Though not the mass–energy equivalence, brining is a product of scientific theory and a damn good way to make bland meat taste great.   If you can remember way back to Mrs. Pitzer’s fifth grade science class, osmosis is the flow of water from area of higher concentration (the brine) to an area of lower concentration (the meat).  During this scientific marvel, the protein molecules in the meat change, resulting in gaps between the muscle fibers.  These gaps fill with water and flavor (the brine), which results in a moist and flavorful bird.  The chart below is a formula guide for a simple brining solution:

Turkey Cold Water Kosher Salt Sugar Time
Whole Turkey (12 to 15 lbs.) 2 gallons 1 ½ cups ½ cup 8 to 12 hours
Whole Turkey (16 to 22 lbs.) 3 gallons 2 ¼ cups ¾ cup 8 to 12 hours
1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 lbs.) 1 gallon ¾ cup ¼ cup 3 to 6 hours


Salt and sugar alone will change the protein structures and give you the moisture effects you desire, but add a little herbs and spices, you have a flavor masterpiece.  Here is a flavorful brine I like to use around the holidays:

Turkey Beer Brine

2 T  dry thyme

1 T  onion powder

2 T  dry rosemary

1 T  ground coriander

2 T  black pepper

1 T  garlic, minced

1 t  anise Seed

4 each  bay leaf

1  apple, cubed

1  whole orange, peel only

1  12-ounce bottle beer

In a large vessel, combine salt, water and sugar quantities as charted above.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix until salt and sugar mostly dissolved.  Refrigerator the bird as indicated above.  Once brining process is complete, rinse bird thoroughly and pat dry.  Season with your favorite seasoning blend (preferably from Schitbird.com or LoneStarSpiceCo.) and cook as you desire.  I would recommend referring back to “Once You Go Fried…” 

Please note, that a brine is a highly concentrate salt solution.  If your seasoning already has salt in it, this may make your bird a bit too salty.  To avoid this, choose a rub that is salt-free or if you don’t have a salt-free version, use less seasoning than you typically would.


About TheTwistedEpicurean

Culinary BullSchit Artist View all posts by TheTwistedEpicurean

4 responses to “E=mc2

  • KCC

    brined some chicken thies last night and braised with onions, toms and the like. I was amazed at the amount of liquid produced as I was searing the birds. You can bet I reserved some of the liquid for stock to use on Thanksgiving.

    however, I do have one question. why rinse the birds after brining? Seems like you lose some of the goodies that stick to the skin.

    • TheTwistedEpicurean

      Glad you enjoyed the brine and the birds. As for rinsing the bird off after brining, it is not necessary, but recommended. The brining solution is a highly concentrated salt solution, which leaves a salty residue on the bird after brining. Add that salt to your after brine seasonings (which typically contain salt) and you may get over salted bird.

  • Tricia Welch

    Thanks for the brine recipe. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!! Love, Yo Mama

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