Apple-Brined Turkey
© Christina Holmes

Apple-Brined Turkey

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR

"Brining introduces flavor that penetrates to the bone," says chef Ken Oringer. "And, because brining adds moisture, the turkey can handle high heat."


  1. 3 cups apple juice
  2. 1 green apple, quartered
  3. 1/2 navel orange
  4. 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  5. 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  6. 4 tarragon sprigs
  7. 1 medium bunch of thyme
  8. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  9. 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  10. 8 sage leaves
  11. 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  12. 2 whole cloves
  13. 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  14. 2 cups light brown sugar
  15. 1 cup kosher salt
  16. One 15-pound turkey, legs and breast separated (see Note)

Herb Butter

  1. 6 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 pounds), at room temperature
  2. 3 tablespoons chopped thyme
  3. 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  5. 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  6. Salt
  7. Freshly ground pepper
  1. Brine the Turkey In a pot, combine all of the ingredients except the turkey and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add 12 cups of cold water. Let stand until cool. Add the turkey and refrigerate for 12 hours.
  2. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the turkey from the brine and transfer it to the prepared rack; pat the turkey dry with paper towels and refrigerate it uncovered for 12 hours.
  3. Make the Herb Butter In a medium bowl, blend all of the ingredients except the salt and pepper.
  4. Set a clean rack over a clean baking sheet and set a large rack in a large roasting pan. Gently separate the turkey skin from the breast meat. Rub half of the herb butter over the breast meat under the skin. Spread the remaining herb butter all over the skin of the breast and legs; season with salt and pepper. Set the breast in the prepared roasting pan and tuck the wings under it. Transfer the legs to the prepared baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, basting every 15 minutes with the melted herb butter and tenting the breast with foil after 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° in the thickest part of the breast and 180° in the inner thigh. Let rest for 30 minutes. Carve and serve.
Ask your butcher to separate the legs from the turkey.

Suggested Pairing

Spiced Pinot Noir: 2011 DeLoach Russian River Valley.