Apple Cider Turkey Brine gives you a mild flavored, moist and tender turkey. Once the turkey has gone through the brining process, you can prepare it however you prefer. I found this brine on the Food Network site.
People may be discouraged from brining a turkey because of the space and time commitment to brine, but I think it is worth it. A brine will make the turkey more tender and moist. You can have a tender and moist turkey without the brine, but the brine makes the turkey so much more tender and moist.
The brine will take up a lot of space in your refrigerator. Some people brine their turkey outside in a large container. If the temperature is cold outside, but not freezing, you might be able to do the brine outside. Other people use a cooler with ice and replace the ice every few hours. I've always been able to rearrange things in my refrigerator and keep the brine in it. I'm more comfortable keeping the turkey in the refrigerator because I want to make sure it stays cold enough. Whichever method you choose, make sure your turkey is kept cold enough so that it does not spoil.
The brining can be done in a brining bag that is then placed in a large container, like a large dishpan. The brining bag should be tied so that the turkey is completely submerged. Or, you can use a large glass or plastic container and not use a brining bag. Make sure the turkey is fully submerged. Another option is a stainless steel stock pot. The pot must be stainless steel, otherwise the brine could damage the pot and the turkey could absorb a metallic flavor. I have used a brining bag when brining a whole turkey or a large turkey breast and used a stainless steel pot when brining just a small turkey breast. Make sure you give the brine enough time to get cold. If the brine is too warm, the turkey could start to "cook" a little.
It takes a long time to brine a turkey. However, the bulk of the time is passive. Once you make the brine, it cools to room temperature then is refrigerated until cold. Making the brine and letting it cool until cold can take 6-8 hours. I usually start the brine in the morning then put the turkey in the cold brine in the evening. This gives the brine plenty of time to cool off. Once the brine is cold, the brine and turkey are combined. The turkey stays in the brine for at least one hour per pound or up to 24 hours. Thoroughly rinse the turkey so the salt is washed off the outside or your turkey could be very salty. Don't worry, the turkey has absorbed the brine, so you aren't washing off the flavor. You can then prepare the turkey however you want.
I will always brine my Thanksgiving turkey. I prefer the moist, tender turkey meat that you get from a brine.
I hope you enjoy!
Apple Cider Turkey Brine
- 2 gallons cold water
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 3 tablespoons peppercorns
- 5 bay leaves
- 5 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons rosemary
- 3 large orange peel You need the peel of three large oranges.
- In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients.
- Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat, cover and let cool to room temperature.
- Place pot in the refrigerator until the water is cold.
- Using a brining bag, large glass or plastic container, combine the brine with a whole turkey or a turkey breast. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in the brine.
- Put the turkey and brine in the refrigerator for at least one hour per pound of turkey or as long as 24 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly. This step rinses the salt off of the turkey. Don't worry, you aren't undoing all of your work.
- Now you can prepare your turkey as your normally would. Enjoy!