Apple Cider Brined Turkey

This is our go to brine for our turkey every year. It comes from a Cooking Light recipe in the mid-2000s and we love it. The measurements for the spices are just a guide – add more or less to taste. Just make sure you have a pot big enough for your turkey to brine overnight!

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • ⅔ cup kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed
  • 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 6 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup butter or substitute
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs to preference
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Coarsely sliced onion
  • Chicken or turkey broth

To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely. I usually do this the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving to first be certain that the brine has completely cooled, and second to let the turkey brine for a solid 24 hours.

Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Melt the butter (or substitute), mix with salt and pepper, and brush over the top of the turkey, as well as lift the skin and rub butter mixture over breast meat.

Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and add about 1/2 a cup broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. You made need to add more as it roasts. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack.

I do like to start the turkey off at 500 for about 15-20 minutes, and then drop the oven to 350. Roast according to the size of your turkey.


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