It’s time to start thinking about the Thanksgiving menu! Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, or green bean casserole…? And of course, the center piece of the entire meal needs a bit of attention too. Brining is the TLC your turkey needs. Brining prevents the dreaded dry stringy turkey that we all dread, adds a subtle flavor to the meat, and makes for extra delicious gravy. Give this lightly sweet, citrus and herb brine a try this year and I’m sure your turkey will be met with rave reviews.
Brine adapted from Ree Drummond’s recipe for Food Network.
Citrus and Herb Brined Turkey
- 2 gallons water
- 1 cup apple cider or juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons peppercorns
- 5 whole bay leaves
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion sliced into wedges.
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 large oranges halved and squeezed (reserve orange after squeezing)
- 1 turkey
Add the water, apple cider (or juice), brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, onion wedges, rosemary, thyme, and juice from the three oranges to a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Turn off the heat and cover. Allow the mixture to cool completely, then place into the fridge to chill. Do not move on to the next step until the brine is fully chilled to prevent food safety issues.
Stuff the halves of the squeezed oranges into the cavity of the uncooked turkey. Then place turkey in the chilled brine solution, transferring to a larger container if needed to accommodate the turkey. Then refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
When ready to roast the turkey, remove from the brine and pat dry, then cook according to your normal roasting method. The oranges can be removed before roasting or left in the cavity.