Wildcard Winners

Let Your Turkey Party the Night Before Thanksgiving

Let's skip the part where we talk about how turkey can be dry and boring and blah blah blah. We know it can. Here's a new way we're changing that this year: this Gin Brined Turkey.

It's easy, too! Just stir together gin, water, and salt, then add a bunch of herbaceous aromatics (including an apple and juniper berries) and pour it over a turkey securely placed in a brine bag. Then, forget about it for 24 to 48 hours. Brining, more or less, locks in the bird's juiciness, preventing moisture loss, while the alcohol acts as a meat tenderizer. In the end, you're left with an easily-flavored turkey with subtle notes of floral and citrus.

You could, as the recipe suggests, rub compound butter underneath the skin of the turkey and stuff some aromatics into the turkey's cavity—or you could do as we did and simply rub the bird with oil, salt, and pepper. This turkey allows for interpretation, happily accepting most herbs and your favorite gin (we used Beefeater Gin). This is one not dry, not boring turkey, not blah blah blah if we do say so ourselves.

How do you brine your turkey? Let us know in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ChefJune
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


ChefJune November 3, 2016
I have never brined a turkey in my nearly 50 years of cooking them. Early on they were mostly supermarket turkeys. These days I buy a free-range grass-fed turkey from a local farmer. I can tell you for sure I have NEVER made a turkey that turned out dry. I'm not knocking brining, just saying there is more than one way to ensure a moist, succulent turkey.
Riddley G. November 3, 2016
Hi! Of course, we also aren't trying to say this is the only way to ensure a moist bird. Just a fun option!