Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices

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Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipeHow-To | Step-by-Step Tutorial & Tips:
Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices

Never (ever) worry again about serving a dried-out and tasteless turkey for the holidays. Experienced home cooks as well as professional chefs rely on old-fashioned brining techniques to assure a moist, succulent, flavorful roasted turkey. Brining is easy once you nail down the basics. And we, here at Wicked Good Kitchen, believe our recipe for Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices is one of the very best amongst other turkey brine recipes. We have honed it over the years and are happy to share it with you this holiday season!

General Brining Tips for a Tender & Juicy Bird

In addition to our recipe, please review the following general tips when brining a turkey. We hope you find them helpful.

What exactly is brining? Brining is the process of marinating meat or poultry in a salt, sugar, water and/or juice solution. Via the process of osmosis, brining makes cooked meat moist and juicy by hydrating before cooking. (To read more of the science involved, visit Brining.) Brining, depending on the juices, herbs and spices used, also enhances the flavor of the meat.

How to Select a Turkey for Brining: Once you have decided to brine your turkey, finding the right turkey for your holiday celebration is essential. Look for labels using the following terms “all-natural”, “no additives”, “minimally processed”, etc. Turkeys that have been treated with a salt solution will have labels that read, “basted”, “self-basting”, “enhanced”, “injected”, or “kosher”. Pre-brined or kosher turkeys are not recommended for brining. The reason is because the turkeys have already been treated with salt. And, you certainly do NOT want an overly salty turkey!

Salt Choices for Brining: There are three (3) types of salt commonly used and available to home cooks for brining turkeys: regular table salt (iodized or not), kosher salt and crystal kosher salt. Kosher salt works especially well because it dissolves more easily than regular table salt and it is pure salt with no additives. It is important to know, due to the different granular sizes of each salt, that they do not measure by volume (per cup) equally. Therefore, they cannot be substituted by volume. Our recipe calls for kosher salt. For every cup of kosher salt, use 3/4 cup regular table salt or 1 1/2 cups crystal kosher salt.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Selecting Brining Bags: Look for brining bags in the size that will accommodate the weight of your turkey. We purchase ours from Williams-Sonoma and use the largest bag for our 18-pound turkey. Never use plastic garbage bags or nonfood-grade plastic bags.

How Long Should I Brine My Turkey? Brining typically is for at least 18 hours or up to 2 days. However, the general rule is to brine 1 hour per pound under 40 degrees F. If desired, to prevent an overly salty turkey, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water after removing from the brining solution. Then, pat dry with paper towels inside and out. At this point, the turkey can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. We like to prepare our turkey the night before roasting by buttering and seasoning it, placing it in the roasting pan and then leaving it uncovered for crispy, darker skin. Then, the next morning, we remove the turkey and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature before stuffing and roasting.

Customize Your Brine to Taste: Consider customizing your brine. For instance, if you like the flavor of garlic for a more savory turkey, add a few crushed garlic cloves to your brine and stir it well. If you wish to enhance the black peppercorn flavor, consider crushing your peppercorns to release their flavor before adding them to the brine. Although we prefer using fresh herbs, dried herbs can certainly be used. Since they are more concentrated in flavor than fresh herbs, the general rule of thumb in substituting fresh herbs for dry is 3:1. This means for every 3 teaspoons or tablespoons of fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon or tablespoon of dry herbs.

A Note on Seasoning: Because the drippings from a brined turkey will be saltier, be sure to use low-sodium broth (if using store bought and not making your own). Then, season to taste.

Refrigerator Space: Make sure you have enough refrigerator space available to accommodate your turkey and its container. As we mention in our Tips section of our recipe, perhaps removing a deli drawer will provide enough clearance.

Refrigeration: Refrigeration is necessary. For food safety reasons, the turkey and brine must be refrigerated during the entire brining process.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Why is our recipe for Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices wicked good? Well, to begin with, the kitchen aromatics alone will make you feel as though you are soon to be dining with royalty at The King’s Table! However, it is the fact that our recipe combines the best of both worlds in the way of taste sensations by combining both apple cider and citrus juices—to include the essential oils from the rinds—making our recipe a true standout.

