Apple Cider & Juniper Berry Brined Roasted Turkey with Sage Gravy

Serves 14

Incorporating the flavors of fall into a roasted turkey.


  • Apple Cider & Juniper Brine:
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 23 cup kosher salt
  • 23 cup sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 14- to18-pound turkey
  • Sage Gravy (Serves 8, double recipe to serve 14-16):
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 yellow onions, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 3 cups gluten-free turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1 cup turkey drippings
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper


A day ahead:
In a large saucepan, combine the apple cider, hot water, salt, sugar, cloves, juniper berries, peppercorns, allspice, sage leaves, thyme and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Boil for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat.

Add the ice water and stir to cool the mixture. Set aside and let cool.

Line a 5-gallon container (large stock pot or plastic container) with a large brining bag. Place turkey in bag and add brine. Tie bag and refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.


Next day cooking instructions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove turkey from the brine mixture and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove any ingredients from the brine that may have stuck to the turkey.

Place turkey in a roasting pan (with no rack), breast side down, for about 3 hours. Carefully flip the turkey for the remainder of the cooking time, until an internal temperature of 165° F has been reached, typically about one hour.

Reserve at least one cup of the drippings for gravy.

Allow turkey to cool for 30 minutes before carving.

Sage Gravy:
Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat to melt the butter. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes.

Before the butter begins to brown, slowly whisk in the gluten-free flour. Sauté until a light “paste” forms, then continue to cook the “starchiness” out of the flour, about 3 minutes.

Slowly drizzle a small amount of the turkey broth into the butter. Whisk to incorporate, then repeat until all stock is added. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until the gravy has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and strain into serving boat, making sure bay leaves are left behind.

Nutrition Analysis: 290 cal, 29 g fat, 35 mg chol, 500 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 1g fiber, 2 g protein.

Cooking time: 3 minutes. Baking time: 3 hours. Cooling time: 30 minutes. Chilling time: 24 hours.

Nutritional Analysis:
Calories: 710, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Protein: 98 g, Fat: 26 g, Cholesterol: 325 mg, Sodium: 4930 mg, Fiber: 0 g

Recipe courtesy Chef John Fortin.