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Cider-Brined Turkey

My family had been going through some rough times, and when we were finally able to get together for Thanksgiving one year, I made this turkey. It brings back such good memories of joyful family gatherings. —Nicole Keller, Waterford, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 50 min. + marinating Bake: 3-1/2 hours + standing
  • Makes
    18 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple cider or juice
  • 1-3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bottles (12 ounces each) dark beer, chilled
  • 6 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, chilled
  • 2 turkey-size oven roasting bags
  • 1 turkey (18 to 20 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • In a stockpot, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add cold beer and broth to cool the brine to room temperature.
  • Place one turkey-size oven roasting bag inside the other. Place turkey inside both bags; pour in cooled brine. Seal bags, pressing out as much air as possible; turn to coat turkey. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Remove turkey from brine; rinse and pat dry. Discard brine. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads 180°, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Editor’s Note: It is best not to use a prebasted turkey for this recipe.

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