Prep 24 hrs
Cook 20 mins
For holiday turkeys. This keeps the breast meat moist and flavorful.
- 2⁄3 cup kosher salt
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 6 slices fresh ginger, thick
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed (in mortar or spice mill)
- 2 teaspoons allspice berries, crushed (in mortar or spice mill)
- 8 cups unsweetened apple cider (or juice)
- 1 fresh or thawed turkey (10-25 pounds)
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 turkey size oven cooking bags (Reynold's preferred)
- In a 3-4 quart saucepan, combine cider with salt, sugar, ginger, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and allspice; stir to dissolve salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 3-4 minutes; remove from heat, add 4 cups of ice water and set aside to cool.
- Line a heavy roasting pan with turkey-sized oven cooking bags (which should be double-layered).
- Remove the turkey from it's wrapping, remove neck and giblets (store separately), and rinse and prepare bird.
- Stuff cavity with orange quarters.
- Make a collar of the top of cooking bags (helps keep bags open), and slip bird inside, stand it upright (legs pointing up), and unfold the top of the bag.
- Pour the brine over the bird, and add an additional 2 cups of water.
- Draw up the first inner bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and secure with a twist-tie; do the same for the outer bag.
- Place the turkey, breast side down, in the roasting pan and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning 3-4 times while brining.
- Just prior to roasting, remove the turkey from the brine; discard the bags, brine, and all cured herbs, spices, and oranges remaining in the bird.
- Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper toweling.
- Air-dry turkey under refrigeration for 4-6 hours (before cooking) for a crispier crust when roasting.
- The turkey is now ready to be roasted.
This is the first time I've brined and we loved it! Sue, I like your method of using the turkey cooking bags and turning the turkey now and then...it worked well for me in my tiny kitchen (and equally tiny refrigerator). I never could of fit a bucket in my fridge and the weather wasn't quite cold enough to keep it in the garage. I used your recipe, as is, and then grilled the turkey on my Weber. Oh, was it good! DH can't stop talking about it, I'll be doing turkey this way from now on. Thanks so much for this recipe, I'm now a brining pro!
I actually tried this on pork chops instead of turkey. I thought the apple cider and spices would go well with pork, and I was correct! The chops were super tender and juicy. I soaked them in the brine for 4 days (I didnt mean to do so long, but my schedule didnt allow them to be cooked sooner). I kept to the recipe pretty well except for the type of meat. I halved the recipe and still had some brine leftover. I def will make this again. Maybe I will try it with a turkey sometime.
Very yummy! It was our first time doing a brine and we did the brine-in-a-cooler version too. Worked well. We did not have a bag to cook the bird in. The bird took longer than anticipated (to cook). We were so worried that it would be dry. But I think the brine really locked in the juice! 90 minutes after the planned time... our turkey was done!