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Beer Brined Turkey

5 from 8 votes


  • 2 large turkey oven bags, or bucket large enough to fit the turkey, but small enough so that the entire turkey is submerged.


  • 1, 12-16 lb turkey* thawed
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups Kosher or Sea Salt don't use iodized table salt
  • 5 cloves of garlic quartered
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 2 (22 oz) large bottles of brown ale or wheat beer (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cup ice
  • 3 celery ribs cut in half
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of chicken broth plus 4-6 cups water if needed


  • In a large pot, add the water, salt, garlic, allspice, cloves, and one of the onions. Bring to just barely boiling and remove from heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt. Add the beer and ice, stir. (if your turkey is over 18 lbs, double the brine recipe)
  • Allow to cool to room temp, refrigerating if necessary. The brine must be cooled before you add your turkey or it will start to cook.
  • Rinse the thawed turkey and remove anything that has been placed inside the cavity.
  • Place turkey in either the large bucket or the oven bags. If you are using the oven bags, place one inside the other and the turkey inside those. Pour the brine over the turkey. If using the oven bags, make sure to remove as much air as possible and seal as tightly as you can, place in a roasting pan in case the brine starts to leak. Place in the refrigerator.
  • Brine for 16-18 hours. If using the oven bags, rotate the turkey every 6-8 hours to ensure an even brine.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse really well, inside and out with cold water.
  • Place turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Place in the fridge, uncovered, for 12-18 hours to dry the skin. This is the step that will give you a nice crispy skin to go along with your juicy bird.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Truss your turkey if desired.
  • Brush your entire turkey with olive oil, sprinkle with salt.
  • Stuff the other quartered onion, and the celery inside the cavity of the bird.
  • Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Add the broth to the bottom of the roasting pan. If the pan starts to dry out during the cooking, add the additional water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Do not allow the broth/water in the roasting pan to touch the turkey.
  • Cook until your turkey reaches about 160 degrees (it will continue to cook once out of the oven to meet the 165-degree temperature). Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.


Turkey that has been pre-treated or pre-brined will be too salty. Large commercial poultry farms often add a salt brine to increase the weight and therefore the cost of the bird, "Kosher" turkeys are generally pre-treated with salt and aren't the best to use with a brine, as they will be too salty. "Natural" turkeys will most likely not be pre-treated with salt. If the label list "sodium" as an ingredient, it will likely be too salty to use with a brine. Look for a natural turkey or one that has never been exposed to salt