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Turkey Brining


Marlene
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I always brine turkeys, but I use 1 cup of kosher salt in 2 gallons of water. I brine for 24 hours, and I don't rinse the turkey after brining. It's always perfectly seasoned, and the drippings make excellent gravy with no added salt.

My caveat is that I don't stuff turkeys, so I'm not sure about the effect of the salt on the stuffing. But the gravy is excellent, so I assume the stuffing would be too, so long as you don't add salt or very salty ingredients to it.

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I always brine turkeys, but I use 1 cup of kosher salt in 2 gallons of water.  I brine for 24 hours, and I don't rinse the turkey after brining.  It's always perfectly seasoned, and the drippings make excellent gravy with no added salt.

My caveat is that I don't stuff turkeys, so I'm not sure about the effect of the salt on the stuffing.  But the gravy is excellent, so I assume the stuffing would be too, so long as you don't add salt or very salty ingredients to it.

Abra,

Your formula sounds interesting and makes sense. I may give it a try this year. Thanks for the tip.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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I follow a recipe from Sally Schneider's "A New Way to Cook" who adapted this from Alice Waters. 2 gallons water, 3/4c plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 3/4c sugar, 2 onions, 1 carrot, 1 celery rib, 1 leek, and then a bunch of spices (star anise, fennel, coriander, peppercorns)

I made my first turkey EVER this way two years ago (with stuffing inside) and it came out beautful. Last year, I followed the recipe again because it was so great.

My gravy was not too salty either.

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After many years of brining (no problem with gravy, either), last year I pre-salted the turkey instead. I rubbed sea salt over the exterior, with more on the breast side, then let it dry out overnight in the refirgerator uncovered. Roasted unstuffed and got jucy white meat and nice crispy skin. I plan to do the same this Thanksgiving.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Me three. I brined for a couple of years, but the last two years it has been presalting instead. It seems to be a happy medium, and I am very happy with the results. I am also a butter soaked cheesecloth roaster.

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The think I most like about the brining, is the subtle infusion of herbs in the meat.

It has turned out so well for me the past 2 years, I'm nervous to try anything else for fear of it not turning out as well.

But I suppose, maybe next year, I should try something different.

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Pre-salting sure works for beef and lamb, so why not for poultry too?  How much salt would you guys say you use?

Abra, I've been a big fan of presalting meat, including poultry, ever since I got the Zuni Cafe cookbook; Judy Rogers is a huge advocate of presalting. In her roast chicken recipe, she recommends 2-1/2 t. of salt for a 3 pound chicken. Leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a day or two (uncovered makes the skin even crispier).

As to turkey. If the turkey is one of those that's been injected with junk like the growers are so wont to do these days, don't brine it!

But, in this month's Cook's Illustrated, they advocate presalting the bird with 5 T of kosher salt. The difference between their method and the one Judy Rogers advocates is that with CI, they instruct you to rinse off the salt and dry the chicken. They also tell you to wrap the turkey tightly in plastic and fridge for a day or two.

I'd be more likely to follow Judy Roger's advice because I know I've had good luck with it.

Now, I'm debating whether to brine or pre-salt my turkey prior to smoking it.

Edited to add: with a pre-salted turkey, the drippings and stuffing are NOT too salty, btw.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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friday we tested brined vs. pre-salted side-by-side. without giving away the story, the results were interesting, mainly in that it wasn't a clear-cut winner for either side. depends on what you like.

as a long-time briner, i agree that the drippings are too salty, but that you can stuff the bird as long as you're careful with the seasoning. on the other hand, i have to say that i rarely stuff anymore ... i'm a lot more comfortable baking it on the side so the turkey doesn't get overcooked.

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I always brine my turkey before smoking it. I don't stuff them. The drippings I find work fine for gravy. However, the anti brining thread and Kent's experiments have me thinking.

I am pretty sure I am still going to brine this year for Thanksgiving. But, i am going to try some experiments of my own with pre-salting. Brining turkeys has always worked for me. Kent states from his experiments that he thinks pork is a good meat for brining. When I smoke ribs and butt, I never brine. Go figure.

Thie topic needs further investagation by me as I find it very interesting. A tip of the hat to Kent for running his studies.

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Thanks for the experiments, Kent! I can't imagine why the raw quail would get a mahogany color, can you?

Russ, I'm looking forward to reading your story. Will you post the link here when it comes out?

