Apple Cider-Ginger Brined Turkey

This Apple Cider-Brined Turkey is moist and delicious as-is, but it tastes even better when drizzled with a rich apple cider sauce. Try this elegant brined turkey recipe for your next Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Apple Cider- and Ginger-Brined Turkey
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Chill Time:
1 day
Roast Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
Stand Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
Servings:
12

Ingredients

  • 5 ½ cup apple cider

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh ginger*

  • ¾ cup kosher salt

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 2x1-inch strips orange peel

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 4 whole cloves

  • 12 cup ice water**

  • 1 8 pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed if frozen

  • 1 Recipe Cider Sauce

Cider Sauce

  • 4 cup apple cider

  • 2 tablespoon cold water

  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel

Directions

  1. For brine, in a large stockpot combine apple cider, ginger, salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, orange peel, peppercorns, and cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes; cool slightly. Stir in ice water. (If all of the ice water doesn't fit in the pot, add the remainder to turkey in the brining bag.)

  2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; discard. Rinse turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey in a large brining or roasting bag set in a large bowl or plastic tub. Add enough brine to cover turkey; seal bag. Chill for 24 to 36 hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Tuck drumstick ends under band of skin across tail, if available. If there is no band of skin, tie drumsticks securely to the tail using 100-percent cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under back.

  4. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle. The thermometer should not touch bone. Cover turkey loosely with foil.

  5. Roast for 2-1/4 hours. Remove foil; cut band of skin or string between drumsticks so thighs will cook evenly. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes more or until the thermometer registers 175°F. (The juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.) Remove from oven.

  6. Cover turkey with foil; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Carve turkey. Serve turkey with Cider Sauce.

Cider Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan bring apple cider to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until cider is reduced by half (2 cups). In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch; stir into reduced cider. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in butter, ginger, and orange peel.

Fan of smoked meats? Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-natural liquid smoke concentrate to the brine for a smoke-flavor turkey without the hassle. Tired of turkey? Use this brine recipe for Cornish game hens or pork loin roast.

If you have a stockpot large enough to fit the bird that will also fit into the refrigerator, go ahead and use the pot instead of the brining bag.

*

To chop the ginger with ease, peel about a 4-inch piece of fresh ginger and cut into pieces. Place in a food processor, cover, and process with on/off turns until finely chopped.

**

For ice water, fill a glass measuring cup with ice, then add the water. Repeat as needed until you reach 12 cups total.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

543 Calories
25g Fat
14g Carbs
56g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 543
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 197mg 66%
Sodium 1498mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 56g
Iron 3.8mg 21%
Potassium 9mg 0%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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