Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy

Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy Recipe
Photo: Charles Masters
Use your largest stockpot for brining the bird, or a brining bag.


Serves 12 (serving size: 6 ounces turkey and 2 1/2 tablespoons gravy)
Total time: 20 Hours, 40 Minutes

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Recipe Time

Hands-on: 40 Minutes
Total: 20 Hours, 40 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 326
Fat 8.4 g
Satfat 3.9 g
Monofat 2 g
Polyfat 1.5 g
Protein 51 g
Carbohydrate 7 g
Fiber 0.2 g
Cholesterol 177 mg
Iron 3.6 mg
Sodium 566 mg
Calcium 42 mg


2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
6 (2-inch) strips orange rind
2 rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 gallon cold water
1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 apple, cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
1 sage sprig
1/2 orange, cut into wedges
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


1. To prepare brine, combine first 9 ingredients in a large stockpot over high heat; cook 6 minutes or until salt dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add 1 gallon cold water. Cool to room temperature.

2. To prepare turkey, remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve neck. Trim excess fat; add turkey to brine. Refrigerate 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

3. Preheat oven to 375°.

4. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine 3 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through 1/2 teaspoon pepper) in a small bowl; rub butter mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Place apple and next 5 ingredients (through onion) in the body cavity. Secure legs with kitchen twine. Place turkey on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place neck in bottom of roasting pan; place rack with turkey in pan. Bake at 375° for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover turkey loosely with foil; bake an additional 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes; discard neck and skin.

5. To prepare gravy, place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off one bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

6. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add thyme and shallot; sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cider and bourbon; boil 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Combine 1/4 cup broth and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, remaining 1 cup broth, and drippings to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and vinegar.