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Beer-Brined Turkey with Giblet Gravy

Our relatives request this turkey every Thanksgiving and I hate to disappoint them. Brining the turkey keeps the meat moist while roasting gives it incredible flavor.—Jeff Locke, Arma, Kansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 70 min. + marinating Bake: 3-1/2 hours + standing
  • Makes
    14-16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts apple cider or juice
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Juniper berries, optional
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 6 bottles (12 ounces each) dark beer, chilled
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
  • 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon rotisserie chicken seasoning
  • GRAVY:
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves

Directions

  • In a large kettle, combine the first eight ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add cold beer and water to cool the marinade to room temperature.
  • Remove giblets from turkey; cover and refrigerate for gravy. Place a turkey-size oven roasting bag inside a second roasting bag; add turkey. Carefully pour cooled marinade into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bags and turn to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours, turning several times.
  • Drain and discard brine. Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry. Place the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in both cavities. Skewer turkey openings; tie drumsticks together. In a small bowl, combine the broth, butter and chicken seasoning.
  • Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until a thermometer reads 180°, basting occasionally with broth mixture. (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.) Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving; discard vegetables or save for another use.
  • For gravy, add 1 cup broth to the pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Skim and discard fat, reserving 1-1/2 cups pan drippings; pour into a small saucepan.
  • Chop giblets. In a large saucepan, cook giblets in oil and butter until browned. Add 1-1/4 cup pan drippings; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Combine flour and remaining drippings until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add the wine, sage and remaining chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Serve with turkey.
Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested with Morton kosher salt and McCormick rotisserie chicken seasoning. It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.
Nutrition Facts
9 ounces cooked turkey with about 1/4 cup gravy: 560 calories, 29g fat (11g saturated fat), 274mg cholesterol, 547mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 67g protein.

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