Turkey brine

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by 100folds, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. 100folds

    100folds

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    Now I have used the method of soaking duck in a brine solution to help make the skin crisper and the meat juicier but does the same work for Turkey. If so, does anyone know for how long I should do this. I've cooked Turkey maybe 5 times in my life and it's always been in restaurants so its been cuts of turkeys and never the whole turkey. Does anyone have any secreats they would like to contribute. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. markdavis6

    markdavis6

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    Yes brine is great for turkeys.

    A 10 to 15-pound/4- to 7-kilogram turkey: brine for 24 hours.
    A turkey over 15 pounds/7 kilograms: brine fo 24 to 36 hours.

    If you need to know how to brine a turkey or a recipe for a turkey brine let me know.
    :chef:
     
  3. jonk

    jonk

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    We've been brining our turkeys for several years now, using a brine of about 1 cup table salt to 1 gallon water (if using Kosher salt, you'll need 50% more to twice as much, but the Kosher salt does dissolve more easily in cold water). Since our refrigerator won't hold something as large as a turkey in a brining container, we use a picnic cooler with either ziplock bags of ice or those "blue ice" packs in the brine to keep the temperature around 40 degrees F. If its cold enough outside and you have a protected spot away from critters, you could do it in a bucket or washtub. We usually brine our turkey (10 to 14 lbs) overnight, though according to the folks at Cooks Illustrated, four hours will do. Of course, rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry before roasting.

    We've experimented with flavored brines (we tried a molasses-brined turkey from Bon Appetit and they also had a brine using apple cider--search on www.epicurious.com); they do contribute flavor, but they are bit expensive in turkey-brining quantities.

    We also really like Alton Brown's Mighty Duck recipe (search www.foodnetwork.com) which uses a pineapple-orange juice brine and produces a moist, non-greasy duck with crisp skin. It is a two-step cooking process that has for us replaced the three-step process from Julia Child which had been our standard. We had Mighty Duck for our Christmas Eve dinner this year, along with a wild rice and mushroom pilaf, braised leeks (the last from our garden), and spinach sauteed in some of the duck fat (OK, we diet tomorrow).

    We also brine most supermarket pork. The new leaner varieties can dry out very easily in most cooking, so a brief brine (half hour or so) does wonders.

    Exceptions (and this may be considered hersey to some): A number of supermarkets (notably Aldi's) sell chickens and pork infused with a water/salts solution. I suspect this is done so that you will buy water at meat prices. But we've found that these products do not need brining and in fact stay as moist as home-brined products. You will have to decide for yourself if sodium phosphate is on your acceptable consumption list (I personally do not object to it), but these products are convenient and seem to work well in our hands.
     
  4. jock

    jock

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    I've never brined a duck before but have done chix and turkey. Both work well. As JonK says, you can experiment with flavored brines. An inexpensive flavor is pickling spices. Cook a handful of pickiling spice mix (from the supermarket) in a quantiity of the water you plan to use. Cooking it will bring out all the spice flavors. Let it cool and add the rest of the water and salt and optional sugar then brine as directed above.

    I have found that a prolonged soaking in the brine will make the skin soggy and it won't crisp up. Best to take it out of the brine and let it air dry in the fridge for a while, like overnight if you can but for a few hours at least.

    Jock
     
  5. jonk

    jonk

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    I should have mentioned, we also have brined a goose as well (treating it much like a turkey) and then roasted it as per Julia Child in "The Way to Cook." Worked just fine.
     
  6. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Yeah, I do consider it heresy. Pumped meat is a cheat to the public and makes for meat you can't properly season. I want to control the salt/sodium level and use seasonings of my choice, not Hormel's (so-called "Always Tender") or others'. I've ranted about pumped meat and poultry before, so I'll settle down now. :D
     
  7. unichef

    unichef

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    If you dont have a vacuum marinator you should use a brine pump. Especially for something as large as a turkey.