Can You Thaw and Brine Turkey at Same Time

(Last Updated On: November 19, 2017)

So you want to brine your turkey. You have seen countless Instagram post sharing the beauty of bringing and you want to get in on the action. Problem is though, your turkey is still frozen and your not going to have time to brine. Or are you?

Can You Thaw and Brine Turkey at Same Time?

Yes you can. Breathe a sigh of relief now and read on.

One of the ways I like to quickly thaw my turkey is by placing it in a water. I take a frozen bird, place it in a bucket, weigh it down, and it sits there until ready. I add ice sometimes depending on how cold that temperature of the water stays, needs to be at 40 or below at all times.

So instead of just soaking the turkey in flavorless water, you could soak the turkey in a brine. Two birds are killed with one stone (although most likely if your turkey was frozen it was already killed).

What Do I Need to Thaw and Brine Turkey at Same Time?

Start with a 5 gallon bucket. Your standard issue bucket. Make sure that is really clean before hand.

You also will need seasonings for the brine. Every brine of course starts with salt. Kosher salt is my go to for this purpose. While you can just brine with salt, there are many other options that can be used to add even more flavor. Here is a list of them:

Whole/Cracked Black Peppercorn
Dried Thyme
Dried Rosemary
Dried Oregano
Dried Sage
Whole/Cracked Allspice
Garlic Powder
Brown sugar
Vegetable stock
Chicken stock
Turkey stock
Candied ginger
Ground ginger

Any of these would be things you could add to the brine.

Usually I never remove the packaging the turkey comes in until fully thawed. But in this case you need your brine to get into the bird while it thaws. So good ahead and remove all the packaging, so you just have a frozen bird.

For more instructions, I am going to turn it over to an expert. That man who taught me nearly everything I know about turkey and half of what I know about food in general………Hey, Alton Brown. How do you brine and thaw a turkey at the same time? (Humor me and pretending he is directly answering my question).

Watch the video.

Thoughts on Alton’s Video

Wonderful advice Alton. I like his gentle jabs at the people whose kitchen this is. Alton shows it is not too hard to pull this off, even when you only have a small amount of time.

Alton used a giant plastic container to do this turkey. I think the 5 gallon bucket is easier to come by. But if you want that kind of container, head on over to your local restaurant supply store, they should have them. It’s possible that places like Costco and Sam’s Club may have them as well.

In the video, Alton just uses salt. I think the brine should have more ingredients to it to bring more flavor to the party (just like Alton says). For the video, Alton was going with simplicity and these people probably didn’t have any seasonings in their kitchen.

Lastly I love Alton’s idea of using a probe thermometer to keep track of the brine temperature. Probe thermometer have more uses than just being the most important thing to cook perfect meat (cheap plug for another post of mine).

Let me know if you decide to employ the thaw brine. Leave a comment below.

2 Replies to “Can You Thaw and Brine Turkey at Same Time”

  1. Doing it tonight. Five gallon bucket, brined and spiced then spatchcocked and grilled. Thanks for the post!

  2. Eric Samuelson says:

    You’re welcome. I love that your going to spatchcocked it and grill it. That sounds amazing. I have done this with chicken before but never turkey. I am sure it will come out great.

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