Brining a Turkey

    from the kitchen of Mary-Jeanine Ibarguen

This recipe is literally a marinade for the turkey.  The turkey sucks the moisture in and the resulting roasted turkey is juicy and flavorful.  Give it a try, you have nothing to lose!

2/3 c kosher salt
2/3 c sugar
6 quarter-sized slices fresh GINGER
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp  allspice 
8 c unsweetened apple cider or juice
2 ORANGES, quartered

In a 3-4 quart saucepan, put the salt, sugar, ginger, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and allspice. Add 8 cups apple cider or juice and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Boil for 3 mins, then remove from heat. Add 4 cups ice-cold water, stir and set aside to cool. 

Have ready a heavy roasting pan, large enough to hold the turkey. Place a plastic oven bag inside a second one to create a double thickness, then place these bags, open wide, in the roasting pan. Remove the turkey from its wrapping, remove the neck and back of giblets from the main and neck cavities. 

Stuff the main cavity with the orange quarters. Fold back the top third of the bags, making a collar. Place turkey inside the bags, stand it upright, and unfold the top of the bag. Pour the brine over the bird. Add an additional 2 cups of cold water. Draw up the top of the inner bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, then secure it with a tie. Do the same for the outer bag. Place the turkey, breast-side down, in the roasting pan and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Turn the turkey 3 to 4 times while it is brining.

Just prior to roasting, remove the turkey from the brine. Discard the bags, brine, and any cured herbs on the bird. You can throw the oranges away at this point, but I've kept them in and I think it keeps the inside of the bird from drying out.  

The turkey is ready to be roasted.