Cider-Brined Turkey

Cider-Brined Turkey

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From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2014

In this delicious brined turkey recipe, the turkey marinates in a cider brine before roasting to ensure moist, flavorful meat. Plan on about 1 pound of turkey per person when buying your bird.

Ingredients 12 servings

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Original recipe yields 12 servings
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  • 5 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 oranges, cut into chunks
  • 2 small onions, cut into chunks
  • ⅓ cup whole juniper berries, smashed
  • 6 sprigs fresh sage
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1 12-to-14 pound turkey, preferably heritage breed and/or organic
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups white wine


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  1. To brine turkey: Heat 3 cups cider, salt and sugar in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups cider, celery, carrots, oranges, onions, juniper berries, sage, thyme and bay leaves. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove giblets from turkey (reserve for stock, if desired). Place the turkey in a container large enough to hold it and the brine, such as a clean 5-gallon bucket, similar-size clean cooler or brining bag. Add the cider mixture, water and wine. Place a plate on top of the turkey, if necessary, so it stays below the surface or add enough additional liquid to make sure the turkey is mostly submerged. Cover and refrigerate (or if it's cold enough—under 40°F—you can leave it outdoors) for at least 1 day and up to 2 days.
  3. To roast turkey: Preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Remove the turkey from the brine, brush off any briny bits and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (discard the brine). Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
  5. Roast the turkey until the skin starts to brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees . Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 1 to 1½ hours more, depending on the size of the turkey. If the skin begins to darken too much, cover it loosely with foil.
  7. Carefully transfer the turkey to a large, clean cutting board; let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Brine turkey (Steps 1-2) up to 2 days ahead.
  • Equipment: Large container or brining bag for turkey, kitchen string

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 oz. (w/o skin)
  • Per serving: 148 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 0 g fiber; 2 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 88 mg cholesterol; 2 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 227 IU vitamin A; 2 mg vitamin C; 17 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 437 mg sodium; 218 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 0
  • Exchanges: 3½ lean meat

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