This recipe was originally published in 2013.
Brining delivers a turkey that is juicy and tender. This recipe includes apple cider, imbuing the meat with a wonderful flavor. Similar to marinating, brining is an overnight process. Be sure your turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the brine. Remove turkey from the brine and bring to room temperature before roasting. For juicier breast meat, roast your turkey unstuffed.Yields 15 servings
- 8 cups apple cider
- 8 cups cold water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon crushed light peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 springs fresh parsley
- 4 springs fresh sage
- 4 springs fresh thyme
- 1 (16-20 pound) turkey, rinsed, patted dry
- 4 tablespoons butter or dairy- free butter alternative, softened
- 1 tablespoon apple cider
- -Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stemmed
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 2 cups gluten-free, dairy-free turkey or chicken broth, more as needed
1To make Apple Cider Brine, place all brine ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring mixture to a light boil, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool.
2Remove giblets and neck from the turkey. Trim excess fat at neck area. Rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out and pat dry. Place turkey inside a double-lined oven bag (1 oven bag placed inside another to prevent leaking) and put bagged turkey in a large stockpot or roasting pan. Add brine to the bag and tie it securely with twist ties to prevent leaking. Refrigerate the turkey for 12 to 24 hours.
3Remove turkey from brining liquid and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry. Salt and pepper the inside cavities of the bird. Set aside, letting turkey return to room temperature.
4Preheat oven to 425°F.
5In a food processor or bowl, mix together butter, apple cider, lemon zest, pepper and thyme to make a coarse paste. Slide your hand between the skin and meat of the turkey breast and lift gently. Spread several tablespoons of herb paste under the skin. Spread remaining paste over the outside of the thighs, drumsticks and back of the bird. Sprinkle gluten-free flour over the entire bird. (This helps brown the skin.) Tuck wings under.
6Place turkey, breast side down, on the rack of a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups turkey or chicken broth. Put in preheated oven and cook uncovered 45 minutes. (This sears the outside of the turkey, keeping juices in the breast meat.)
7Remove bird from the oven. Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Turn turkey, breast side up, on the roasting rack. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and tent the bird loosely with foil. Return to preheated oven, basting every ½ hour. Add more broth, if necessary.
8Remove turkey from oven when temperature registers 165°F to 170°F. Transfer the bird to a platter and tent with foil. Let it rest 30 minutes before carving.