Our Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices is seasoned to perfection with the finest in fresh herbs and fragrant spices to include garlic, rosemary, sage and thyme as well as whole star anise, cinnamon, allspice and juniper berries. In addition, our brine consists of equal parts apple cider (not just a few cups like most recipes) and water assuring a deep, flavorful roasted turkey. Furthermore, we call for just enough salt to ensure a juicy turkey—without giving it an overly salty taste—by drawing moisture into the meat keeping it tender and juicy as it roasts. Finally, our recipe does not include a cup or two of sugar or brown sugar as other recipes do. The natural sugars found in the apple cider and fresh citrus juices does the sweetening job splendidly. Therefore, our recipe can be considered “no sugar added”. Your family and friends will give rave reviews and pronounce you a rock star chef!

To learn more about brining your holiday turkey, please see our Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial, below the recipe, complete with step-by-step photos and instructions.

Bon appétit!

xo,

stacysig

 

Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Makes enough brine to soak a 16 to 20-pound fresh turkey.

Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices

An exceptional turkey brine consisting of both apple cider and citrus juices as well as herbs and spices with just the right amount of salt to ensure a tender, juicy roasted turkey.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 to 20-pound) fresh turkey, rinsed & patted dry, with neck & giblets reserved for stock
  • For the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion
  • ¾ to 1 gallon (12 to 16 cups) apple cider
  • 1¼ cups kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 whole star anise pods
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 or 2 4-inch cinnamon sticks
  • ¾ to 1 gallon (12 to 16 cups) chilled water, preferably distilled
  • For the Citrus & Onion Infusion
  • 3 medium to large oranges, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 large lemons, cut into wedges with rind intact
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges with skin intact
  • Special Equipment & Supplies
  • 1 12-quart stockpot, with lid
  • 1 large pitcher
  • 1 large oval enamel roasting pan, without lid
  • 1 large brining bag, such as Williams-Sonoma® brand
  • 1 heavy duty clip (we use Firm Grip® clip from Home Depot) or strong cotton butcher’s twine

Preparation

Prepare the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion: In a large 12-quart stock pot, bring ¾ gallon (12 cups) apple cider, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. Stir occasionally to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Add ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water to cool liquid slightly. Meanwhile, reserve ¼ gallon (4 cups) apple cider and ¼ gallon (4 cups) chilled water in refrigerator should it be necessary to cover turkey completely with additional brine inside brining bag later. This, of course, depends on the size of your turkey.

Prepare the Brine with Citrus & Onion Infusion: After the Apple Cider, Herb & Spice Infusion has cooled somewhat (no longer very hot, but still very warm), squeeze citrus wedges into the liquid adding each rind after expelling juices. Next, add onion wedges and stir. Cover stockpot and allow the brine to steep. Cool to room temperature. (This will take a few hours.) If preparing brine the day before brining turkey, chill brine in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the Turkey & Brine in Brining Bag: Open zip-top brining bag wide and insert into enamel roasting pan with high sides. Using a large liquid measure (I use my 2-cup glass measure), scoop some of the brine and place it into bottom of large brining bag. Insert the turkey over the brine breast side up. Using a slotted spoon, place some citrus and onion wedges into the cavity of the bird and continue to add the remaining brining liquid over the turkey in the brining bag. Carefully close zip-top and expel as much air as possible. (It helps to have two sets of hands at this point.) Gather top of brining bag and twist. Secure brining bag at the top so that brine covers entire turkey. (We used a Firm Grip clip, but you can use butcher’s twine to tie the bag closed.) If the brine needs more liquid to cover entire turkey, add enough of the remaining ¼ gallon (4 cups) each of the chilled cider and water in equal parts to brining bag before securing closed. (We start by adding 2 cups of each the cider and water and then go from there.) Transfer roasting pan, with turkey and brine in brining bag, to refrigerator. Soak turkey for at least 18 hours or up to 2 days.

Prepare the Turkey for Roasting the Night Before: The night before you plan to roast your turkey, remove it from brining solution; discard brine and brining bag. Pat the bird thoroughly with paper towels to dry completely inside and out.

Note for Roasting: Now that your turkey has been successfully brined, we recommend that you follow our recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey (coming soon to the blog) or your favorite recipe. At this point, our Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey recipe will guide you to butter and season your turkey with either butter or Herbed Compound Butter and refrigerate it overnight uncovered in the roasting pan. After refrigerating overnight, and resting for 1 hour at room temperature the next morning, the turkey will be ready to go directly into preheated oven to roast.

