Karl's Brining Tips

It’s the key to a moist and delicious Thanksgiving Bird. EXCEPT - self-basting!


  • 18 qt. Food grade polycarbonate container (or a large stock pot) – Sure it’s big, but we’re confident that you’ll find a hundred uses for this Humvee of the kitchen container world. Just think about all the sun tea.
  • Lid – It keeps the good stuff and the bad stuff out.
  • Brining Spices – Many businesses, including Cooks, offer a perfectly aromatic blend of brining ingredients. If you don’t have a pre-mixed bag, here’s a quick substitute.
Karl's Brining Tips


For every 3 pounds of bird

  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of each dried herb
  • Whole allspice
  • Whole black pepper
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried juniper berries
  • Depending upon your palate, try not to go much over 2½ cups of salt / sugar.


Heat 3 cups water in saucepan, stir ingredients into hot water until dissolved. As you get up in quantity of the salt / sugar, it may require more water to dissolve.

Pour the hot brine solution into your brining container. Do not place bird directly into hot water. Add additional cold water so over all temp of the brine approaches room temp. Place the bird in a container and add enough additional water to cover the bird.

If time allows brine the bird overnight in a refrigerator.


Remove the bird from the brine. Discard the liquid. Place the bird in a roasting rack and return to the refrigerator.  Allow to dry overnight, uncovered, in your refrigerator. If an exposed bird makes you a little nervous, cover with a very loose piece of foil.




8 – 12 hours in brine. Overnight to dry. If you need to lean toward one side of the brining equation, allow more time for skin to dry. Slightly dry skin will help to promote a golden brown, crispy texture.

For more tips from Karl, click here.