Maple and Brown Sugar Turkey Brine

Maple and brown sugar brine

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Cool: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 gallon
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
279 Calories
0g Fat
70g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9570mg 416%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 26%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 65g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 251mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This brine offers a sweet maple flavor and can be used on any kind of poultry and pork. Further enhanced with bay, garlic, peppercorns, sea salt, soy sauce, and thyme, it will add plenty of delicious flavors while ensuring the meat comes out tender and juicy, no matter how you cook it. Try it on your holiday turkey, large pork roasts, or weeknight pork chops.

The recipe creates one gallon of brine. That's enough for a small (about 12-pound) turkey or the average pork roast. Make more if needed; the goal is to ensure the meat is completely submerged during the brining process.

Follow brining instructions for optimal results. This includes tips like selecting a proper container—glass, plastic, or stainless steel—that's large enough to hold the brining meat and fit in your fridge. You also need to be patient. The water is heated on the stovetop to help the maple syrup, brown sugar, and salt dissolve, so you need to let the brine cool completely before adding the meat, or you'll start cooking it prematurely. If you have time to spare, make the brine the night before because the flavors will continue to develop the longer they rest.

Remember also that each meat requires a different brining time. For instance, a turkey should brine for at least one hour per pound (but not longer than two days, according to the USDA). Large cuts of pork are often best overnight or up to 24 hours. If you're brining pork chops, cut the brine recipe in half and brine for about six hours.

Once brined, you can cook the meat on the grill or in the oven; pork chops can even be sautéed in a skillet. Use another recipe as an example for the best cooking times and temperature; be sure to cook any meat to its minimum safe internal temperature.

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts water, divided

  • 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed

  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup

  • 3/4 cup sea salt

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce

  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic

  • 6 whole bay leaves

  • 3 large sprigs thyme

  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for brine
    The Spruce
  2. Place 2 quarts of water and other ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and maple syrup.

    Add water
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  3. Remove from heat, add the remaining 2 quarts and allow the brine to cool completely (this might take an hour or more) before using to brine turkey or pork.

    Remove from heat
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Article Sources
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  1. Magoulas, A. Brining safely will bring tender, flavorful meat to the Thanksgiving table. USDA. Published online August 3, 2021.