Citrus Cranberry Turkey


Prep Time: 3 Days  |  Cook Time: Unknown


Brine and Turkey Ingredients
1 turkey
4 quarts of water
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup real maple syrup
1 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
6 large bay leaves
16 dried red chili peppers (does not add significant heat)
12 medium oranges (the juicier the orange the better)
12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
2 tbsp cinnamon

Gravy Ingredients
Salt and Pepper


Preparing the Brine
In a large pot, mix the water, sugar, syrup and salt over high heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir occasionally. Cut 6 oranges (peels on) into quarters and squeeze into the brine mix. Add squeezed quarters to brine. Coarsely chop half the cranberries and add to brine. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover. Allow brine mix to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate covered overnight.

Tip: Do not place the turkey in the room temperature brine as it can create an environment for bacteria to grow.

Brine Instructions (1-3 days, 3 days for optimal taste)
Place the brine mix in a clean food grade plastic bucket (a 5-gallon bucket works best). Remove the giblets and neck piece from the turkey cavity. Wash the turkey and place in the brine mix. Add enough water to cover the top of the turkey if necessary. Place a dinner plate on top of the turkey to keep it submerged. Cover the top of the bucket with a large plastic kitchen garbage bag. Place in refrigerator. Remove turkey from mix once a day and rotate it 180 degrees. Replace dinner plate and bag and return to refrigerator.

Roasting Instructions (250F at 15 minutes per pound)
Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel (see “Crispy Skin for a Brined Turkey above). Place a bag of ice on top of the turkey for 30 minutes prior to roasting to chill the breast meat. Light grill and wait 15 minutes, then insert the heat deflector with the plate in the bottom position. Place a drip pan directly on the plate and fill half way with water. Place the cooking grate on the top of the heat deflector frame. Coarsely chop the remainder of the cranberries and quarter the oranges. Stuff the turkey cavity with the cranberries and oranges (do not squeeze oranges). Baste the outside of the turkey with melted butter and place it on the cooking grate. Add water as needed to the drip pan to keep drippings from burning.

Tip: Using 2-3 thin wood slats between the heat deflector plate and drip pan greatly reduces the tendency for the drippings to burn, by allowing air to flow under the pan.

Notes: Allow most of the water in the drip pan to evaporate just prior to taking the turkey off the grill. Remove the turkey when done and allow to sit 20 minutes prior to carving. The giblets and neck take approximately 1 hour to cook, so add them to the grill at the appropriate time if being served or if being used to make giblet gravy.

Tip: Roast the turkey “breast down” for even juicier breast meat. The natural oils and juices from the dark meat will migrate down into the white meat.

“Smoked” Gravy Instructions
Place the drippings in a large sauce pan (optional: Pull meat from neck and chop giblets into very small pieces and add to the drippings). Cook over medium heat and slowly add 1/4 cup flour. Use a fork or whisk to blend the flour into the drippings. After all the flour has been blended, add water to achieve desired thickness. Salt and black pepper to taste.

Turkey Stock Instructions
Set the carcass and leg bones aside. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add the carcass and bones to the water. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Allow to cool, remove carcass and bones. Place the liquid stock in storage containers and refrigerate. After cold, skim off fat and freeze the stock for later use.