Do you brine your turkey?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by nicko, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I have always good results from brining my turkeys for the Holidays but I have also had just as good results from not brining. Do you brine your turkey? If so share your brine, time and technique.

    If I brine I typically use a very simple bring of 1 cup of kosher to 1 gallon of water and I brine the bird over night. Then I remove the bird and rinse and leave it in the fridge uncovered to dry out the skin for a whole day. Final day (Turkey day) I roast the turkey at about 350-375 till it is done.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've taken to koshering it just before while I let it come up to room temp. Less hassle, still good results, less flavor shift from the brine so it taste more like what it is. I've come to agree with Harold McGee on that.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I don't brine my turkey---or anything else for that matter.

    When brining first became the rage I gave it a try. Brined everything from pork products to fowl, using different brine mixtures. No matter what, to me, and to the people I fed, brined meats always turn out too salty.

    There are other ways of maintaining juiciness. And I think the key is where you say, but I have also had just as good results from not brining. If it comes out just as good, why bother with the extra step?

    Only time I come close is when curing meats and fish. But even then, I've gone to a dry cure rather than a brine.
     
  4. siduri

    siduri

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    apart from not knowing where to put it, i since the fridge is not big enough, i never have because i find the idea strange - wouldn't you draw liquid OUT of the turkey?  they say no, but i still don't do it. .  I stuff under the skin with herb butter and  cook it at a VERY high heat, which seems to result in a very juicy turkey, with nice crispy skin. 
     
  5. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Finding room for the brine is always a problem unless you have two fridges which I don't. KYH the best results I have had without brining are using Jaques Pepin's technique which is to disassemble the bird, de-bone the legs and stuff them with stuffing, place stuffing on the bottom of the pan and the breast back on top of that, place the legs back and roast it till it is done. It cooks a lot quicker than a whole bird, the stuffing absorbs all the juices and gets nice and crispy. 

    I have had solid results from brining and I think it has it's place. If your brined birds are always too salty then your not brining properly. Brining I think is a fool proof way of getting a tender bird but it requires a lot of extra steps. Thomas Keller brines all of his chickens for his fried chicken recipe. 
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I have little experience with brining.  I may brine a pork chop or some chicken before frying.  I have a friend who brines a whole pig in his bathtub for days.  It is an unappealing process without refrigeration, no?

    I can't believe you don't have a second refrigerator.  Where do you keep your whole lamb?  Our butchers are closed on Easter Sunday and we have to pick up our lamb on Saturday.  We have a small refrigerator in our garage and we take out the shelves and hang the lamb in it. 
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If you don't have a second refrigerator, you can easily brine in an insulated cooler of appropriate size.  You may need to make an occasional run to the store for ice, but it's doable.  I do have a second refrigerator and -- more often than not -- use a cooler for larger job anyway.  Big brining means big dinners means the refrigerator's needed for all sorts of other things. 

    BDL
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It's usually cool enough in my garage this time of year for me to do it in a large stainless pot overnight in the garage. But I have thermometer out there to be sure. And I watch the forecast closely too to know the weather is right for it.
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    If your brined birds are always too salty then your not brining properly.

    Mebbe so, Nicko. I won't argue the point. But I've used brines and techniques as touted by everyone from e-friends and bloggers to celebrity chefs. So, if I'm not doing it properly, neither are they.

    Besides the saltiness, I've not noticed that the meat is particularly more juicy, either. So this is a case where I'll just stick to the old-fashioned methods.