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Chinese Brined Turkey (Extra Juicy and Crispy on All Sides)


When it comes to cooking a turkey, there are countless methods and recipes to choose from. One method that stands out for its flavor and tenderness is Chinese brining. This technique involves marinating the turkey in a flavorful brine solution infused with traditional Chinese spices and ingredients. The result? A turkey that is not only extra juicy but also crispy on all sides, making it a perfect centerpiece for any feast or celebration.

The Art of Brining

Brining is a culinary technique that involves soaking meat in a saltwater solution, known as brine, before cooking. This process helps to infuse the meat with moisture and flavor, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful end product. The salt in the brine also helps to break down the muscle fibers in the meat, making it more tender and succulent.

Chinese Brined Turkey (Extra Juicy and Crispy on All Sides)

The Chinese Twist

What sets Chinese-brined turkey apart is the addition of traditional Chinese spices and ingredients to the brine mixture. These spices, such as star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns, add a unique depth of flavor to the turkey, giving it a distinctively Asian flair.

Creating the Brine

To make the Chinese brine, start by combining water, salt, sugar, and the Chinese spices of your choice in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, submerge the turkey in the brine, making sure it is fully covered. Place the pot in the refrigerator and let the turkey brine for at least 24 hours, allowing the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.

Chinese Brined Turkey (Extra Juicy and Crispy on All Sides)


  • 1 whole turkey (12-14 pounds)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. Prepare the Brine:

  • In a large pot, combine water, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, orange slices, onion slices, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.

2. Brine the Turkey:

  • Place the turkey in a large container or bringing bag.
  • Pour the cooled brine over the turkey, making sure it is fully submerged.
  • Seal the container or bag and place it in the refrigerator to brine for at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours for a larger turkey.

3. Roast the Turkey:

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
  • Rub the vegetable oil all over the turkey to help promote crispiness.
  • Roast the turkey in the preheated oven, allowing approximately 15 minutes of cooking time per pound.
  • Baste the turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes to ensure even browning.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey, aiming for 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the breast.
  • Once cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.

4. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Carve the turkey into slices and serve with your favorite side dishes.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and orange slices for an extra touch of flavor.
  • Enjoy your delicious Chinese-brined turkey with family and friends!


  • Make sure to plan ahead, as brining requires at least 24 hours of preparation time.
  • Feel free to adjust the spices and seasonings in the brine to suit your personal taste preferences.
  • Leftover turkey can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for longer storage.

Chinese Brined Turkey (Extra Juicy and Crispy on All Sides)

The Cooking Process

After the turkey has finished brining, it’s time to cook it to perfection. Preheat your oven to the desired temperature and remove the turkey from the brine, patting it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and brush it with oil or melted butter to help achieve that crispy skin.

How to Brine with Less Liquid

Brining is a popular technique used in cooking to enhance the flavor and tenderness of meat, poultry, and even seafood. While traditional brining involves submerging the food in a large amount of liquid, it is possible to achieve similar results with less liquid. Here’s how:

1. Dry Brining

Dry brining, also known as salt curing or dry curing, is a method that involves rubbing the meat with a mixture of salt and seasonings, then allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for an extended period of time. This technique draws out moisture from the meat, which is then reabsorbed along with the flavors of the salt and seasonings.

Steps for Dry Brining:

  1. Prepare the Mixture: In a small bowl, combine kosher salt with your choice of seasonings, such as herbs, spices, garlic powder, or black pepper.
  2. Coat the Meat: Rub the salt mixture all over the surface of the meat, making sure to coat it evenly. Use about 1 tablespoon of salt mixture per pound of meat.
  3. Refrigerate: Place the meat on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or in a shallow dish, uncovered. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours for larger cuts of meat.
  4. Rinse and Pat Dry: After the brining time is up, rinse the meat under cold water to remove excess salt. Pat dry with paper towels before cooking.

2. Injection Brining

Injection brining involves using a flavorful liquid marinade that is injected directly into the meat using a marinade injector. This method allows you to introduce moisture and flavor deep into the interior of the meat, without the need for submerging it in a large amount of liquid.

Chinese Brined Turkey (Extra Juicy and Crispy on All Sides)

Steps for Injection Brining:

  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a bowl, mix together your desired ingredients for the marinade, such as broth, soy sauce, citrus juice, herbs, and spices.
  2. Inject the Meat: Fill a marinade injector with the prepared marinade. Insert the needle into various parts of the meat, injecting small amounts of marinade as you go. Be careful not to over-inject, as this can cause the meat to become too salty.
  3. Massage and Refrigerate: After injecting the marinade, massage it into the meat to distribute it evenly. Place the meat in a resealable plastic bag or a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  4. Cook as Desired: Once the brining time is complete, remove the meat from the refrigerator and cook it according to your chosen recipe.

Tips for Success

  • Make sure to properly rinse the turkey after brining to remove any excess salt from the surface.
  • For an extra crispy skin, try rubbing the turkey with a mixture of Chinese five-spice powder and oil before roasting.
  • To ensure even cooking, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey, making sure it reaches at least 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the breast.


Chinese brined turkey is a delicious twist on the traditional Thanksgiving bird, offering a flavorful and juicy alternative that is sure to impress your family and friends. With its crispy skin and tender meat, this dish is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a holiday feast or a casual dinner party. So why not give it a try and add a touch of Chinese flair to your next turkey dinner? Your taste buds will thank you!

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