Fruit and Juice Brined Turkey

Fruit and Juiced Brined Turkey--Fruits and fruit juices, herbs and spices all come together in a wonderful brine for turkey. The turkey turns out tender and juicy, even the breast meat.
This is my new favorite brine for turkey. The flavors of fruit, herbs, and spices combine to make the turkey moist and flavorful. To add even more flavor while baking, the turkey is stuffed with onion and apple pieces, garlic, and herbs.

Fruit and Juice Brined Turkey

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Herbs, spices and fruit come together in a lightly sweet and salty brine. After baking, the brined turkey is moist, tender and very flavorful.

Ingredients

    For Brining the Turkey:
  • 8 quarts (32 cups water), divided
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 oranges, quartered
  • 1 apple, cut into 1/8's
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/8's
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 4-6 springs rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 1 (16-20 pound) turkey
  • For Baking the Turkey:
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/8's
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into 1/8's
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half across middle (this is a whole head of garlic, not just an individual clove)
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • several sprigs of fresh sage
  • salt and pepper
  • butter, softened
  • Special Equipment:
  • 5 gallon food grade bucket or other deep container suitable for holding turkey—other suggestions: ice chest, large plastic tub big enough to hold turkey and about 2½ gallons of brining liquid; large deep pot such as is used for frying a turkey
  • 1 jumbo-size zipper-style food grade plastic bag (optional, but very helpful). There are special brining bags available at many grocery stores. They can also be ordered on-line from various vendors.

Instructions

    For Brining the Turkey:
  1. To a large pot, add 1 quart water (4 cups) and apple cider.
  2. Squeeze juice from orange sections into pot. Cut each spent orange section in half and add to pot. Add remaining brine ingredients and stir. Heat brine to a simmer, stirring to dissolve salt and brown sugar.
  3. Remove pot of brine from heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. If using a plastic bag for brining, place bag in bucket with edges of bag folded over the outside of the bucket. Set aside.
  5. To clean turkey: Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavities; reserve for use in the dressing or for making gravy, if desired. Remove any remaining pin feathers from turkey and rinse turkey well under cool, running water, being sure to thoroughly rinse the large cavity.
  6. Place turkey in plastic bag or directly in bucket if not using plastic bag. Pour brine over turkey. Add remaining water (28 cups). Seal bag, expressing as much air as possible before sealing. If the turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate and a heavy object of choice (clean brick or rock, plastic bag filled with ice, etc.)
  7. Refrigerate for 8-24 hours, turning turkey once halfway through brining process. Alternately: If there isn’t enough room in the refrigerator, place the bagged turkey in an ice chest. Cover with ice, replacing ice as necessary to keep turkey at 40° F or below. If you are not using a brining bag, the turkey can be kept cold by placing well-secured plastic bags of ice on the turkey or in the brine. Change ice as needed to keep turkey at 40° F or below.
  8. For Baking the Turkey:
  9. Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
  10. Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine. Rinse well, inside and out, under cool running water. This is an important step because the turkey will be too salty if the brine is not rinsed away. Don't worry, all of the good flavor still remains in the turkey.
  11. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, inside and out. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the outside of the turkey completely with softened butter. Bend the wings towards the turkey and tuck them under the turkey.
  12. Fill the large cavity with the onions, apples, garlic, thyme sprigs, and sage sprigs; or stuff as desired. Cross the turkey legs and tie with butcher's twine. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan.
  13. Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Bake until internal thigh temperature reaches 165-degrees F. (Please see this page for proper placement of thermometer in turkey thigh—the link includes a very nice series of videos about baking and carving the perfect turkey.) If turkey begins to brown too quickly during baking, tent with foil and finish baking.
  14. Remove turkey from pan and let sit for about 30 minutes. Remove contents from turkey cavity prior to carving. Carve turkey as desired.
http://tsgcookin.com/2011/11/fruit-and-juice-brined-turkey/

Fruit and Juiced Brined Turkey--Fruits and fruit juices, herbs and spices all come together in a wonderful brine for turkey. The turkey turns out tender and juicy, even the breast meat.

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