The brine can be made a full week ahead, if desired. After brining the turkey should be cooked within 24 hours.
Yields: 2 1/2 quarts
1 1/2 cupskosher salt
4 bay leaves
2 tbsppickling spice
6 cupsice water
1Bring the salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, pickling spice, and the 4 cups water to a boil in a sauce pan. Boil for 10 minutes, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain and add to the ice water, mixing well.
2To brine turkey: Rinse the bird with cold water, removing any necks, gizzards, etc. (reserve for stock). Place the turkey in a bucket or deep container and cover with enough of the cooled brine to cover. You can also sanitize a small ice chest and place the bird directly in or in a heavy duty clear garbage bag and surround with the brine. Add ice as needed to keep below 40 degrees.
3Brine the turkey under refrigeration overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove from the brine before roasting, discarding the used brine.
4This makes enough brine to cover a 12-16# bird.
This is my secret to moist, flavorful turkey every time.