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Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

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Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby UsualSuspect » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:49 pm

Is brining a good thing to do? I bought a fresh not frozen turkey (presumably a Broad Breasted White variety) and saw a recipe in the WiSJ using apple cider and salt and water. It SOUNDED good.
I like to cook it on the Weber - low and slow. I have also used the electric oven too, of course. What are your experiences with the brining? Thank you in advance.
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby fennel » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:19 pm

I tried it once with a fancy-pants heritage (mortgage-buster) turkey. It worked really well, but I gather what's more important is cooking the bird at a high enough heat to ensure it gets done without lingering in the oven. And that means taking certain measures like cooking any dressing separately and keeping the legs tightly bound to the body.
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby msnflyer » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:05 am

Binding the legs tightly increases cooking time. Spatchcocking the bird will result in faster cooking time.

Brining is controversial. I've done it, haven't noticed much difference in the moistness of the meat. IMO the biggest factor in dry turkey is overcooking the bird. Once cooked a 23 pounder on the Weber, it was done in about 3 hours on a sub-freezing day. Drawback was no drippings for gravy.

How about a cider based basting solution? The sugar in the cider will create a nice glaze and a splash of cider in the gravy will keep the flavor profile going. Boiled cider would work great, if you can find it or have time to make your own.
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby fennel » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:44 am

msnflyer wrote:Binding the legs tightly increases cooking time. Spatchcocking the bird will result in faster cooking time.

Spatchcocking is the ideal. Binding the legs will only increase the cooking time if you keep the temperature at the lower setting required by not binding. The point is to make the bird have a more contiguous thermal mass.
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby TAsunder » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:00 pm

I think it's fairly clear that brining "works" -- in that, it increases moisture in the final product. Whether it results in tasty bird is another matter. We tend to put a lot of flavorings on our bird anyway so it works out fine, but if you just eat the brined bird plain, it might taste a bit bland due to all of the water content.

A more thorough explanation Here
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:12 pm

I'll be not only cooking my first turkey this year, but dry-brining it. Word 'round the campfire is that it results in skin that is significantly more crisp than with wet-brining, but meat that is more flavorful and more moist than with no brining at all. Just to be safe, though, I'll be replacing the rinsed-off salt under the skin with some herbed butter before the beast goes into the oven.
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Re: Turkey Brining fact or fiction?

Postby Lily » Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:29 pm

I have never done a turkey brine and all my turkey dinner's have come out tender with crispy skin. I roast my turkey in a 20 quart Rival convection oven inside an aluminum pan with lots of sweet potato, celery, and onion. This time I added some microbrew beer to the pan to keep things steaming. yum. The rest of the microbrew went to the cook and guests.
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