Serves a Crowd

Apple-Brined Turkey with Garlic HerbĀ Butter

November 29, 2010
1 Rating
Author Notes

This is my absolute favorite method of turkey-ing. Of all the methods I've tried, nothing beats brining. The turkey is so moist and flavorful that it really stands alone, but who wouldn't want to throw a stick of deliciously-flavored butter in there somehow? And is that a chunk of breast meat missing from the bird? I can't imagine how that happened (eyes cast innocently skyward). —campagnes

  • Serves about 10
  • Apple Brine
  • 1 gallon apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4-5 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • about 1/2 gallons' worth of ice cubes
  • 1 gallon ice water
  • 1 13-pound turkey
  • Garlic Herb Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
In This Recipe
  1. To make brine: Combine 6-7 cups apple juice with salt, sugar, and herbs in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer about 5 minutes, or until salt and sugar are dissolved and herbs are fragrant. Remove from heat and add ice cubes; pour into a large, clean, nonreactive container (I used a new, clean trash can) and add remaining apple juice and water.
  2. Place turkey in brine, breast-side down, and fill cavity with brine. Add additional water if turkey isn't fully submerged. Allow to brine for at least 8 hours (overnight is best).
  3. While turkey is brining, combine all ingredients for Garlic Herb Butter in a bowl; set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
  4. After brining, remove turkey from brine and discard excess brine. Rinse turkey, including the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand, uncovered, for about 4 hours to allow skin to dry.
  5. When ready roast, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate skin from turkey breast and legs, and stuff butter under skin. Rub remaining butter on the outside of the turkey. Roast for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until thigh temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let stand 30 minutes before carving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alicia
  • Missy Humphrey
    Missy Humphrey
  • ellencooks
  • Dunnkit
  • campagnes

7 Reviews

Alicia November 13, 2015
This is my first time at brining a turkey. Where it says to allow to brine for at least 8 hours, best overnight, then to rinse, dry and let stand for 4 hours would that be in the refrigerator or is it safe at room temperature?
Dunnkit November 21, 2015
Hey Alicia: you should be able to keep it at room temperature for 4 hours after brining. The salt will have killed some bacteria, so it shouldn't be an issue.....unless you live in a hot environment. I think if you put it in the fridge, it will get too cool right before roasting.
Missy H. November 21, 2014
Has anyone used the pan drippings to make grave? How does it taste?
ellencooks November 5, 2012
Shouldn't a 13 # turkey be cooked for about 4 hours?
Author Comment
campagnes November 5, 2012
Hi, ellencooks! Brining a turkey causes it to cook more quickly. If in doubt, track the temperature carefully.
foodluver October 23, 2011
how much brine do you suggest making if I want to make a 16-18 lb turkey? I don't want to water the recipe down in order to submerge the turkey.
Author Comment
campagnes November 5, 2012
Sorry I didn't see your question earlier! I would probably just make 1.5 times the brine for a turkey of that size.