Apple Cider-Brined Turkey with Savory Herb Gravy

  • sarahkaye Posted: 12/03/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Another happy customer. This was the best turkey I have ever had. It doesn't taste of orange or apple really - all the flavors meld together to give it something unidentifiable that just makes it taste better than any other turkey. A note: in my small oven, the turkey may have cooked a little too long breast side down, so the drumsticks were actually done before the breast. Much better than the alternative - I guess I can't say anything except that the technique works maybe a little too well if you have a small oven and you might consider flipping it earlier.

  • cagrah10 Posted: 12/29/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Highly recommend. I have been trying different brining recipes for several years and will stop looking with this one - it was incredibly moist and tasty! I was actually worried that it had not cooked enough when I first sliced it because it was so juicy. I will say, be carefule and keep and eye on the cooking during the 500 degree step - the sugar makes the skin brown very quickly and it almost burned. Everyone raved at how good it was.

  • Michelle2000100 Posted: 11/29/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    OUTSTANDING! I actually haven't cooked a turkey in years, because every time I do, it tastes like cardboard. I decided to "experiment" this year. Based on the positive comments about this recipe, I decided to give it a shot. FANTASTIC....and I'm not exaggerating. Very easy recipe, not super labor intensive. And the result was the most tender, juicy, great turkey ever. This is the one I'll keep making, by popular demand of the family members who tasted it :)

  • OndLei Posted: 11/08/08
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    I've used this recipe for the last 3 Thanksgivings and it turns out wonderfully every time. Even the leftovers stay moist and flavorful. This is a keeper and one to share. It will be my go to recipe for turkey everytime.

  • MplsErin Posted: 12/01/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    HOLY BUCKETS! My turkey's are always a disaster... BUT NOT THIS YEAR! So flavorful and moist! 3 cheers for this recipe! Huge hit with my family. Only wished I used more broth for the drippings in the roasting pan. Totally dried up and didn't have any to use for the gravy. But now I know for next year. Made as indicated by recipe. This is definately turned into our annual turkey day recipe. Had never brined before, was a little initimated, but had no problems. Very easy.

  • MissyU Posted: 11/28/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Wow...this was the most moist and delicious turkey we've had for Thanksgiving. I had never brined anything before and it was definitely worth the effort. The apple cider, oranges and spices imparted a wonderful subtle flavor. If you use a larger roasting pan be sure to have extra chicken stock on hand. I ended up adding 2-3 extra cans. The herb gravy was also fantastic. I used Wondra instead of flour. No need to add any additional salt, just a few grinds of pepper. Making the gravy stock (through step 1) will free you up on turkey day. This will be the recipe I come back to year after year.

  • mommyDeborah Posted: 12/01/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I make a turkey with this brine every year. The skin gets dark from the cider (i assume) and it can be discouraging, but turkey still comes out great every time. It is a favorite and it will be a while before we try something else.

  • JCK1204 Posted: 11/29/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I've been using this recipe for my Thanksgiving turkey for the past few years. A little bit more work but WELL worth it. The turkey is always moist and flavorful. Each year, I change up the spices a little.

  • Marrie Posted: 11/16/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This has been my go-to turkey/gravy recipe since it came out in 2004. I never really liked Thanksgiving turkey until I made it this way; it's really moist and flavorful, and the gravy is great too. Even though my mom moved here this year and Thanksgiving will be at her house, she wants me to make the turkey!

  • yorkmainemommy Posted: 12/01/08
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    No bang for the buck. Too much work and no one noticed. Followed directions to the T - I never change anything on a recipe until I've tried it a few times, but I won't be trying this again.

  • Schredder Posted: 12/13/08
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipe looked extremely appealing to me but we have a traditional turkey that we do. So I decided to make this turkey as well. It was the most moist and delicious turkey I have ever eaten and this will become the new family tradition.

  • Angelos Posted: 11/11/09
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have used this recipe for my Thanksgiving turkey every year since I first saw this recipe in Cooking Light. This brine makes a turkey really taste good and is very moist. All of my guests have loved my turkeys and I am asked to bring the turkey for all of the turkey dinners with our friends. Even the left overs taste good and remain moist. Thanks Cooking Light for making my holiday cooking such a success.

  • LUVSML Posted: 11/26/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This is our new Thanksgiving turkey recipe. The brine took a bit of time but it was not difficult to put together. I had never brined a turkey before and it was a bit awkward but worth the effort. I double-bagged the bird and put in a large pot. The liquid did not cover the entire turkey so I turned it around half way through to try to cover the other part. I left a digital thermometer in the turkey (after the first 30 mins) that enabled me to monitor the temperature from outside the oven and did not open the oven other than to flip the turkey over after the first 30 minutes. I read other reviews saying that their turkeys took more time so I was thinking it might take closer to 3 hours, but our 13.25 pound turkey was done in just over 2 hours. Very moist and very good flavor. I added more broth to the roasting pan but did everything else exactly as written. The gravy turned out great and I also tried a new stuffing recipe with apples and sage sausage which complemented this turkey.

