Last September my friend Joe Lembo invited my family over to dinner. I was blown away with the Turkey he had prepared using a brine to create its flavor. It was so moist and full of flavor and I had to know what he did to give it all its flavor. Of course, I had to ask him to please share with Dig This Design and he said yes! I hope you watch the video because it’s full of Joe’s tips for the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey and I would love it if you try this recipe to give us your feedback in the comment section below.

Joe’s No-Fail Brine to Make Your Thanksgiving Turkey Delicious!

Thanksgiving turkey in a pot filled with brine solution

Let’s Get Started

If you’re looking for a way to infuse your Thanksgiving turkey with flavor and make sure this year’s turkey doesn’t end up dry, look no further than the brining method. For this method, you’ll need to consider the size of your turkey because this determines how much time you’ll need to set aside for the brining part. This recipe is one of many tasty ones from my good friend Joe, he’s a wonderful cook and loves creating his own spice recipes. Truly, all you really need for a brine is salt, so don’t be afraid to customize the other ingredients with your own flavor preferences or Thanksgiving dinner theme.



  • 1-1/2 cup of sea salt or Kosher salt, but NOT table salt
  • 2.5 oz. dried apple chips
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 4 Tbsp thyme
  • 5 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 5 Tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1 lemon cut in quarters
  • 5 Tbsp dried onion
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 gallon of water (to be brought to boil with spices)
  • 1 gallon + 2 cups of cold water
  • 6 cups of cold apple cider, NOT apple juice
  • Cleaned turkey
DIY thanksgiving turkey brine recipe using sea or kosher salt for brine solution
Aromatic spice ingredients for thanksgiving turkey brine recipe


In a container with a lid, combine salt with all dry ingredients and shake well. In a large pot combine all dry ingredients and 1 gallon of water. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator. Once cold, add 1 gallon and 2 cups of water and 6 cups of apple cider. Be sure the turkey has been cleaned, then place in a brining bag or large pot with a lid that can hold all the ingredients. Add the brining solution over the turkey, cover and refrigerate for 12 – 36 hours depending on the turkey weight, (see below). After the time is up, rinse the excess salt and spices and cook as desired.

How long should I brine my turkey?

The amount of time your turkey should spend chilling in the refrigerator in the brining solution depends on the weight of the bird.

  • 10 – 13 lbs = 12 – 15 hours
  • 14 – 20 lbs = 16 – 24 hours
  • 20 – 30 lbs = 24 – 36 hours

Happy turkey brining!

Images by DigThisDesign.

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and talent offering design tips.