Apple Cider Brined Turkey
This turkey is incredibly moist and flavorful, and always receives rave reviews!
- BRINE :
- 8 c. apple cider
- 2/3 c. kosher salt
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1 T. black peppercorns coarsely crushed
- 1 T. whole allspice coarsely crushed
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger peeled & cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (12-lb.) fresh or frozen turkey thawed
- 2 oranges quartered
- 6 c. Ice
- Remaining ingredients :
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 sage leaves
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 4 parsley sprigs
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 (14-oz.) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 T. unsalted butter melted and divided
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper divided
- 1/2 tsp. salt divided
- COOK'S NOTE: Brining is an overnight process, so if you're using a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw it well in advance. Choose turkey-sized plastic oven bags for brining the turkey. Use two bags to prevent brine from leaking and place the turkey in a large stockpot as another precaution.
- BRINE: Combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
- Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for gravy. 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 the inner bag. Add cooled cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
- The next day: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place remaining ingredients, garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn the turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Reserve pan drippings for gravy.