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Buttermilk Chicken Turkey Brine Recipe

Buttermilk Chicken Turkey Brine Recipe

The sentence of the day: ALWAYS soak (brine) your whole chicken and whole turkey before cooking!

I heart this buttermilk brine SO FREAKIN MUCH!!! If you have never brined whole chicken or turkey before then trust me, you will want to start.

A brine is simply a mixture of ingredients that you soak your meat in prior to cooking. There are dry brines and wet brines.  I like wet brines better. Brines can add flavor to the meat depending on what spices you add, but most importantly it makes the meat super juicy and tender.
Many people brine their whole poultry using salted water or broth (since it’s cheaper) but I always prefer good ol buttermilk. (It’s only like $3-$4 a gallon and so worth it IMO)
Apple juice is also a very popular liquid to brine in. I think buttermilk makes the absolute best brine for chicken and turkey. Not only does it add richness to the meat but it naturally tenderizes it to fall-off-the-bone perfection.
So here is one of my all time favorite brines to use on Thanksgiving turkeys. It creates a bird that is ridiculously moist and juicy and has a subtle seasoned taste that doesn’t overpower the natural taste of the meat which means it pairs up great with just about any gravy or dressing.
Don’t let the hot sauce in this brine recipe scare you. Your bird WON’T come out tasting anything like hot sauce.
I always make gravy to go along with my turkey but honestly, you really don’t need it. Yes, it makes poultry THAT moist! Just PLEASE don’t overcook your bird!!!!!
When I first made this brine and cooked my turkey, I went to grab off the leg and the only thing I was left holding was the bone LOL. All the meat had slide right off! And the breast, omg talk about JUICY!
I hope that you enjoy this brine just as much as I do!

Buttermilk Brine For Chicken & Turkey

Watch me make this buttermilk brine from start to finish
Buttermilk Chicken Turkey Brine Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • (for 5 lb. bird) (double the recipe as needed)
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons KOSHER salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed, fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning 3 tablespoons hot sauce
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Step 1.) Combine all ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Step 2.) Place bird in a brining bag and pour in the brine.
  3. Step 3.) Tie the bag, removing all air. The brine should completely surround and cover the bird.
  4. Step 4.) Brine for 8 to 12 hours.
  5. Step 5.) Thoroughly rinse off the brine and pat the bird dry. The bird is now ready to be seasoned and cooked.
Notes
MY WHOLE CHICKEN AND TURKEY ROASTING TIPS: *I like to stuff my chicken & turkey with chopped green apples, onions and garlic. It adds moisture and a hint of great flavor.(discard after roasting) * Follow the directions on your bird for cooking. Remember that the bird will continue to cook when removed from the oven so keep that in mind. *Allow the bird to rest for a few minutes before carving to let all the juices settle. *I always roast my bird, breast side down. *I usually broil my bird for a few minutes before it's done to create a crunchy-like skin. *Basting really isn't needed but sometimes I pour a few cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan to baste my bird with. And it makes a flavorful gravy. * I ALWAYS butter my chicken generously under and on top of the skin before roasting. And sprinkle with desired seasonings.

MY WHOLE CHICKEN AND TURKEY ROASTING TIPS:
*I like to stuff my chicken & turkey with chopped green apples, onions and garlic. It adds moisture and a hint of great flavor.(discard after roasting)
* Follow the directions on your bird for cooking. Remember that the bird will continue to cook when removed from the oven so keep that in mind.
*Allow the bird to rest for a few minutes before carving to let all the juices settle.
*I always roast my bird, breast side down.
*I usually broil my bird for a few minutes before it’s done to create a crunchy-like skin.
*Basting really isn’t needed but sometimes I pour a few cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan to baste my bird with. And it makes a flavorful gravy.
* I ALWAYS butter my chicken generously under and on top of the skin before roasting. And sprinkle with desired seasonings.

20 comments

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  2. how big is the bird you used? I’m cooking an 11lb Turkey. do I triple the ingredients?

  3. My turkey is brining as we speak will pop it in the when when i come home from work in the morning cant wait to taste it. Also using your red velvet cake recipe so far so good. keep the recipes coming.

  4. This sounds great, I have always used buttermilk brine on chickens, but it never occurred to me to use it for turkey. My question is, how does the juices coming out of the turkey work out for a gravy?

  5. Second time I’ve tried this — today doin’ a whole chicken. PS I’m a middle aged white guy and your recipes are the best for me. Rock on!

  6. What could be a good replacement for buttermilk? I have allergic reactions.Thanks

    • There are powered alternatives that seem to be less reactive to some people allergies. You can also simply do a saltwater brine. Add large amounts of whatever spices you might like. Tuck some cold butter under the skin during baking.

  7. Rockin’ turkey! Thanks for the recipe, thanks for the video, thanks for the Thanksgiving turkey!

  8. Hey Mo.,
    I just wanted you to know that I so love your site, I love to cook also and are one of those ol’fashion cooks too but when I’m looking for some new flavores I always head over to your site!! Can’t stress enough how much I love it, I’m so glad You’re doing what you do, God couldn’t have chosen a better person, may he continue to bless and keep you!

    Much Love,

    LaTonya P.

  9. Okay, Monique. I’m going to try this brine for this Thanksgiving, 2011.

    Lord willing, I will let you know how it turned out. From the looks of the other comments, I think I’ll be well please.

    It just so happens that I’ve been a big turkey baster, for years now. I would be up through all hours of the night basting my turkey every 20 minutes to a half an hour, or so. While it turned out really tender, I was tired by the time it was finished. I will try this and hopefully, I won’t have to baste quite as much.

    Thanks, as always.

  10. Can you fry the turkey using this brine recipe?

  11. Hey Funny girl! Where are you?? All my leftovers from Thanksgiving are long gone and we need cooking inspiration!!
    Hope all is well with you and yours.

  12. This brine is frakin' magic! I received many compliments! Thanks girl!

  13. Girl, You Are a GENIUS!!!! I used this brine two days ago and let my turkey sit in it overnight! OMG!!! Last night when i took my turkey out of the oven it was falling off the bone! And it was so Juicy!!! Thanks so much and keep doing what you do!

  14. I buttermilk brined my turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, at church this Sunday. It was amazing. I didn't use this particular recipe, but I am sure it is just as awesome as the one I used. I will forever brine in Buttermilk. Great looking and tasting bird.

  15. LOL!! "Rinse it like it's a burning relaxer" LOL! I've gone natural for a long time now, but I still remember how that burning sensation feel. You are hilarious!

    I have been bringing my turkey with water, kosher salt, and brown sugar. I love that you used buttermilk. YUM!

  16. Alright, I'm trusting you. This is going to be my Thanksgiving turkey recipe. I'm up in Alaska and I'll be feeding some Air Force guys who can't go home for Thanksgiving. I'll let you know how it turns out!

  17. girl I wakeup this morning looking for a brine recipe, and there yours was thanks again diva. this is it.

  18. The green apple stuffing sounds good. Gonna try that next time I make a whole chicken.

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