Notes

Tips:

To learn more about brining your holiday turkey, please see our Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial, below, complete with step-by-step photos and instructions.

Important: Prep, Cook and Total Time does not include the idle steeping (resting and cooling) time. Allow a couple hours more to make the brine. The brining or soaking time for the turkey is at least 18 hours and up to 2 days.

Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
Recipe Inspiration: Williams-Sonoma's Apple & Spices Turkey Brine Mix.

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/apple-cider-citrus-turkey-brine-with-herbs-and-spices/

Step-by-Step: Turkey Brining 101 Tutorial

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Mise en Place: Everything in place. Apple cider, kosher salt, minced garlic, bay leaves, fresh rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs, whole star anise pods, whole black peppercorns, whole allspice and juniper berries, cinnamon stick, and wedges of onion, lemon and orange.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

In a large 12-quart stock pot, bring ¾ gallon (that’s 12 cups!) apple cider, salt, garlic, herbs and spices to a boil. As you can see, we have already added to the pot the apple cider, salt and minced garlic. Next, we will be adding the herbs and spices. Here, I am adding the whole black peppercorns. You can never have enough black peppercorns, right?

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Ahh. Lovely whole black peppercorns bursting with flavor. I am a confessed black peppercorn fiend.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Here I am adding the whole juniper berries which provide a distinct, sharp flavor with citrus notes. Yum! Just perfect for turkey brine.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, I am adding whole allspice berries to create a spectacular autumn and winter flavor for our turkey brine.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Here, I am adding the whole star anise pods. Oh, whole star anise pods…how I adore thee. Guys, these babies are essential for an outstanding turkey brine. Trust me. It is just not the same without. You’ll see…I promise!

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next in, bay leaves.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

And, cinnamon stick. Just 1 or 2 will do.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Look at our lovely Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices. She’s looking mighty stunning, eh? So far, totally gorgeous!

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Following the spices, we need to add our fresh herb sprigs. Here, I am adding the fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs. Be generous as the herbs will infuse our brine with plenty of flavor.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next up, fresh sage sprigs. Oh, how I adore the savory flavor of sage–especially when it comes to enjoying roasted turkey and stuffing. The color is pretty, too.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Just simply marvelous! Our Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices is on her way! Um…on her way to Tom Turkey, that is.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Now it is time to give our gorgeous turkey brine a little stir.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

I’m telling you, just gorgeous! But, we’re not done yet.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Now we need to allow the brine to come to a boil. See the little bubbles forming already? We need the heat to boiling level so that the herbs and spices will infuse flavor during the steep. Just like when you steep your favorite tea.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Here we are! She’s come to a full boil now.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, we need to remove the pot from the heat (I have placed a wire cooling rack under the pot) and add ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water. The chilled water will speed up the cooling process and will prepare the brine for the addition of the citrus and onion aromatics. Alternatively, if you are in a hurry, you could use an equivalent amount of ice water with ice cubes. Chef Emeril Lagasse does that. This way, your brine will reach a cooler temperature faster so that you can begin to brine your turkey right away. The brine must be at least room temperature or cooler before brining your turkey. Cooler is best. If you are preparing your turkey brine the day before, which is what I like to do, just chill it in the fridge.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Here, I am adding the ¾ gallon (12 cups) chilled water from a large glass pitcher.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Since all of the water didn’t fit into my large glass pitcher, I am adding the remaining chilled water here from a glass measuring cup.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, we move onto the citrus and onion aromatics which will infuse our gorgeous turkey brine even further with flavor.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Before adding each wedge of lemon or orange to the pot, be sure to give it a good squeeze. Release those tasty juices and the essential oils from those rinds, people! It is that important. These steps are why our turkey brine recipe is so exceptional and fit for brined roasted turkeys on “The King’s Table”. Keep going…keep squeezing and adding those citrus wedges. It will all be worth it. Trust me.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, add the onion wedges. As you can see, I have done that here.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Seriously. I wish there was smell-o-vision. Your house is going to smell heavenly from these kitchen aromatics!

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Just stunningly beautiful! Sexy brine.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Now, time for the cooling and steeping process. Place the lid atop your stock pot and allow the brine to cool and steep. Just think of all that flavor infusion going on!

