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Herb-Infused Apple Cider Turkey Brine

Easy Turkey Brine

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Alright, let's talk turkey, my culinary comrades! Now, brining might not be up there with "world peace" or "finding the TV remote," but hear me out: Turkeys, especially the lean ones, often pull a disappearing act on us, turning dry and tough during the cooking extravaganza. But fear not, because we're about to embark on an epic brine adventure that'll have your turkey singing a juicy and tender tune.

You Will Need

  • 1 (14.88 lb) whole turkey

  • 4 quarts cold water (plus more to cover the turkey completely, divided)

  • 8 garlic cloves

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 1/2 container fresh thyme

  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper (or peppercorns)

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt (or 3 tablespoons table salt)

  • 2 large bay leaves

  • 1/2 tablespoon sage (ground sage)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

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Rosemary and Thyme Turkey Brine Instructions

Get ready for a fresh, homemade brine adventure that'll make your turkey the star of the show! Whether you're a brining rookie or a seasoned flavor ninja, we've got you covered with our step-by-step guide to crafting the ultimate turkey brine. Dive into the world of brining, where moist and flavorful turkey reigns supreme. Whether you prefer your turkey wet or dry, with a pinch of simplicity or a dash of extravagance, our fresh brine recipes are here to assist. Armed with our classified brine formulas, you'll be the magician behind savory perfection, making your turkey the town's favorite conversation starter! So, grab your apron and get ready to turn your kitchen into a fresh and brine-tastic wonderland!

Prepare the Turkey:

  • Start by prepping the turkey, removing all the innards. Set them aside if you plan to use them for giblet gravy.

Prepare the Brine:

  • In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.

  • While the water is heating, add in the garlic cloves, rosemary, fresh thyme, black pepper, brown sugar, lemon juice, kosher salt, bay leaves, sage, and apple cider vinegar.

  • Once the water reaches a rapid boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes to infuse all the flavors.

Cool the Brine:

  • After simmering, remove the pot from heat and allow the brine to cool down to at least 40°F (4°C). It's essential to prevent bacterial growth in the meat.

  • b. To speed up the cooling process, you can pour the brine over 6-8 cups of ice cubes while stirring gently until the ice has melted.

Brine the Turkey:

  • a. Carefully transfer the cooled brine and the turkey to a large food-grade container or a brining bag.

  • b. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged in the brine. If necessary, add more cold water to cover it completely.

  • Seal the container or bag and place it in the refrigerator for a brining time of 8 to 24 hours. Since you have a 14.88 lb. turkey, you brined it for 21 hours, but you can adjust the time based on your preference.

Rinse and Prepare the Turkey:

  • After the brining period, remove the turkey from the brine.

  • Rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. This step helps remove excess salt from the surface, preventing it from being overly salty.

  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

  • Cook Your Turkey:

Now that your turkey is beautifully brined and prepared, you can proceed to cook it according to your desired recipe. Whether you roast, smoke, or deep-fry, this brine will infuse your turkey with incredible flavors and moisture.

Enjoy your delicious Rosemary and Thyme Turkey!

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Tips for Perfecting Your Turkey Brine

Gather 'round, fellow turkey enthusiasts! We've unearthed the secret scrolls of turkey triumph, presenting to you the best turkey brine recipe, tailor-made for the grand Thanksgiving extravaganza. Bid adieu to the era of parched poultry and say hello to our juicy, foolproof turkey brine—an her infused master piece that it will leave your taste buds singing. But here's the kicker: it's not just any brine; it's the no-fail, worry-free, turkey-that-hugs-you-back kind of brine. Your turkey is about to undergo a transformation so magical that it might start waltzing around the dinner table. So, grab your apron, put on your comfiest pajamas (we won't judge), and let's embark on this flavorful adventure. Your turkey is counting on you to make it a star, and we're here to make sure you succeed.

Turkey Size: Ensure your turkey size matches the brine recipe. Adjust the quantities of ingredients accordingly if you have a larger or smaller turkey.

Quality Ingredients: Use fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially herbs like rosemary and thyme, for the best flavor.

Brine Container: Choose a food-grade container or brining bag that's large enough to comfortably hold your turkey and the brine. Make sure the turkey is fully submerged.

Cooling Time: Allow the brine to cool sufficiently before immersing the turkey. Rapid cooling can be achieved by adding ice cubes and stirring gently.

Brining Time: Stick to the recommended brining time, but don't over-brine. Longer isn't always better, and excessive brining can make the meat too salty.

Rinse Thoroughly: After brining, rinse the turkey under cold water to remove excess salt. This step is crucial to prevent overly salty meat.

Dry the Turkey: Pat the turkey dry with paper towels before cooking. A dry surface promotes crispy skin during roasting or frying.

Flavor Combinations: Feel free to experiment with additional flavorings like citrus zest, whole spices, or other herbs to customize the brine to your taste.

Safety: Maintain proper food safety practices during the entire process, especially when handling raw poultry. Clean all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with the turkey.

Cooking Method: Choose your preferred cooking method (roasting, smoking, frying, etc.) and follow the appropriate guidelines for your turkey's size to ensure it's fully cooked and safe to eat.

Resting Time: Allow the cooked turkey to rest before carving. This lets the juices redistribute, ensuring moist and tender meat.

By following these tips, you can make the most of the Rosemary and Thyme Turkey Brine recipe and create a flavorful, succulent turkey for your meal.

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Variations for Herb-Infused Apple Cider Turkey Brine

Citrus Twist: Add citrus flavors by including orange or lemon zest to the brine for a bright and zesty twist.

Spicy Kick: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add crushed red pepper flakes or a sliced jalapeño to the brine for a spicy turkey.

Maple Glaze: After brining, baste the turkey with a maple syrup glaze while roasting for a sweet and savory combination.

Fresh Herbs: Experiment with different fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or tarragon to customize the herbaceous flavor.

Garlic Lovers: Increase the garlic cloves if you love garlic for a more pronounced garlic flavor.

Fruit Juices: Replace some or all of the apple cider with other fruit juices like pear or cranberry for unique fruity undertones.

Alcohol-Infused: Consider adding a cup of white wine or bourbon to the brine for a sophisticated twist.

Honey Sweetness: Swap out some of the brown sugar for honey to impart a distinct honeyed sweetness to the brine.

Smoky Notes: Add a touch of smokiness by including a few smoked paprika or chipotle pepper flakes.

Asian Fusion: Create an Asian-inspired brine by adding soy sauce, ginger, and star anise for an entirely different flavor profile.

Heritage Herbs: Experiment with heritage herbs like marjoram, lovage, or savory for a unique twist on traditional herbs.

Allspice and Cloves: Incorporate whole allspice berries or cloves for warm, aromatic notes.


Remember to adjust the quantities of these ingredients based on your taste preferences and the size of your turkey. These variations can add exciting flavors to your brined turkey and make it a unique centerpiece for your meal.

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