This brine turkey is simply amazing!!! It takes roughly 1 day of brining followed by 3 hours or so of prep/cooking on the day of serving. Overall, it was an amazing Thanksgiving bird and, prepared this way, also comes accompanied by deliciously spiced vegetables!
What I Used:
- Ingredients for brine
- 2 gallons cold water
- 3 cups apple cider (non-spiced)
- 4 stems fresh rosmeary
- 10 stems fresh thyme
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
- 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp peppercorns
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 oranges
- Juniper berries
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 Tbsp juniper berries
- Large bucket with lid (5 gallon paint buckets work well)
- Trash bags (we used 3 standard trash bags)
- Turkey (we used a 13lb bird for these pictures)
- Ingredients to stuff
- 2 Tbsp salted butter (for brushing)
- Turkey rub (we used some Farmer’s Market spice blend, but there are several options available at stores and around your community)
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 celery stalk
- 1 whole orange
- 4 Tbsp salted butter (to cut in small slabs)
- 6 cloves garlic
- Peel and mince 5 garlic cloves.
- Line large bucket with trash bags.
- Peel 3 oranges–preserve peel for brine.
(1) Pour water into large pot. Put water over heat.
(2) Add all brine ingredients, bring to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
(3) Remove neck and organs from turkey cavity (if desired, preserve for Brine Turkey Gravy). Wash turkey and put breast-side down in bagged bucket.
(4) Place turkey, neck down in bucket. Pour room temperature brine mixture over turkey. The brine water must cover the turkey. If necessary, add ice water until the turkey is fully covered with liquid.
If you’re having a difficult time getting your brine to room temperature, try putting your pot in an ice bath: put your pot in the sink and surround with ice water. Bring the water in the sink to the level of the liquid in the pot. It may take more than one ice bath to bring the brine to room temperature.
(5) Tie off each bag individually. Cover with bucket lid and place in the refrigerator or outside on a very cold day/evening. If you do not have either space in your refrigerator or cooperating weather, put ice on top of the tied bags before covering the bucket lid.
(6) Brine for 16-24 hours.
STUFFED AND COOKED TURKEY
- Cut up vegetables to stuff and peel garlic (do not chop or mince).
- Cut orange in half.
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter.
- Cut 4 Tbsp butter in small slabs.
(1) Remove turkey from bag and preserve whole herbs for roasting.
(2) Rinse turkey well in cold water. Pat dry. Place in roasting pan.
(3) Brush with 2 Tbsp butter.
(4) Sprinkle with 1.5oz turkey spices, rub in (make sure you get inside the turkey, on all sides of the turkey, and in all of its crevices)
(5) Stuff with veggies and 1/2 orange in bird, and 1/2 orange to close cavity, pulp facing inside bird.
(6) Stuff with 1/8 cup butter in small slabs under skin with 6 garlic cloves.
(7) Cover bird with 1/8 cup butter in small slabs.
(8) Tie up bird and place in baking dish.
(9) Brown in oven. For our 13 lb bird, we browned for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
(10) Remove, surrounding with preserved spices from brining bucket and tent with foil. Bake 350 degrees until meat between breast and thigh is between 155-165 degrees (1 1/2 hours for us). If dealing with a different sized bird, cook according to this table here.
(11) Remove the tent, crisp the skin on “Broil” for 5 minutes. Rest for 20 minutes.
For more Thanksgiving Recipes, please check out this post on our Evolving Thanksgiving!