Learn how to brine a turkey for the holidays with this easy apple cider brine!
1gallonapple cider or apple juice, divided
1 1/2cupskosher salt
1cupwhite granulated sugar
small bundle EACH: fresh rosemary, fresh thyme
6 to 8garlic cloves
1of EACH: lemon, orange, quartered
ice, for cooling
additional water, if necessary
Before beginning on the brine, prepare a pot or bucket for the brine - use a large stock pot or 5-gallon bucket to ensure the turkey stays completely submerged. Double line the pot with food safe plastic bags for easier cleanup. Wash your turkey and remove the giblets and neck. This recipe will work for any size turkey.
For the brine: pour in 4 to 6 cups of apple cider into a large saucepan. Add the salt, sugar, spices, herbs and garlic. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and stir, cooking for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salt and sugar are dissolved. There may be small bits of salt that do not dissolve; that is okay.
Remove the brine from heat and add about 4 cups of ice to cool it down quickly. Pour the brine into the prepare pot or bucket and add the remaining apple cider, the orange and lemon. Carefully lower the turkey into the brine, making sure it stays completely submerged. If you have a very large turkey, you may need to add more water or more apple cider. Add an additional 6 to 8 cups of ice over the top, to lower the temperature of the brine and keep the turkey food safe.
Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours, or 36 to 48 hours for maximum flavor. If brining for more than 24 hours, add more ice to the brine after the first day. Once done brining, remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. There is no need to rinse the turkey after the brine. Proceed with my Garlic Butter Turkey recipe.