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RECIPE: Light smoked, apple cider-brined turkey

Cooks of Crocus Hill stopped by to share this decadent main meal for Thanksgiving!


  • 4 quarts apple cider 
  • 1 ½ cups kosher salt 
  • ½ bag of Cooks’ Goods and Goodies Mulling Spice. More to taste. 
  • 4 quarts cold water 
  • 1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard reserved)

DAY 1 Simmer 1 quart of the apple cider with the spice for about 10 minutes to infuse the cider with the spice aromatics. Stir in salt to dissolve. Combine the infused cider with the remaining quarts of apple cider. Pour the brine solution into your brining container. Do not place bird directly into hot cider. Add additional cold water so the overall temp of the solution approaches room temp. Place bird in container and add enough additional water to cover the bird.

If time allows, brine the bird overnight in a refrigerator.

DAY 2 Remove the bird from the brine. Discard the liquid. Place the bird in a roasting rack and return to the refrigerator. Allow to dry overnight, uncovered, in your refrigerator. If an exposed bird makes you a little nervous, cover with a very loose piece of foil.

LET’S SAY YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME. 8 to 12 hours in brine. Overnight to dry. If you need to lean toward one side of the brining equation, allow more time for skin to dry. Slightly dry skin will help to promote a golden brown, crispy texture.



  • 1 14- to 16-pound cider-brined turkey. (See Cider Brining instructions) 
  • 1 apple cut into quarters 
  • 1 orange cut into quarters 
  • 1 medium onion cut into quarters 
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh sage 
  • ¼ stick room-temperature butter 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTION Remove your brined bird from the refrigerator. Give it about 45 minutes resting at room temperature to allow the temperature of the bird to elevate a bit. Pat dry your brined turkey. Rub the room-temperature butter all over the bird. Sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper. Place apple, orange, onion and sage in the cavity. Tie legs with kitchen twine. 

Recipe provided by Cooks of Crocus Hill.

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