Brining a turkey yields juicy, perfectly seasoned results, but the method can seem like an ordeal, hoisting the turkey into a chest cooler to cure out in the garage. Using your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, however, makes brining hassle-free. Start by heating the brine ingredients, letting the mixture cool, pouring it into a large resealable bag, and adding the bird. Place the turkey in the crisper drawer, refrigerate, and let the brine do its work, making your bird not only well seasoned, but subtly flavored with apple cider and fall spices. Make sure to start with a natural turkey (that is, one without salt injections), and remember to rinse off excess brine before roasting—the best way (along with using an unsalted stock or low-sodium broth) to ensure you won’t end up with an overly salty pan gravy. Make sure you plan for at least 4 to 5 days of thawing time for a frozen turkey, and remember that the brining takes between 8 and 16 hours.
Special equipment: You’ll need a large (about 10-gallon), food-safe, resealable bag for brining. You’ll also need butcher’s twine.
See our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving for everything else you need to know.
For the gravy: