One of the most important projects in this year’s Thanksgiving Test Kitchen was brining a turkey better than anyone else. For that, we called upon the Thanksgiving master skills superstar chef Amanda Freitag. She stopped by our daylong event to brew up a batch of her famous pomegranate and fresh herb brine, and show us exactly how to brine a turkey at home, step-by-step.

Brining your turkey seals moisture and flavor into the meat and prevents your bird from drying out during roasting. Pretty much every chef we polled endorses brining turkey for 24 hours before transferring it to the oven, so we’re inclined to do the same. Chef Freitag’s expert tip: a brined turkey browns more quickly, so have foil handy to cover it. In fact, have lots of foil. Lots and lots. It’s Thanksgiving.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 7 quarts of water
  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 Spanish onions
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 bunch thyme

Photos by Gabi Porter. Click on first photo to view as slideshow.