Thanksgiving is approaching and with it, your family members trying to one-up each other with their best dishes. Thankfully, we have the winning recipe below (just don’t share it until after the holiday). And sure, there’s an honored and customary place at the table for your auntie’s green bean casserole and cranberry sauce, but we’re aiming for the star of the show: turkey and gravy.

This year, we’re adding our own spin by creating maple cider brined turkey with bourbon gravy. Is your stomach growling yet? Ours are, so let’s get cooking!

The ingredient list and directions seem long and daunting, but the ingredients are simple and easy to find, and the directions are straight forward, Scout’s Honor.  

Maple Cider Brined Turkey and with Bourbon Cider Gravy

(12 servings)



  • 2 quarts of local apple cider
  • ½ cup Kosher salt
  • ½ cup of Meridan Hill Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • ¾ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 6, 2-inch strips of orange rind
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 gallon of cold water*


  • One, 12-pound turkey
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 apple, cut into wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh sage sprig
  • ½ of an orange, cut into wedges
  • ½ of an onion, cut into wedges


  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of apple cider
  • ¼ cup of bourbon
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar



1. Prepare the brine.

    1. Using a large stock pot, add all the brining ingredients except the gallon of water.
    2. Cook on high heat for six minutes, occasionally stirring until salt has dissolved.
    3. Remove from the heat and add the gallon of water.
    4. Let all ingredients hang out together in the stock pot at room temperature.

2. Prepare the turkey.**

    1. Prepare turkey as needed by removing giblets and excess fat.
    2. Add turkey to the stockpot with brine mixture.
    3. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, turning turkey around in stock pot occasionally.
    4. After it’s brine bath (one day later), preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    5. Remove turkey from brine and discard brine.
    6. Combine 3 tablespoons of softened butter with freshly ground black pepper. Rub the butter mixture over the turkey.
    7. Place apple, orange, and onion wedges, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary sprigs, and sage sprigs into the body cavity of the turkey.
    8. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray and place turkey into tray.
    9. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then, cover turkey loosely with foil. Bake an additional 45 minutes.
    10. Check the temperature by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Turkey is done when temp reads 165 degrees.
    11. Let rest on cutting board for at least 20 minutes before carving.

3. Prepare the gravy.

    1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
    2. Add chopped thyme and shallot, sautéing for 2-3 minutes.
    3. Add ½ cup of cider and the bourbon. Let boil for 3 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine flour with 1 cup of broth, whisking together until smooth.
    5. Add this flour mixture and remaining 1 cup of broth to the saucepan. Bring to a boil. If adding drippings from the turkey pan, add them now, making sure to have let the fat separate first.
    6. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 4-5 minutes or until gravy has thickened.
    7. Stir in the parsley and vinegar.

*One gallon of water may be too much if using a meat alternative (such as tofu or tempeh). Tweak the brine ingredient amounts based on how many meat alternative  servings you’re making.

**Turkey here refers to turkey, tofu, tempeh, or any meat substitute.