Cider-Brined Roast Turkey

by Jenn on December 4, 2010

in Gluten Free,Meats


I offered to make one of the turkeys this Thanksgiving.  Well, one of the whole breasts of turkey – given that most of us were traveling to the sunny Floridian coast for the holiday, it was really key to not have a lot of leftovers, so for 16 of us we only had 2 whole breasts of turkey.  One cooked via deep frying (I think this is quickly becoming a family tradition – we’ve had one prepared this way ever since I have celebrated thanksgiving with my in-laws) and one to be cooked by yours truly.  To make sure it was totally different, I decided to do a brined roast with one of my favorite Autumn flavors – apples.

My parents recently discovered brining, and after being introduced to the concept of brining poultry, I instantly became a fan. For this one, I just played.  No stress, just throw stuff together that sounds good and see what comes out.  I can do this on a big holiday dinner because my in-laws are the most chill people I’ve ever met :)

Besides who could be stressed out renting a gorgeous house right on the water overlooking the ocean?


I like brining poultry because it keeps the meat so tender and moist.  When I was very young and my sister was just a little baby, I remember some rather unsavoury holiday dinners with over-cooked dried-out meat and it was torturous.  For the longest time I just thought I couldn’t stand turkey.  I went so far as to even avoid it in lunches or anything else during the year, because I was so convinced turkey was just awful.  Turkey salad or sandwich? eww no thank you, I’d rather go hungry (yes, I was an odd kid, between that and not liking mayonnaise, ketchup, or chocolate milk!).  Well, it turns out that it’s only badly roasted over-done dried-out turkey that is awful.  Once we started having Thanksgiving elsewhere and my parents were now in charge of roasting, I realized that turkey is in fact, quite delicious.  And then we all discovered brining, and were in love :)

If you’re not a huge turkey fan, look back into your memories – if you have similar ones as I about early childhood Thanksgivings, I highly suggest that you give turkey another shot, and try brining to give you an intensely moist and flavorful turkey that will instantly wipe away all those terrible dried-out turkeys that you had to endure!  Brining also works for a whole host of other meats besides poultry.  I just happen to really enjoy it as a method of cooking poultry roasts.

If brining is a new concept to you, I’ve compiled a few links that may be helpful:

How to Control Saltiness After Brining (Pioneer Woman)
My Favorite Turkey Brine (Pioneer Woman)
How to Brine a Chicken (Michael Ruhlman)
Brining Poultry (What’s Cooking America)
How to Brine a Turkey (Savory Sweet Life)

This post linked to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa December 4, 2010 at 4:26 pm

That looks mighty scrumptious! The seagul shot is just stunning.




Jenn December 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Thank you! I love watching the seagulls fly over the water :)


Lisa December 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

That seagull photo is gorgeous! It’s so crisp and clear. It feels like you’re there just looking at it. Lovely!


Jenn December 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Thanks Lisa!!


Joy December 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

This such an incredible way of preparing a turkey! I the flavour infusion sounds great!


Jenn December 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Thanks so much!


fooddreamer December 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm

We didn’t brine our turkey this year but we’re big fans of brining chicken and pork before cooking. It really makes a difference! Your turkey breast looks delicious.


Jenn December 4, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Thank you – yes I also love brining pork – I think I will do that this week!


Tiffany Bateman December 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Looks absolutely delicious! I might have to try this for Christmas :)


Jenn December 5, 2010 at 12:07 am

Thanks! I think brining a roast would be a great way to make a Christmas meal – and you can really flavor it any way you want too!


InTolerantChef December 4, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I really love the idea of using apple in the brine. I think I might use that with a pork roast too. I’m glad you rediscovered turkey. Isn’t it amazing how cooking methods can change the character of the meat?


Jenn December 5, 2010 at 12:09 am

ha a food can be like night and day depending on how it’s prepared… I think apples would marry really well with a pork roast! I’ve baked pork tenderloin in the oven with apples and figs together and loved that combo, so I bet an apple brine would work nicely.


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

We brined our turkey this past Thanksgiving (in October) for the first time and will never ever NOT brine again. WOW. I love your brine recipe and just printed it out and filed it for next year. Cider, huh. Yum.


Jenn December 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

The cider worked really well! Yeah, brining is totally the way to go when it comes to turkey!


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