Cider Brined Turkey

This recipe originated at Epicurious.com; I’ve tweaked it to suit my tastes.

Start 2 days ahead.

* 4 quarts apple cider, divided
* 1 1/2 cups kosher salt  **** must be kosher salt or turkey will be too salty!****
* 1/4 cup whole allspice
* 6 whole cloves
* 8 bay leaves
* 4 quarts cold water

**homemade turkey broth

Simmer 1 quart cider, salt, allspice, and bay for 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely.  Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water.  Remove the giblets and place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate for 18 hours.

Make turkey broth with the giblets. Brown the giblets well in a pan with plenty of butter.  When well browned, add a healthy splash of white wine and deglaze the pan.  Add water to cover the giblets, and simmer slowly until the broth smells rich and flavorful.  Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Drain turkey and rinse.  Arrange on several layers of paper towels in roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight to further dry the turkey and promote a crisp skin.  Roast at 350°F for about 4 hours for a stuffed 20 lb. bird, basting with pan juices and turkey broth.  Remove from oven when a thermometer in the thigh reads 175°F and let rest for 30 minutes.  Any remaining turkey broth can be used to make gravy.  DO NOT use a salted purchased stock for gravy, as the pan juices are quite salty, but when mixed with the unsalted broth, will work for gravy.

Makes enough brine for a 20 lb bird.  (Mine was 16 lbs.)

This was delicious.  I think the brine would be great for chicken or pork, too.

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