For the moistest possible turkey, you want to brine it — meaning, soak it overnight in a saltwater solution to seal in all the juices. This brine adds in brown sugar, citrus, apple juice, garlic, herbs, and black pepper for an incredibly plump, flavorful bird. And here's an important tip. You can use any type of salt for the brine, but they measure differently, so be sure to note the recipe for how much to use for your kind of salt. And be sure to buy a turkey that hasn't been injected with any type of salt solution. Yes, stashing that big bird in your fridge can be awkward, so we give you options for brining in a 22-quart pot, a clean 5-gallon bucket, or a brining bag plus a big bowl or pot — and in an ice chest if the fridge is full! The recipe is a Yummly original created by David Bonom.
- 2 oranges
- 15 garlic cloves (1 large head)
- 10 sprigs fresh rosemary (6 in. long)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme (large, 6 in. long)
- 7 bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 5 qt. water (divided)
- 1 qt. apple juice
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 7 oz. salt (1 1/4 cups Diamond Crystal kosher salt, 2/3 cup Morton’s kosher salt, or 1/2 cup table salt)
- 1 qt. orange juice
- 1 turkey (12 to 14 lb., without any salt solution added)
- Slice oranges into 1/4-inch rounds. Chop garlic. Measure out rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, then set aside.
- Combine 1 qt. water, the apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a 5- to 6-qt. pot. Heat over medium-high heat and whisk until the salt and sugar dissolve, 4-5 minutes.
- Remove brine from heat. Add sliced oranges, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns to warm brine and stir to blend. Set pot in a large bowl of ice water in the sink and let it stand until the brine mixture is cold, refreshing ice as needed, about 15 minutes. Or let brine cool completely, then refrigerate, covered, until cold, about 2 hours.
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