Maple Cider Bourbon Brined Turkey with Bourbon Gravy has crispy skin, juicy meat, and so so much flavor!
Last month, a couple from a close group of our friends moved back to the Twin Cities. To make sure we saw enough of each other, we planned a weekly group dinner with a different home hosting each week. It was such a joy to see these friends on a weekly basis who we were used to seeing only every few months. While the weekly dinners definitely aren’t sustainable with all of our busy schedules, we really wanted to keep up with at least monthly dinners.
So to kick off our monthly dinners, Marc and I hosted a Friendsgiving this weekend. I’ve always wanted to do a Friendsgiving. So when Butterball offered to send me a turkey to develop a recipe with, this gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. While I feel pretty comfortable in the kitchen with most ingredients, I have to say I was pretty intimidated cooking a turkey. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from my friends, family, and patients. I wanted to make sure I didn’t make any of the classic mistakes that one could make.
One thing I’ve found when asking for turkey-making advice, is that everyone has their own (strong) opinions on how to bake the perfect turkey. So I took their advice, did my own research, and decided I definitely wanted to brine my turkey.
I settled on a brine of salt, maple syrup, apple cider, rosemary, orange zest, and bourbon. With those flavors, I’m pretty sure any turkey is bound to be delicious. After a good 18 hours of brining, I made an easy butter mixture to spread all over before popping it in the oven to ensure a crispy skin. I also stuffed the turkey with onion, apple, rosemary, and garlic to infuse it with some more great flavor.
The turkey turned out just as I hoped – a crispy, flavorful skin with incredibly moist meat. I used the drippings from the pan to create a simple gravy, which I jazzed up with more bourbon to tie it with the turkey meat. Together, the turkey and gravy were so tasty and while they were a slight variation from the traditional turkey and gravy, they were definitely satisfying to my turkey and gravy cravings.
If you’re looking to change up your Thanksgiving table this year, I would definitely recommend this turkey. In fact, it was so good I’ll be making it again for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Butterball has also offered to send two of my readers vouchers for their own Butterball turkey! Since Thanksgiving is creeping up on us, this giveaway will be a quick one – only until Thursday, so be sure to enter quick. You can enter by commenting below, liking greens & chocolate on facebook, following greens & chocolate on Twitter, and tweeting about the giveaway on Twitter, below.
***Giveaway has ended and winners have been notified via e-mail***
maple cider bourbon brined turkey with bourbon gravy
- 15 lb turkey fresh or thawed, innards removed
for the brine:
- 32 oz apple cider
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- zest from 1 orange
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 1 gallon water
for the turkey:
- 1 apple quartered
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
for the gravy:
- 1/3 cup flour
- 16 oz chicken broth
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- salt and pepper to taste
- In large pot, combine apple cider, maple syrup, kosher salt, peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon stick, and orange zest.
- Bring to a boil then let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- In large pot or brining bag (I used an oven bag) combine cooled cider mixture with bourbon and water.
- Add turkey and let brine for 8 to 24 hours, turning every few hours.
- Once brined, remove turkey from brine and place bird on roasting rack.
- Pat very well to dry.
- Place apple, onion, sprig of rosemary, garlic cloves, and stick of cinnamon into cavity of turkey.
- Combine butter, brown sugar, salt, and rosemary and mix well.
- Rub all over turkey, making sure to peel skin back from breast and spread some of the butter under the skin.
- Tuck the wings under the body, and tie the legs together with twine.
- Pour 1/2 cup of water (or additional chicken broth, if desired) to bottom of roasting pan.
- Bake in 500 degree oven for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake 2 hours more, or until internal temperature (measured at the thighs) reaches 165 degrees F. Keep an eye on the turkey for the last hour and if the skin is getting too brown, you can cover it with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
- Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your bird. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it is completely done.
- Remove turkey from roasting pan and cover with foil, allowing to rest for 15-20 minutes while making the gravy.
To make the gravy:
- In a medium saucepan, add strained drippings from roasting pan and bring to a simmer.
- Shake flour and chicken broth in a sealed container (like a mason jar) for at least 45 seconds.
- Add to simmering drippings, along with rosemary and bourbon.
- Stir constantly until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper, taste.
- Serve with carved turkey.