Best Turkey Brine – Savory Apple Citrus

Best Turkey Brine – Savory Apple Citrus

My husband I have started our own tradition for Thanksgiving, we make it a 2 day event. Whether we are hosting for family, friends or just us, cat and dog included; 2 days is the way to go. Once the menu is planned and shopping is done, I usually start with the brine! We are not morning people at all so Tuesday is Brine day for me. I make the brine in the afternoon, let it cool and late on Tuesday night I will prep turkey by rinsing in cold water, pulling out the neck and giblet bag. I then boil the neck and giblets for 30 mins in a medium size pot with some salt and fresh sage, dropping the liver in the last 7 mins. That will be my meat bits for stuffing that goes in the turkey, basting liquid, if I even need it and I use the rest for the gravy.

With all the different dishes during our two day event sometimes my brine changes a little bit. Depending on what my mood is or what I have on hand. My savory is my go to but sweet citrus is awesome with chicken too.
This year I took these 2 brines and made a fusion. My “savory brine” onions, celery, Rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, salt and sage and “sweet citrus brine” lots of apples, oranges, lemon, thyme, salt, pink peppercorns, garlic and ACV (apple cider vinegar) and let me tell you… magic happened.


Here’s what I did for a 24 pound turkey

64 oz 100% organic apple juice no sugar added
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup kosher or sea salt
Palm full of pepper corns love the tricolored
1 cup brown sugar light or dark love both
8 cups of water
2 whole lemons just squeezed and tossed in the pot
6 mandarin oranges squeezed and tossed in pot
1 green apple chopped…tossed
Left over cores and skins from Braeburn apples we had used for a dessert
1-3 rough chopped onion
4-6 rough chopped carrots
20 cloves of whole garlic tossed
Fresh Herbs were 2 tbs Rosemary
3 bushy sprigs of thyme
1-2 small oregano springs (not to much this is strong)
2-3 sage stems with 5 leaves, this too can be over powering
5 bay leaves


It sounds like a lot but all these flavors do go together and it was all on hand except apple juice.

Toss everything in a huge stock pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour. Chill your brine BEFORE you add the turkey.  If your stock pot can hold a turkey too, even better. This makes it nice and easy to clean. If that does not work, buy some of those turkey brining bags, they work really well.
I like to brine our turkey between 24 and 48 hours, chilled in fridge. On the porch, if we are not in freezing temp, but always keeping turkey temp at 38-40 degrees. I do love snowy climates this time of year!!! I could never do this in California.

When done, rinse turkey again inside and out, pat dry, stuff (stuffing or just onions and carrots) oil then bake or roast.

For 2018 I will most likely repeat the recipe again because the gravy had the best flavor ever and the meat was so juicy to the very last bite!

About 4 years ago, I realized how much I loved making my turkey in an electric roaster oven. Keeps my stove and OVEN area cleared for all the other other dishes and I pretty much don’t baste my turkeys at all cooking this way.

Start at 400 30 min…Don’t open the lid just drop temp 350 1hr…325….apx 2 hrs…. then drop to 200 till done….rest 30 mins. I do this for 18lbs to 26 lbs turkey stuffed with bread stuffing. If you are only stuffing with onions, apples, carrots then cook time WILL BE LESS.

Best ever!!! Not salty at all!! Stuffed bird with chanterelles, shiitake and giblet seasoned bread stuffing.

Made gravy with roast pan drippings, neck stock, flour, fresh ground pepper and homemade unsalted chicken stock.


I love holidays and traditions, hope yours are filled with love, great memories and good food!

oxox Ms Foodie

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