Cider Brined Turkey

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 15 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 12 hr
  • Cook: 3 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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3 tablespoons canola oil

1 head garlic, cut in half

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

1 orange, cut into wedges

1/2 gallon apple cider

1/2 cup kosher salt

8 fresh sage leaves

8 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cups water

6 cups ice

One 12-pound turkey, washed and patted dry

One 15-ounce can chicken broth

Gravy, recipe follows


4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pan drippings from roasted turkey

One 15-ounce can chicken broth

4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil garlic, onions, and orange and saute for 4 minutes. Add the cider and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and herbs and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the water and the ice. Stir until the brine is cooled to at least room temperature. Add the turkey to the pot. The turkey should be completely submerged in the brine. Cover with a lid and put in the refrigerator. Let the turkey brine for a minimum of 12 hours and no more than 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Tuck the wings under the back portion of the breast. Tie the legs together with piece of butcher's twine. Put the turkey, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Add the chicken broth to the roasting pan. Put in the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes per pound, about 3 hours. Make sure to baste the turkey every 20 minutes with the pan drippings. If the turkey begins to brown too quickly tent it loosely with foil. Remove the foil the last 30 minutes of cooking. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board or serving platter and let rest at least 15 minutes before carving.
  4. Carve the turkey and serve with the Gravy.


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until the flour turns a light brown color, about 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the pan drippings and the chicken broth. Add the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let the gravy simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.
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