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

You are going to need these: Bringing Bags. For our 18-pound Tom Turkey, we will be using the largest bag. These quality Brining Bags are from Williams-Sonoma. We have received no compensation from W-S. We just dig their heavy duty brining bags.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

You will also need a large roasting pan. We find that our inexpensive oval enamelware roasting pan is ideal for the turkey brining process. It has nice, high sides (to keep our turkey covered and saturated in brine), handy handles and it easily slides onto a shelf in the fridge. Don’t forget to clear some space! If you need to, remove one of your drawers–like the deli meats drawer. This way, your roasting pan with turkey inside will have adequate clearance. Now, we are ready to prepare our brining bag. Assemble the Turkey & Brine into Brining Bag: Open zip-top brining bag wide and insert into enamel roasting pan with high sides. Done. Check.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

In addition to brining bags and a large oval enamel roasting pan, you will need a large slotted spoon and liquid measuring cup. Since most kitchens are equipped with these implements, we did not add them to our recipe ingredients list under special equipment.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Now we are ready to prepare our brining bag for Tom Turkey. Continuing… Assemble the Turkey & Brine into Brining Bag: Using a large liquid measure (I use my 2-cup glass measure), scoop some of the brine and place it into bottom of large brining bag. Once again, I like to use my large slotted spoon to scoop up the citrus and onion wedges. As you can see, I placed some into the bottom of the brining bag. Now the brining bag is ready for Tom Turkey.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

As you can see, we have added Tom Turkey to the brining bag. Next, using a slotted spoon, scoop up the aromatic solids (the citrus and onion wedges as well as some of the herbs and spices) and place over and around the turkey.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Don’t forget to place some of the aromatic solids into the large cavity of your turkey. This is essential.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, continue to add the remaining brining liquid over the turkey in the brining bag.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Tom looks divine surrounded by all that brining goodness.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Now, step back and marvel at your cheffy self. Look at what you have accomplished. And, it was so easy. But, just wait until you smell this phenomenally brined roasted turkey as it is roasting! Your holiday dinner guests will think you are a rock star chef. Yeah.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Next, it is time to enclose Tom Turkey and get him in the fridge. First, we have to expel as much air as possible whilst closing the zip-top brining bag. This is where two (2) sets of hands come in especially handy. Gather and twist tightly the top of the bag. Important: If the brine needs more liquid to cover entire turkey, add enough of the remaining ¼ gallon (4 cups) each of the chilled cider and water in equal parts to brining bag before securing closed.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Once you have gathered and twisted the top of the brining bag, it is time to tightly clip it closed. This is important so that the brining liquid surrounds the turkey entirely. We do not use the small bag clips that come with the brining bags. Instead, we use a heavy duty clip. As mentioned in the recipe under special equipment, we like to use a Firm Grip® clip from Home Depot. But, you could use a strong cotton butcher’s twine as well.

Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices | How-To Step-by-Step Tutorial by WickedGoodKitchen.com #Thanksgiving #turkey #diy #recipe

Voila! You have now successfully brined your turkey for the upcoming holiday. Pat yourself on the back. Swell job!

Comments

  1. We usually do a overnight sea-salt brine with our turkey but I might have to give this a try instead this year! It looks full of flavor!
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl recently posted…Crispy Parmesan Wasabi SoybeansMy Profile

    • Thank you, Pamela! I think you would like this brine. I didn’t mention sea salt because most people don’t use it to brine their turkeys. Thanks for stopping by! xo

  2. Wow, I can only imagine the flavor that this brine will bring to the turkey…I absolutely love the idea of citrus and all the spice in it.
    Thanks for the inspiration and have a great week Stacy :D

  3. This brine looks so flavorful! And what a helpful tutorial, Stacy! It’s nice to see how you took the time to take all those photographs. Great work, lady! x
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…Vegan Almond CookiesMy Profile

    • Aww…thank you, Consuelo! Well, now you know what I have been busy with. Lots of photo editing to make the images Pinterest friendly for pinning and several tips to share. Thanks for stopping by, girl. Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to when I visit blogs this evening! xo

  4. Girl, those flavors are just beautiful to look at and perfect for a bird to soak in.
    I agree totally that this is the best method to get the bird delicious and perfect.
    You have done a tremendous job to take us step by step with the process, what a perfect job. Kudos, xoxo.

