James Whelan Butchers: Brining Your Turkey

turkey in brineBrining your turkey is similar to marinating, but is primarily focused on moistening the meat as opposed to adding flavor to it. Brining your turkey prior to cooking will help ensure you end up with a deliciously moist and flavor-packed turkey this Christmas.

What you need to know about brining

The first step in the process is selecting your brine recipe. This recipe  is a simple and versatile choice that works. Once you’ve selected your brine you’ll need to:

  • Purchase a fresh turkey .
  • The night before roasting rinse the turkey inside and out.
  • Prepare your brine. Be sure to mix ingredients until all of the salt is dissolved.  If your brine is heated, be sure to cool it to room temperature.
  • Place your turkey, breast down, in a large container made of food-grade standard.
  • Add your brine, to cover the entire turkey.
  • Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cook turkey as desired.


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Makes approximately 8 cups

To Cook

Combine all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Transfer to a bowl or other container and allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight before using.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Handweavers Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Rathmines and Swords in Dublin. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

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