Cooler Turkey Brine

A bowl of brine concentrate is poured on a raw turkey in a small red cooler.

Whether at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or throughout the year this Cooler Turkey Brine is a great way to get moisture and flavor into your turkey. Make sure you start with a clean cooler before you start the brining process. 

The cooler provides a number of advantages. It is a large enough sized vessel to hold a whole turkey. It also helps to keep the turkey cold when there may be limited access or space in the refrigerator. You can even use this method at home when you run out of refrigerator space during the holidays.

Brines can vary in their salt content which changes the texture of the meat. This is a mild version, which provides moist meat but doesn’t cause a rubberiness. The simple flavors are traditional and subtle for a rich flavor that doesn’t overpower the turkey.

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Water is poured from a blue camp kettle into a white camp bowl with the solid brine ingredients.
By adding boiling water to the salt, sugar, and herbs it makes sure they are activated and dissolved into the brine to permeate the turkey.
A jug of water being poured over the turkey to finalize the brine ratios.
The final water is added and should just cover the turkey.
The brine concentrate is being poured over the raw turkey sitting in the cooler.
The brine concentrate is poured over the turkey before the remaining water is added.
Ice cubes floating around a raw turkey submerged in a brine in a cooler.
If there is any concern that the water will get too hot during the brining process, add some ice cubes to keep the temperature down.
A bowl of brine concentrate is poured on a raw turkey in a small red cooler.
Brining your turkey in a cooler makes sure it keeps cold, especially when you have limited refrigeration space.

Cooler Turkey Brine Recipe

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A bowl of brine concentrate is poured on a raw turkey in a small red cooler.
Whether at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or throughout the year this Cooler Turkey Brine is a great way to get moisture and flavor into your turkey.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 6 hours
Ready in 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
CourseMain Dish
InfluenceGlobal
DifficultyBeginner
MethodNo Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic granules
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 24 cups cold water
  • ice as needed

Equipment

  • small bowl
  • medium size cooler

Directions

  • In a small bowl add the salt, sugar, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Leave to rest and cool while preparing the cooler and turkey.
  • Using dishwashing liquid (not a harsh chemical or bleach), clean the cooler. If hot water is used ensure that it is cooled with some ice before adding the brine.
  • Remove the turkey from its packaging; remove the giblets and trim any excess fat. Rinse under water then place in the clean cooler.
  • Pour the prepared brine concentrate over the turkey.
  • Add the cold water to dilute the brine, stirring to ensure it is evenly distributed. If you are concerned that the brine will not remain cold, add some ice cubes.

Nutritional Information

Sodium: 9458mgCalcium: 39mgVitamin C: 1mgVitamin A: 36IUSugar: 4gFiber: 1gPotassium: 27mgCalories: 23kcalMonounsaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gFat: 1gProtein: 1gCarbohydrates: 6gIron: 1mg

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Outdoor cooking has been Saffron’s passion since she was young, often choosing to go camping and cook hearty meals over fire rather than stay inside, watch TV, and eat take-out. Today she is the driving force of Bush Cooking bringing the skills of cooking outdoors to thousands of people.

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