Has anyone ever brined a turkey? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-22-2002, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please, tell all. What solution did you use to brine it in? Did it affect cooking time at all? Did you like it? Did it make a difference? Is it true that you can't stuff it or else the stuffing will soak up too much salt? How about using the drippings for pan gravy?

I'm going to try this for the first time, and have recipes, but would love some first hand feedback! Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2002, 06:16 PM
 
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Yes! My father did it two years ago and it was GREAT. He used kosher salt--not sure for how long (maybe a day?)--and I can't remember how it affected the cooking time. But it was WAY delicious! Juicy and much more flavorful.
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Old 11-22-2002, 06:17 PM
 
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I have brined a turkey. It came out really good too. I usually dissolve the salt and a little sugar in water in a huge pot. Add the turkey and let it sit at least overnight. 12-24 hours is good. Then drain and cook.

We always BBQ our turkey and don't stuff it, so I can't help you there. The drippings were fine for gravy.
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Old 11-22-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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oceanbaby,

I brined a turkey last year. It came out awesome. Here is a link to the recipe:

http://www.foodtv.com/foodtv/recipe/0,6255,8865,00.html


It really did make a difference.

~Laura
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Old 11-22-2002, 07:15 PM
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Yes, we've brined our turkey every year for the past few years. Use a container large enough to completely enclose the turkey. Fill with water (enough to cover the turkey, but not so much, of course, that it'll overflow when you put the turkey in). Add at least a cup of kosher salt and an equivalent amount of sugar. We've also added maple syrup on occasion, which has been good. Mix to dissolve. Add your turkey and brine for at least 24 hours. If there's not room for the enormous vat of turkey + brine in your fridge, then put it in a cooler and add ice. You might want to rinse the turkey before cooking it, depending on how much salt you used.
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Old 11-22-2002, 08:06 PM
 
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I have always brined my turkey and they came out delicious, nice and juicy...way better than the dry turkey you choke on...i stuffed mine, and that was great as well as the pan drippings for gravy.

quick story...my very first thanksgiving at our new home, my husband decides to "help" me and put the turkey BACK IN THE FREEZER tuesday night b/4 the hoilday. i come home from work wed am (i worked 7p-7a) and found it frozen solid. sooo...i filled up my jacuzzi bathtub in our bathroom, poured a whole thing of kosher salt, and turned the jets on high, i took 2 benadryl and passed out. 5 hours later i woke to a defrosted turkey, which was the best, most juicy bird you ever tasted....my little secret!
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Old 11-24-2002, 09:40 PM
 
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Oh yeah baby! It's all about the brine. Makes a huge difference in moisture and it is really the only way you can get seasoning/ flavors into a big piece of meat like that. And that is the recipe I have used successfully as well!

Arduinna, I am grilling the bird for the first time this year and am a little nervous! What should I know?

editing to add: Didn't stuff that year, used the aromatics in the bird that my boyfriend Alton suggests but the gravy was just fine.
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Old 11-24-2002, 09:53 PM
 
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Kama, we've grilled our birds for quite a few years and they come out great. Here's what we do, I only know how to with charcoal though. We don't have a gas bbq.

First, no stuffing the bird, it just doesn't work on the bbq. Make sure you remove the leg truss and giblets (hehe). Insert the meat thermometer.

Start 40 briquettes and when they are dotted with ash divide in 1/2 and push to the sides of the bbq. The turkey needs to cook over indirect heat. Put the drip pan in the middle over where the turkey will rest. Add 5 briquettes to each side when you put the turkey on and every 30 minutes during cooking. Put the turkey breast side up, over the drip pan. Baste it each time you add coals (every 30 minutes). Cook until therm says 160.

You can add wood chips, if you want it smoked during the first 30-60 minutes only. Seems to get overly smoked if you do it the whole cooking time. DH like apricot wood the best, but pecan and oak are also good.
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Old 11-24-2002, 10:03 PM
 
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How do you add briquettes? I mean, they are too big to go between the slots on my grill, so do I take the bird and the grill off every half hour? Do I fire them up before I add them or just chuck 'em on the hot pile and let them light eventually on their own?

Edited to add: DUH! I just actually looked at the weber thing my BIL gave us and there is a space big enough for coals to go through on the sides. Cool! There isn't on my regular lil grill.
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Old 11-24-2002, 10:09 PM
 
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to add the briquettes depends on your bbq. One of ours has little flip up sides on the grate for adding them. If all else fails you have to lift the grate with the bird on it. That usually works best as a 2 person job. One person lifting the grate and the other tossing the coals. That way it can go quick and you don't need to completely remove the bird.

No you don't have to prestart the additional coals, you can just plop them on the hot ones and they will catch fine.

read your edit, that makes it much easier. With the Weber (we have one of those too) make sure the turkey will not touch the lid of the bbq or it will burn. Not a problem unless the bird is huge usually.
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Old 11-25-2002, 06:03 AM
 
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Reading this thread almost makes me wish I were making a turkey. We are going to eat with friends, and they are making the bird, and getting a ham too. Come to think of it, maybe they are ordering the turkey. Hmmm...

About how long would it take to grill a 12-15 lb turkey?
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Old 11-25-2002, 06:34 PM
 
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Brining is fabulous. It's coldish here, so I use a large heavy commericial soup out with lid, with a weigth on the lid to keep the squirrels out and leave it ont he back porch overnight. Basic kosher salt/sugar solution...recipes I get from Cook's Illustrated. Not overcooking is also key.

I've never done a turkey on the grill, but a lot of outdoor cooking. I advocate hardwood charcoal. It's beautiful to cook on, just a littel harder to get started. Beats briquettes in a big way. I buy bags at Whole Foods.
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Old 12-04-2002, 06:06 PM
 
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We brined our bird for the first time this year.. I think it was much juicier. It even seemed to retain moisture in the leftovers (I LOVE left-over turkey sandwiches!).

One thing we've been doing the past 3 years is removing the back-bone (deconstructing) the turkey prior to cooking. Our 16 pound bird only took 2 hours and 20 minutes to cook! Without writing a book .. here's the yum notes:

brine overnight
deconstructed turkey (drums, breasts, wings all seperated)
...wait.. it IS good.. you really have to try this..
home made cornbread/sage/sausage stuffing
mashed sweet potatoes
balsamic vinegar/butter carrots
salad

The turkey is heavily (salt & ) peppered (amazing how much I missed it this year when DH decided not to cook the stuffing with the bird!).
The drumsticks are de-boned and then s&p and then stuffed with stuffing, and tied off.

The stuffing is mounded in the roasting dish, then the turkey is placed on top of the stuffing and re-assembled to appear as though it's still all in one piece.

I didn't think we could improve on the deconstructed turkey 'till we brined it this year.

The deconstructed turkey & cornbread/sage/sausage recipie are both in Julia Child & Jacque Pepin's Cooking At Home cookbook <-- worth a look!

Hmm.. I think we may have to do this again for Christmas!

Been quietly hanging around here for over 10 years.  

 

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Old 12-04-2002, 06:26 PM
 
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America's Test Kitchen (the cooks illustrated people) showed a butterflied, flattened turkey on the tv show (but they left the wings and legs attached I think). Looks interesting.
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