expand and retain more moisture. All types of meat will lose some amount of moisture as they cook, but if you brine the meat ahead of time, it will stay juicy and moist even after lengthy cooking periods.

Not only will brining the meat makes it more tender, but it will also enhance the flavor. We discovered that even a quick brine can improve cuts like pork chops.

Not only does salt make your food more seasoned, but it also helps to bring out the natural flavors of whatever you’re cooking. If you want an even bolder taste, try adding other substances to your brine such as brown sugar, apple juice, fresh herbs, and aromatic vegetables. Doing this will undoubtedly result in a tastier product.

Step-By-Step Guide To Brine Frozen Turkey

Step – 1: Thaw Frozen Turkey

While you may be anxious to get the turkey into the brine, it is important that you let it thaw completely first. This process can take up to 2 days in the fridge, so plan ahead!

If you’re short on time, you can also thaw the turkey in cold water. Just make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to keep the meat from getting too warm.

Thawing Frozen Meat In Refrigerator

If you are thawing the frozen meat in the refrigerator, place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any drips.

If you want to avoid bacteria growth and consequent food poisoning, keep your turkey refrigerated while it is thawing.

The general rule of thumb is that it takes about 4 hours per pound to thaw a turkey in the fridge.

Thawing Frozen Meat In Cold Water

If you are running short on time and need to thaw the meat quickly, cold water is your next best option.

To do this, fill a sink or large pot with cold water and submerge the turkey. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes so that the meat doesn’t start to cook. It will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw the turkey using this method.

Make sure that all the time, the temperature remains at 40°F or lower, otherwise, bacteria can start to grow.

Step – 2: Make Brine Solution

Brine is a term used in the culinary world to describe water saturated with salt. A dry brine is when you heavily season meat with salt before cooking.

But while cooking turkey, brining means submerging the turkey in a saltwater solution. This method is used to keep the turkey moist and flavorful.

To make a super-effective brine solution, use the following formulas. But first, find a big container that will fit your turkey snugly. It can be a stockpot, a large bowl, or even a clean cooler.

Formula To Make A Basic Brine Sultion

(Quantity per gallon of brine.)

  • 1 cup of coarse salt or 1/2 cup of kosher salt or 1/2 cup of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Simply add the required amount of salt and sugar to 1 gallon of water. Stir well until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Formula To Make A Flavored Brine Solution

(Quantity per gallon of brine.)

  • 1 cup of coarse salt or 1/2 cup of kosher salt or 1/2 cup of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 apple
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme springs
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 rosemary springs

Boil all the above ingredients in the required amount of liquid for 5 minutes. Allow the ingredients to steep in the liquid for 30-60 minutes. This will help to release their flavor into the mixture.

Then strain the mixture and use it as brine solution.

Step – 3: Submerge Turkey In Brine Solution

Once the brine solution is cooled, it’s time to submerge the turkey.

Make sure to remove any giblets from the turkey cavity before placing it in the brine. These can be saved and used to make gravy or stuffing later on.

Next, completely submerge the turkey in the brine making sure that there are no air pockets. If necessary, use a plate or lid to keep the turkey completely submerged.

Step – 4: Let The Turkey Sit In Brine Solution

Cover the container and place it in the fridge and keep the temperature 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

You have to brine for 1 hour per pound of turkey. So, if you’re working with a 12-pound turkey, it will need to brine for 12 hours.

I recommend brining the turkey overnight for the best flavor. Just remember to take it out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking so that it can come to room temperature.

As I plan ahead, I remove my turkey the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight.

Cook As Desired

Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the solution. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water.

Pat it dry with paper towels and then cook as desired. You will notice that the skin will dry out but the meat will retain moisture and flavor.

FAQs – About Brining

Can I thaw and brine frozen turkey at the same time?

You can easily thaw and brine your frozen turkey at the same time with these simple steps. First, pour the frozen bird into a sink or container of cold water to start defrosting it. While the turkey is thawing, prepare your brine solution according to the recipe or package directions. When the brine is ready, submerge the still-frozen turkey in it. Put it in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Can I brine a partially frozen turkey?

If your turkey is still frozen in some spots, it’s okay to brine it, but the process won’t be as effective. This rule applies to both dry and wet brining. Your meat will have a better chance if it’s at least defrosted before you add it to the salt solution.

Can I brine a turkey that’s already been brined?

You should not re-brine a turkey that has already been brined. This can make the meat too salty and cause other problems. If you’re not sure whether your turkey has been previously brined, check with the butcher or manufacturer.

What other meats can I brine?

Besides turkey, you can brine chicken, pork, and seafood. In fact, almost any type of meat can benefit from brining.

Keep Your Ingredients Ready For Brine Solution

Brine solution is very easy to make at home with some easily available ingredients in your kitchen. Though the process takes time, it is definitely worth trying it once for that perfect turkey. Just remember to keep your ingredients ready before you start making the brine solution. 

Also, do not forget to take out the turkey from brine solution 2 hours before cooking so that it comes to room temperature. This will help in cooking the turkey evenly. And most importantly, do not forget to enjoy your feast with family and friends. Happy Cooking!