  5. You’re all prepared for Thanksgiving, as I see! I am so jealous. I haven’t even started thinking about it yet, even though it’s in 2 weeks! The brine looks so flavorful and so surprisingly pretty! Whole star anise pods are cute – just like little stars, swimming in the brine :) .
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com recently posted…Easy pumpkin pancakes – perfect for the FallMy Profile

    • Thank you, Julia! I agree with you…the brine is definitely pretty. (I think I called it ‘sexy’ in my post, ha!) Also, I agree with you about whole star anise pods…very cute like little starfish!

  6. Perfectly timed post, Stacy!! I will be sharing this with my friends who are making their first bird this Thanksgiving and had all sorts of questions for me about brining! Very, very well done post!!
    Dan from Platter Talk recently posted…Nutella Oatmeal Crumb BarsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Dan! I hope my post will be helpful to your friends in preparing their turkeys for the Thanksgiving Feast via brining before roasting. Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  7. So, no lie, I do virtually almost the same recipe as this for when I brine my turkey too!! You’re just one step ahead of me and actually doing a post about it – haha, I just never thought to, plus, Thanksgiving is just so hectic so trying to take beautiful photos like you did, I’m sure I’d fail miserably! Wonderful post – I’ve shared with all my pinners! xo
    Julie @ Table for Two recently posted…Maple Cinnamon Spiced NutsMy Profile

    • Wow! That is amazing, Julie…that your recipe is virtually identical to mine using 1:1 ratio of apple cider and water with fresh citrus, herbs and spices with no sugar added. Great minds think alike, girl! And, no…there is no way you could possibly ‘fail miserably’ with food photography. You ROCK! Thanks for sharing via pinning at Pinterest! As always, I appreciate your support! xo

  8. Wow, this brine looks absolutely amazing Stacy! I love all the flavors and herbs in here and totally wish I could celebrate the American Thanksgiving at your place just to have a taste of the turkey – I can just imagine how flavorful, juicy and moist the bird would be! Fantastic job on the step-by-step photos – totally pinning and sharing. Have a wonderful week Stacy!
    Kelly recently posted…Vietnamese Pho – Beef Rice Noodle Soup (Pho Bo)My Profile

  9. this sure is one of the best and flavorful brine recipes….can’t wait to try it out…we absolutely loved the star anise and citrus burst in this recipe,thanks so much for sharing our friend…Have A Beautiful Day!!! :-)
    Kumar’s Kitchen recently posted…Sweet Sensations : Suji Halwa, Semolina Fudge With Rose, Nuts & Cardamom :) My Profile

  10. Stacy, love the star anise, allspice, cinnamon and citrus in your brine. Going to make this for my family very soon.
    Jeanette recently posted…Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cornbread RecipeMy Profile

  11. Wonderful brine, I especially love all the herbs and the citrus-onion infusion!

  12. I agree, there is nothing better than a brined turkey! You’re recipe for brine looks gorgeous!
    Maria | Pink Patisserie recently posted…Eggnog Biscotti CheesecakeMy Profile

  13. I first had brine turkey at my sister’s place over 10 years ago and now, I won’t make a whole turkey now without using some sort of brine solution. I love your recipe here. So full of flavor! Will be giving this one a try. Thanks Stacy! :)
    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted…15 Tasty Brunch IdeasMy Profile

    • Thank you, Anne! I agree with you (and Alton Brown…but, not Bobby Flay, LOL!) on brining turkeys for a moist, tender and flavorful bird. Let me know if you try my recipe. Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  14. Sue - Picknitter says:

    My family has been brining our holiday turkey for several years now. It is the ONLY way to do a turkey, IMO. We’re looking forward to trying your brine recipe. I like that it uses apple cider for added flavor. I found using a NEW 5-gallon plastic paint bucket from Home Depot most useful. They are large enough to accommodate most all turkeys and come with a very secure lid. The weather is cold enough (below 40 degrees F) where I live that I can brine it outside on the back porch, thus saving room in the refrigerator for other holiday items. By labeling it BRINE BUCKET in large black letters my husband doesn’t accidently use it for weeding during the summer months.

    • Thank you for dropping by, Sue! I agree with you on the bucket thing. However, we didn’t want another big bucket around taking up space. So, we just do ours in a brining bag. Your method certainly does save much needed space in the fridge. You are absolutely correct…as long as the temps outdoors (or even in the garage where I sometimes store cookie tins all packed and ready to gift in a sealed bag) are at or just below 40 degrees F., you are good to go. Glad to know you enjoy brining your holiday turkey to ensure a moist, tender and flavorful bird. Thanks again for stopping by and enjoy the recipe! P.S. You might not want to advertise ‘Brine Bucket’ when placing it on the back porch as you don’t want a turkey thief to steal your bird! ;)

  15. I would totally be brining a turkey this year…if it wasn’t for our new little girl! I believe our Thanksgiving will be furnished by Trader Joes ;) But, I’m totally pining this for next year!

