Recipe – Cider Brined Turkey

Recipe -Cider Brined Turkey


For the Brine:For the Turkey:
1.5 litres apple cider (or sparkling apple juice)1 whole fresh turkey, 5-6kg (defrosted if frozen)
1 cup salt1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp black peppercorns3 rashers bacon, finely chopped
1 tsp whole cloves3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 oranges, sliced thickly2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 bay leaves1/2 cup chicken stock
8 cups ice2 tbsp butter, melted
 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 2 tbsp rub (we recommend Smokey Joe’s Festive Rub)


Step 1 – In a large saucepan, add all of the brine ingredients except the ice and bring to a boil. Cook until the salt has dissolved, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

Step 2 – Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Save for later if you wish to panfry these when preparing gravy. Pat the turkey dry with paper towel. Using a food safe bucket or extra-large oven bags (use two bags for double thickness), place all of the brine mixture, the turkey and the ice into the bucket or bags. Tie the bags off securely if using then place the bags into a large stock pot. Ensure the turkey is completely covered in the brine. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Step 3 – Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry inside and out and leave to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 4 – To make the stuffing, saute the onion and bacon in a frying pan with a little olive until softened. Place in a large bowl and mix together with the breadcrumbs, sage, rosemary, chicken stock and 1 tbsp of the melted butter. Once combined, place the mixture into the cavity of the turkey.

Step 5 – Heat the BBQ to medium heat (180 – 200°C) with two zone heat. Ensure the grills are clean. If you are using a charcoal grill, place your briquettes or charcoal around the outside of the grill, keeping the centre clear as a zone of indirect heat. If you are using a gas BBQ, light a burner on one side of the BBQ only. If you are using a Weber Q, set up the BBQ for indirect cooking with a trivet and convection tray.

Step 6 – Combine the remaining melted butter and olive oil and baste the turkey gently, taking care not to break the skin, then season with the rub. Tuck the wings under the turkey then place the turkey into the BBQ, away from direct heat. To calculate the cooking time for your turkey, allow 20 minutes per kg plus an additional 20 minutes (so for a 5kg turkey, the cooking time will be 120 minutes). Using a digital thermometer, check the internal temperature of the turkey and ensure that it reaches an internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast of at least 70°C. Cover the turkey with foil if it starts to burn during cooking.

Step 7 – Once the turkey is cooked, remove from the BBQ, cover with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. The turkey must reach an internal temperature of at least 74°C before serving. Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing on the side.

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