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Do you Brine your Turkey? Why or why not?

 
 
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 12:12 am
I never have, of course back in the day the turkey factories would inject some butter flavored fat and salt to make them tender and delish, and now all they use is a lot of lightly salted water with some "flavor" . I was so disappointed with my Butterball this year that I think I am going to start brining . The last two years before this I have used Norbest, which seemed somewhat better....Norbest using the same basic crap injection fluid but with many more injection points.

Where do you stand on this very important question?
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aidan
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 01:43 am
I buy turkey crowns from the local butcher.
They're more expensive, but no bones, waste or mess - nothing but delicious turkey breast meat.
I've never been disappointed.
I trust that they're not injected with anything, although I've never even thought to ask.

hawkeye10
 
  0  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 01:59 am
@aidan,
Almost all (90%+) of American turkeys come from the same genetic stock, these turkeys grow fast and have big tits because as you know most Americans dont like dark meat (for example the majority of the chicken dark meat gets shipped overseas) ...problem is they are far from the best eating turkeys that are out there.

The majority of Americans dont have the first damn clue how to cook a turkey either, which does not help matters....far too many listen to the US Government and other assorted food safety NAZI'S who direct us to over cook them.
boomerang
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 07:58 am
@hawkeye10,
I dry brine all poultry, which technically is closer to curing than brining.

I don't like the spongy texture of wet brined birds.
farmerman
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 08:10 am
@boomerang,
we brine chickens but nit turkey. I like a grain raised turkey (NO fuckin "Heritage breed" or Butterballs) the former is all muscle and dry and the latter is full of chemicals other than salt and water. A 5 pound chicken shouldnt be brined for more than 3 hours so it doesnt get spongy. All you want to do us extract water and then re diffuse the salty water back into the meat (its a two step diffusion process)

COOKING is the secret. We do all poultry at 500 F for 10 min per pound. Its crispy skinned and juicy as juicy can be.

I think you are guilty of supergeneralization about "All Americans"
Linkat
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 11:59 am
@hawkeye10,
When we host Thanksgiving (didn't this year - although hubby is going to pick one up today) - we buy a brined turkey usually from Trader Joes.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 12:10 pm
@hawkeye10,
I bought a brined organic turkey last year from Whole Foods, it was the best one I've had in a good long while. Cooked it in my clay pot, (10-lb turkey), it was moist and flavorful.

This year I ordered one from Whole Foods, but they had a "quality control" issue with their brined turkeys (not enough? went bad? dunno), and so at the last minute they switched me to a regular organic turkey. But they also threw in a free brining kit and a $25 gift card, so I was OK with it.

Brining it was a hassle because it had to stay 40 or below. I didn't dare put it outside, raccoons would dismantle the thing in no time, (or anything I had available to keep raccoons out), plus the temps haven't actually been that cold. The fridge was the only obvious place but turkey + bag o' brine is much bigger (and heavier) than just turkey.

The main problem was keeping the turkey completely submerged -- 1/2 was no problem, 3/4 wasn't bad, complete submersion took some doing.

At any rate, it was an adventure (and involved Duck tape -- love that stuff) but I got the turkey brined without feeding the raccoons or spilling brining fluid everywhere. Yay.

This kit also involved an herb rub, did that too.

Very good turkey!

Next year I'd rather get pre-brined and just do the rub, but if I had to do it all again I think it'd be worth it.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 12:21 pm
I brined our turkey this year for the first time. It turned out well. Followed the Alton Brown recipe.

He brines, rinses it, oils the skin, then cooks it in a 500 oven for 30 minutes, covers the breast portion with a triangle of foil and reduces the temp to 350 for the remainder of the cooking time until the thigh meat reaches 161 degrees.

(His technique browns and seals the skin early in the cooking process to help hold in the moisture rather than cooking at a lower temperature and having the moisture drip out onto the roasting pan. It worked. There was very little juice on the pan when finished.)

His brine is a gallon of vegetable stock, a cup of kosher salt, a cup of brown sugar, a half-tablespoon each of whole allspice, candied ginger and whole peppercorns that is boiled to dissolve the salt and sugar and then cooled and chilled overnight in the refrigerator. Then the turkey is placed in a 5 gal. bucket (I used a brining bag in a large bowl) and the brine is poured in. Another gallon of ice and water is added and then it brines overnight in the refrigerator or outdoors if your weather is cold enough. I brined ours for about 8 hours.

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boomerang
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 12:26 pm
@farmerman,
I agree that most birds are brined too long.

Dry brining has the same effect -- tenderizes the meat and redistributes the moisture more evenly throughout the bird. It's much less mess and hassle.
Linkat
 
  1  
Fri 25 Nov, 2011 12:44 pm
@boomerang,
And I do have to say - prior to us getting these pre-brined at trader joes - we have tried to dry brine like you - so much easier to buy pre-brined.
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OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Sat 26 Nov, 2011 12:11 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Almost all (90%+) of American turkeys come from the same genetic stock, these turkeys grow fast and have big tits because as you know most Americans dont like dark meat (for example the majority of the chicken dark meat gets shipped overseas)
I accept only DARK meat. It has all the flavor.
White meat has value only very briefly,
after emergence from the oven.





David
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