    • No doubt you’ll need to step down from preparing a huge Thanksgiving feast this year due to your new baby girl. Thank goodness for TJ’s, right? Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a fabulous week!

  16. Amazing tutorial! I have only done sea salt brines, do I need to rinse before roasting?

    • Thank you, Amy! To answer your question… In the article for the recipe post, I state the following under the “How Long Should I Brine My Turkey?” section, “If desired, to prevent an overly salty turkey, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out with cold water after removing from the brining solution. Then, pat dry with paper towels inside and out.” These were general guidelines to follow for brining turkeys. Since our recipe does not use as much salt as some recipes, we just pat our turkey dry with paper towels and skip the rinse. At the end of the article, where I ask the question, “Why is our recipe for Apple Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices wicked good?”, I state in the second paragraph the following, “Furthermore, we call for just enough salt to ensure a juicy turkey—without giving it an overly salty taste—by drawing moisture into the meat keeping it tender and juicy as it roasts.” If you use our recipe, you do not need to rinse your turkey. Simply pat it dry inside and out with paper towels and you will be good to go. Thank you for writing and I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly and completely. Meanwhile, best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. I think I did something stupid but wanted to check before throwing out the brine. I was just going to use the lemon rind but at last minute I put in the whole lemon with all the white pith exposed and then brought it to a boil. The brine is probably going to be bitter because of the white pith, right? Please help, I usually us the WS brand but they were out of it so I tried using your recipe which I’m sure would be great if I hadn’t screwed up.

    • Thank you for stopping by and reaching out, Jan. Yes, if you cut into your lemons and separated the rind from the fruit, with the white pith exposed entirely, and then boiled the rind in the brine, the bitterness will most definitely impart into the brine. I’m so sorry you are going thru this. By boiling citrus rinds, it takes the bitterness out just like preparing to candy citrus rinds. The citrus wedges are supposed to be squeezed expelling the juices into the brine that has already been cooled slightly with the addition of cold water after boiling. You will need to start your brine all over again as you do not want to ruin your holiday bird. When you add the citrus next time, the brine should be warm but not hot. Good luck with the next go ’round and thank you for trying my recipe. It was inspired by the Williams-Sonoma brine as stated in the recipe. So, I know you will love it! Happy holidays to you and yours! :)

  18. I would love to try this!! Everything about it just sounds good! The only problem I have is, I’ll be making a thanksgiving meal for my family of 4. Is it possible to cut everything in half for a smaller turkey?

    • Hi there, Emily! Thank you for writing. You may certainly cut down this recipe. Depending on the size of the turkey, you can cut down the recipe by 25 to 50 percent. Just make sure that you have made enough brine to cover the turkey entirely. That’s very important. Once again, thank you for writing. Meanwhile, best wishes to you and your family for a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day! :)

  19. Hi Stacy, thank you for this wonderful recepie. This is my first year roasting a turkey and having people over for a Pre-Thanskgiving celebration with friends, and family.
    I have all my brine ready, I just want to know how to roast this turkey and for how long. I was looking for your other recepie on Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey, but have not been able to find it. I need some instruction on how to roast this bird! :)
    Also, when roasting the turkey, can I add some of the brine to the turkey? It won’t be dry if no brine is added?
    Can you please help me with instructions to how roast this turkey with this brine?
    Thank you!
    Vanessa!

    • Hi there, Vanessa! Thank you for writing. And, please accept my sincere apologies for not being behind the wheel here at Wicked Good Kitchen. I have been out sick for the past several months but hope to return to blogging soon. (Right now, I am aiming for Monday before Thanksgiving.) The recipe for Brandy & Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey is one that I am currently finishing work on. I wish the recipe could have been posted sooner for you for your pre-Thanksgiving celebration with your family! If you would like, I can send you an email with a link to the recipe when the post goes live. Once again, thank you for writing. Meanwhile, I wish you and yours a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Day! :) P.S. Oh, goodness NO! NEVER use the brine when roasting your bird. This is for food safety reasons, of course.

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