  • osequin Posted: 11/26/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This turkey was probably the best I've ever had. I used a 20 pounder but kept the brine measurements the same. The bring smells VERY strong, but the turkey tasted nothing of apples. It was more salty than sweet. It was SO moist and flavorful. I think the broth at the bottom really adds a lot of moisture.

  • mrsbramson Posted: 03/17/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Thanks for Sharing! I tried this Brine yesterday and was amazed! Never been a fan of white meat as it is always is more dry then the dark meat however the white meat with this brine came out fantastic. It was so juicy and flavorful. Thanks again!

  • lindsaymaisel Posted: 11/04/09
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    If you're looking for something to blow your guests away - this is it. Everyone who has had this before in my house has told me unequivocally that this is the juiciest turkey they have ever had. Even the guests who 'aren't fans' of turkey have raved. Brine it as long as you can, it doesn't come out too salty at all (and I am very sensitive to salt). DEFINITELY A WIN.

  • maria34a Posted: 11/23/09
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have made this turkey for two years now and all I can say is WOW! I grew up with the worst turkey ever dry and no flavor and I was blown away! This year my boyfriend wants me to bring it to his family so they can experience the best!

  • kddonohoue Posted: 11/20/09
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Is this recipe designed for a pre-basted turkey? Everything I see elswhere says do not use a pre-basted turkey for brining. But the salt content in this recipe is much lower than others.

  • donnaleea Posted: 11/20/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    The turkey definitely does not taste like apples (answering another reader) but it was amazing and the gravy was incredible!! With the cranberry and fig recipe and the gravy, I really didn't taste a big difference with the turkey, not sure it really made a difference and worth the brining. But I am going to do it again this year! Can't just bear the thought of a plain turkey....

  • ScooterGirl Posted: 12/28/09
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    THis recipe ROCKS!

  • Raiz68 Posted: 11/29/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This recipe was AMAZING. I was using a kosher (ie, pre-salted) turkey, so I cut the salt way down to about 1/4 cup of salt, and the turkey was still delicious. I am not a fan of white meat because it's usually so dry, but when we cut into the turkey, the white meat was dripping! I will definitely make this again.

  • alen31 Posted: 12/13/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Have made this many times (great with chicken too!) and just love the flavor and juiciness of the bird. I always have a hard time getting juice from the bird and need to add more stock to the pan. Love it and worth the effort!

  • e1160k Posted: 11/18/10
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    haven't made this, but read through the recipe to see if i want to. how can this cook in 2 hours? is it because of the brine?

  • colombo1971 Posted: 11/24/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have made this recipe 5 of the last 6 years. Everyone that I have made it for has asked for the recipe. It stays moist without basting, even when reheated in the microwave several days later. A great recipe!

  • ColonialMom Posted: 10/26/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    My husband said this was the best turkey he ever had. And we have had a lot of different turkeys. It was so moist. We did our own gravy, but I might try this one this year. Plan in advance to make this turkey, and it will make your Thanksgiving dinner a winner no matter what else you serve.

  • sessyducky Posted: 11/27/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I made this for the first time on Thanksgiving. This will now be the recipe we use EVERY year. It was amazing!! So moist and yummy! I have never had turkey this good before. All the extra work you have to do for this turkey is COMPLETELY worth it! I even have none turkey fans going back for seconds! I didn't use all the salt recommended, I used about a 1/3 less then what it called for, only because many reviews before me had said it was a bit saltly. I didn't have a salt problem at all. Oh and btw I let it sit in the brine for about 20 hrs.

  • Candy62 Posted: 11/16/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I actually would like to know if the turkey tastes like apples? My family would be upset if the traditional turkey taste would be fruity.

  • JessicaJJM Posted: 11/29/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made this year for thanksgiving. As other reviews stated, this recipe is great. My relatives said it was the best turkey they've ever ate. The only complaint I had was the gravy recipe that followed. Cornstarch, water, and more flower needed to thicken. Turkey Recomended!

  • jaynerom Posted: 12/17/10
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Made this for Thanksgiving for a family competition and it was truly amazing. I used a 13 1/2lb fresh turkey and brined it for 24 hours. After brining the turkey, I rinsed it and injected it with an herb mixture and let it rest in the fridge for another 16hrs before it was cooked using an inferred cooker. One of the best turkeys I have ever made. I will use this recipe for years to come. It was not overly salty or cindery. All of these ingredients made for a perfect turkey! Side note: Its best to squeeze the oranges as you place them in the cavity.

