gordon ramsay's turkey brine guide

Gordon Ramsay’s Turkey Brining Guide (Wet and Dry)

Dry and wet brining are effective techniques for preparing a flavorful and moist turkey. Dry brining involves coating the bird with a mixture of salt, sugar, and aromatic seasonings, which draws out moisture that is then reabsorbed, seasoning the meat deeply and aiding in browning and crisping the skin without requiring much refrigerator space.

Wet brining, conversely, involves soaking the turkey in a flavorful saltwater solution often enhanced with sweeteners like sugar or apple cider and various herbs and spices, ensuring the turkey is submerged for optimal moisture and taste infusion. Both methods are designed to produce a succulent feast, each offering benefits for holiday meal preparations.

Turkey Brine Recipe (Wet and Dry)

Turkey Brine Recipe (Wet and Dry)

Brining a turkey is a time-honored technique many home cooks use to ensure a moist and flavorful bird. Understanding the nuances between wet and dry brining can elevate your Thanksgiving feast.

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  • Wet Brine Turkey
  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 16 pounds, thawed if frozen)

  • 1 gallon water

  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries (optional)

  • 4 bay leaves

  • Fresh herbs (like thyme, rosemary, and sage)

  • Additional water or ice to cover the turkey

  • Dry Brine Turkey
  • Ingredients:

  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 16 pounds, thawed if frozen)

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon dried sage

  • 1 tablespoon paprika (optional, for color)

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Wet Brine Turkey
  • Prepare the Brine: In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water, kosher salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, juniper berries (if using), bay leaves, and fresh herbs to a simmer. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  • Brine the Turkey: Place the turkey in a large brining bag or pot. Pour the cooled brine over the turkey. Add additional water or ice to ensure the turkey is fully submerged. Seal or cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Prepare for Roasting: Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
  • Roast: Preheat your oven and roast the turkey as desired.
  • Dry Brine Turkey
  • Prepare the Turkey: Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Mix Dry Brine: In a small bowl, mix the salt, thyme, rosemary, sage, paprika (if using), and black pepper.
  • Apply Dry Brine: Rub the dry brine mixture all over the outside of the turkey and inside the cavity. Be sure to get under the skin on the breasts.
  • Rest: Place the turkey on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 to 3 days.
  • Roast: When ready to roast, let the turkey sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat your oven, and roast the turkey as desired.


Is it Possible to Dry and Wet Brine a Turkey?

Yes, it is possible to dry and wet brine a turkey, but not simultaneously. You would choose one method or another based on your preference, as they each impart different characteristics to the turkey.

Which Is Superior, Dry or Wet Brining?

The superiority of dry and wet brining depends on personal preference and the desired outcome. Dry brining, which involves rubbing salt and sometimes other seasonings directly onto the turkey, can produce crispier skin and is less messy. Wet brining involves submerging the bird in a saltwater solution, which can produce a juicier bird but may result in slightly soggier skin and require more space in your refrigerator.

Should You Rinse Off the Dry Brine Before Cooking the Turkey?

No, you generally should not rinse dry brine off the turkey. Rinsing can remove the flavorful seasonings and is unnecessary because the salt from the brine will penetrate the meat during the cooking process. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels before cooking to help achieve crisp skin.

Is It Necessary to Rinse the Turkey After Wet Brining?

Yes, after wet brining, rinse the turkey thoroughly under cool water to remove excess salt from the surface, then pat it dry with paper towels. This helps prevent the turkey from being too salty and helps the skin get crispier during roasting.

Last Updated on January 13, 2024 by John Siracusa


  • John Siracusa

    Hi, I'm John. I've worked in the Food Service industry for over 25 years, working in my family's business. Cooking for me has always been an art infused with traditions. My career was inspired by Hell's Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan, which has one of New York City's best independent restaurant communities. I also admire Gordon Ramsay's no-nonsense approach to always being your best.

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