Apple Cider and Citrus Turkey Brine
So, by now everyone has had their fill of turkey, but if you're planning to make a turkey on Christmas these are some steps you can follow for a phenomenally tender bird. We had brined a turkey before and it really seemed to produce a more tender and juicy turkey, so hubby had his mind set on using a brine this year. He had heard about someone using an apple cider brine and so I went to the Internet and combined a few different recipes to create this one based on what I had. Much of the inspiration came from a this recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog.
It smells amazing as it boils!
So, here's my recipe:
12 cups of water
3 cups of apple cider
Orange peels (I peeled two)
3 teaspoons of peppercorns
2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
3/4 cup of salt
3 teaspoons of garlic salt (or cloves from half of one fresh head of garlic and up the salt to one cup)
1 teaspoon of seasoning salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Add all ingredients to a stock pot and boil. Let sit for about 1/2 hour to cool down. Add one gallon of cold water and stir. Put turkey into a brining bag or large pot and pour in brine. Refrigerate in brine for about 15-16 hours for an 18-22 pound turkey. Discard brine and rinse turkey.
After brining, we coated the outside with olive oil and added a homemade rub of rosemary, garlic salt, oregano, seasoned salt and thyme.
I've learned that if you cook the turkey breast side down it also helps to keep the meat extremely tender, so that's how we did it. This year we cooked the turkey on the grill - 325 for 4 hours and then left it on another 45 minutes or so down at 200 (just to keep it warm as we finished the side dishes.) It turned out great. We may have to make all our turkeys on the grill - leaves the oven free for making all the other stuff!