  • bmv0220 Posted: 04/06/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    WOW, this turkey was FANTASTIC! We've had hits and misses with our turkey brines in the recent past, but now our search is over. The only alteration I made was to use apple juice in place of cider, as I couldn't find any cider in the store this time of year. Used a 13 pound turkey, and brined for approximately 27 hours. The gravy was excellent as well, although I don't think the turkey even needed it since it was so MOIST and FLAVORFUL!

  • goodrel8 Posted: 11/20/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I've been making this every Christmas and Thanksgiving since 2004. My November 2004 Cooking Light is one of my prized possessions due to this recipe, the sausage stuffing in the same issue, and oh my my, the gravy. I have four (now) grown sons who lamment, "I only eat gravy twice a year, mom, please make enough for leftovers". The method is so, so quick. My mom was very skeptical until one nephew proclaimed it was the best turkey he'd ever had. This meant, of course, it was better than my moms. Yikes. Family crisis averted due her mastery of my great-grandma's croissant recipe (from Sunset, probably in the 40s) and his subsequent recovery to rave over them. Really, stop looking. There is no better way to make a turkey anywhere. I'm attempting it with a much larger bird this year after finding an appropriately sized stock pot (OK, extra large canner) and bribing fridge space from someone. This is because we haven't had leftovers the last two holidays. Yup, that good.

  • Paprika114 Posted: 11/29/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This was positively the BEST turkey we have ever made. I did a 16 pounder, and increased the quantity on the ingredients by half again, and brined it for 14 hours. The turkey unfortunately was not ready in the specified time due to it's larger size, but it was worth the wait! There were no leftovers with 8 people eating and complimenting me. My son is a Chef and called me 3 times over the next two days to say over and over how great the meal was. Thanks SO much for this recipe...we will use it again and again!

  • EglideRide Posted: 11/12/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have used this Brine recipe for the past 4 years. I chose to smoke the Turkey, with apple wood chunks in a vertical gas smoker, in place of cooking in the oven. The combination of the brine and the smoker make this the best tasting and moist turkey I have ever had. I will never cook another turkey any other way. Last year I smoked the turkey the day before. Once done, it was wrapped in heavy duty foil and immediately placed it in the fridge. The next morning it was placed in the oven on 250 for two hours and it was ready to serve. Couldn't even tell it was cooked the day before.

  • Keiko123 Posted: 11/23/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    By far the best turkey I ever made. I used the exact ingredients, however..and I feel I can still justify rating the recipe...I was hesitant to cook the turkey at such a high temperature so played it safe and cooked mine at 350 degrees until the thermometer read 165, per nearly every "turkey" website I read. Even at this temp. it browned very quickly, so I ended up tenting it loosely with foil after about 30 minutes into baking. End result: PERFECTLY golden brown, meat was literally fall-off-the bone and not dry at all. Also, I left the oranges in the cavity as I wasn't stuffing the bird so I think the steam coming up from the oranges in the cavity made it even more fantastic. Served it with homemade cranberry/ginger/orange relish , carmelized onion mashed potatoes and baked sweets. Impressive looking on the table too!

  • SandyIvankovich Posted: 11/24/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I made this for my first Thanksgiving dinner. I followed the recipe except for one change. I roasted the turkey in an electric roaster instead of cooking in the oven, only because I needed the oven space. The turkey did not brown in the roaster but the taste was outstanding!! Everyone loved it and every bite was moist, even the leftovers. The taste was even better the second day!!!!

  • DallasLC Posted: 11/25/12
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This turkey was awesome! It only needed an hour at 350, and then let it rest for over an hour while the sides baked. It was juicy and flavorful, and even the turkey haters in the family liked it. The savory herb gravy was Aldo very good.

  • socorro411 Posted: 02/08/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I've made this twice and both times very pleased. I was a bit hesitant this Thanksgiving that my 18# bird would be done but calculated the extra time needed for the increased weight and it was completely done and VERY moist. I will never do a turkey any other way again!

  • brenro Posted: 11/29/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    Just made this for Thanksgiving. Absolutely to die for! The accompanying gravy recipe is a must. I did make one major change though. I rotisseried the bird on a gas grill with apple wood smoke.

  • paulrust66 Posted: 11/26/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    I have made this five times and it is always outstanding. I use a different gravy but the brining recipe is fantastic and it produces an amazingly moist turkey. I have found that starting it at 450 instead of 500 degrees eliminates the risk of blackening the skin while producing a nice sealed and browned skin.

  • Mayebe Posted: 11/29/13
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    First turkey I ever cooked and it was great! I used 20 lb turkey, same brine volume.

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