Susan, you wouldn't suspect me of using an injected bird, would you?

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Darin,

Good question... the essense of the salt is to create a solution (the brine) that has a higher density than the product it is immersed in it (i.e., a turkey). By immersing it and allowing it to adjust to the pressure around it, the solution "infuses" into the bird.

You can use juices (be careful here though - watch the acid content and the type of juices) or simply alot of frangrant herbs, spices or vegetables (i.e., onions) but minimize or eliminate the salt content.

Without trying it and measuring the results, my guess is your bird will not take on as much fluid as the less diluted brine, but it will and can be as tasty.

Brian

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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I also read the CI article on pre-salting and decided that's how I would do my (first!) Thanksgiving turkey. I was wondering, though, if I could also rub it with spices/herbs when I salted it--as in a dry rub, I guess. Would this make a bit of difference in taste? Thanks.

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I would like to brine my turkey for Thanksgiving. In fact, I would like to brine 2 turkeys. I can do what is necessary and have an appropriately sized container to do both at the same time BUT need to know if I can "hold" one to bake 24 hours later (after taken out of the brine).

Everyone coming to my home for Thanksgiving want and expect to take leftovers home. I was hoping that I could brine 2 turkeys Wednesday morning for the 6-8 hours, bake one of them that day to refridgerate and give away as leftovers and save the other to roast on the big day. Is that possible? Any advise is appreciated!!!

Donna

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  • 2 years later...
See: Anti-Brining, Not crazy about "hammy," watery meat. Or jump to experiment results with pictures.

I have never Brined nor "Pre-Salted" . I was dead set on brining the birds this year but now that ive read and seen the results on the "Pre-salting" Im now second guessing the brine.... :hmmm: So my question is how do I pre-salt .....and has anyone pre salted a turkey if so what were the results ? :biggrin: Thanks in advance for any advice .

Benny

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I have never Brined nor "Pre-Salted" . I was dead set on brining the birds this year but now that ive read and seen the results on the "Pre-salting" Im now second guessing the brine.... :hmmm:    So my question is how do I pre-salt .....and has anyone pre salted a turkey if so what were the results ?  :biggrin:  Thanks in advance for any advice .

Benny

I'm planning to pre salt the bird this year, so if you can postpone your thanksgiving 24 hours, I'll tell you all about it :)

Really, I think the most important thing is to pony up and get a really good turkey. All the hoops people jump through with seasonings and brines are really just attempts to compensate for the shortcomings of factory birds. If you get a well raised, free range bird, all you really have to do is cook it well (don't overcook the breasts). Easier said than done, but it doesn't take a genius.

Presalting is probably unnecessary, but it's a much better option than brining, unless you're convinced you're going to overcook the bejeezus out of the bird. A brined an overcooked bird won't dry out as much.

If you have a very fresh, air-dried bird you won't need to dry it with an open salt rub. It may be ok, but I'm not sure what the benefit would be. I plan to salt the bird and leave it wrapped in the fridge, and for no longer than 24 hours.

People have these amazing schemes of brining for 48 hours and then air drying for 24, or whatever ... but don't stop and think that they're adding days of age to a meat that does not benefit from aging. If possible, I want to serve a bird who was walking around merrily a day ago. It will taste better. You won't HAVE to do too much stuff to it.

edit: oh yeah ... i plan to use about 1/2 tsp salt per lb., concentrating more on the thick parts. this is what I use on chickens. if it seems like too much for the turkey, i'll use less. i don't think precision is to important.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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can ya do chicken parts brined too?

can it be done in an enamel pot?

Yes. It can be done in pretty much anything, including a 5 gallon plastic bucket (please use a food-safe plastic bag).

Note that a brine doesn't contain any acid. Once it does, it's considered a marinade. Can you marinade in enamel? I have no clue.

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See: Anti-Brining, Not crazy about "hammy," watery meat. Or jump to experiment results with pictures.

I have never Brined nor "Pre-Salted" . I was dead set on brining the birds this year but now that ive read and seen the results on the "Pre-salting" Im now second guessing the brine.... :hmmm: So my question is how do I pre-salt .....and has anyone pre salted a turkey if so what were the results ? :biggrin: Thanks in advance for any advice .

Benny

Here is a pretty cool article I found while pokin around check it out

http://www.atlantacuisine.com/cgi-bin/efor...um=1163714672/5

:cool:

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