Brining a turkey question

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Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:58 pm

so, THanksgiving is MOnday and I have a fresh turkey ready to pick up. I've never brined one but am thinking it might be a good idea to try. The issues are:

1. I don't have a pot big enough to hold the turkey entirely underwater
2. If I found a pot, it wouldn't fit in my 'fridge.

So. It's supposed to go up to 9C today, and down to -6C tonight. If I filled a big insulated cooler with brine and put it in the garage, which doesn't get either as warm or as cold as outside does, would that keep the turkey at a reasonable temperature, safe to eat?
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by section8 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:13 pm

I often use a cooler for this sort of operation. Double lined with heavy garbage bags. The temps should be fine, but if you are worried just add some ice.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:14 pm

Thanks, s8. I think I'll go for it.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by bundes » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:23 pm

Cant help, just wanted to tell you instead of turkey I'm making duck breasts!
Last edited by bundes on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Moethebartender » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:23 pm

Scrubb wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:58 pm
so, THanksgiving is MOnday and I have a fresh turkey ready to pick up.
Let me save you some stress - you've got the date wrong. You've got nearly two months to sort this out.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:25 pm

I like my turkey dinners spaced out like we do it here in the frozen north.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:26 pm

bundes wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:23 pm
Cant help, just wanted to tell you instead of turkey I'm making duck breasts!
YUMMMMMMMMMMM!!

My family would never forgive me, unfortunately.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by VinnyD » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:40 pm

Find either a brining bag or double two plastic roasting bags. You don't have to fill the whole cooler.

Are you fairly certain that it won't go below freezing inside the cooler inside the garage?

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:20 pm

Not sure at all, that's why I asked.

Maybe putting it in the basement over night, with ice added to the brine, would be safer than leaving it in the garage?
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:39 pm

Have you brined poultry before? Do you know if you like brined poultry?

I like the idea of brining a turkey but I don't think I've ever had brined poultry before so I would be reluctant to do it with a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I'm expecting pictures and a narrative on this.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:40 pm

Oh, and good luck!
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by VinnyD » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:06 pm

I fit a goose in a bag in a roasting pan in my fridge for Xmas evey year. Is it a huge turkey?

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:06 pm

Not huge, but way too big to be fully submersed in a roasting pan.

My mom used to have a tall pot (she sterilized jars in it) that might have been big enough, that I could have borrowed if we hadn't sold it when we sold everything out of their house.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by VinnyD » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:48 pm

It isn't fully submersed when I do it. It is a little more than half submersed, in the bag, in the pan, and I turn it every eight or ten hours.

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:06 pm

Why are you ignoring me, Scrubb?

Oh... so YOU are one of the 4 people who have me foe'd!
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by VinnyD » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:12 pm

Did somebody say something?

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:16 pm

And you!
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:11 am

I haven't got the turkey yet so I'll see how much of it would be submerged in my roasting pan, Vinny. If it's less than half, I'll go with the cooler.

Unprompted by anything I could read here, obvballs, I've realized that it better be good or my family will be unhappy.

Is it best to rinse the brine off the turkey before cooking? I mean more than just patting it dry and letting it sit in the fridge, which I've read is how to ensure a crispy skin; I mean actually fully rinsing it with fresh water. Yes or no?
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:28 am

If your brine has a lot of salt in it you probably need to rinse it very well.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by veronica_inheels » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:19 am

whats the point of this production? i dont think i ever tasted a brined one.

as to temps, you will be fine.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by mad hatter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:01 am

Nines to Felix: "I know a lot of really successful lawyers. My oldest son is a full partner in a prestigious law firm. I know the gig. None of them have the time nor inclination to post the never-ending drivel like you've done for decades here"

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by mad hatter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:17 am

Scrubb wrote:I haven't got the turkey yet so I'll see how much of it would be submerged in my roasting pan, Vinny. If it's less than half, I'll go with the cooler.

Unprompted by anything I could read here, obvballs, I've realized that it better be good or my family will be unhappy.

Is it best to rinse the brine off the turkey before cooking? I mean more than just patting it dry and letting it sit in the fridge, which I've read is how to ensure a crispy skin; I mean actually fully rinsing it with fresh water. Yes or no?
fyi. when i brine chicken sometimess i cut the legs off and brine them and the carcass/crown. then rinse and dry and cook.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Nines » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:49 am

I think you should just wing it.

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:32 am

Why will no one answer my rinsing question??

hatter, I saw that Martha recipe earlier and it was way fussy with ingredients I don't know where to get (juniper berries). Also, this has to be a traditional roast turkey so it needs the legs on. Oh, I see that you rinse. That's good to know.

Niner, it's when I do that, that I find myself thigh deep in brine and really stuffing things up.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:32 am

veronica, I've never been sure what it's all about but I keep reading great praise about how good it is. Thought I may as well try it.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by DianaHaddad » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:02 am

The people who I have Thanksgiving with brine the turkey and it comes out nice. It doesn't taste salty per se.

I don't know too much about their method but I know they leave it in the garage overnight. That's in Connecticut and at the end of November. It looks like Saskatoon nights are already colder than CT nights are in Nov.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:47 am

I have it inside 2 baking bags, inside a cooler, in the kitchen at the moment, and the brine is cooling outside. as soon as it's cool enough I will pour it into the bags,then stick the turkey out in the garage for the night. IT's only going down to -3 so I think the cooler should be ok.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:56 am

Ended up not making a photo essay and the turkey is now resting, naked, in the 'fridge. I dind't want to touch my camera with my turkey-hands.

It was kind of a PITA getting it out of the cooler into the garage, rinsed, and into the 'fridge. I didn't want to pour the salty water out on the lawn or garden so I had to haul it to the back lane to dump. Then I put the turkey into a roasting pan, THEN I realized the cavity was still full of brine, so back to the back lane for more dumping.

INside there was fussing around with rinsing while it's in the pan vs. just straight in the sink, then patting it really dry and also getting all the water out of the pan, etc. Then washing hands and sink very thoroughly, then rearranging top shelf of 'fridge to fit in the roaster.... but it's all good now.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by section8 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:20 pm

I have indoor plumbing now so I am able to pour the brine down a drain. Makes it a lot easier.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by mad hatter » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:14 pm

section8 wrote:I have indoor plumbing now so I am able to pour the brine down a drain. Makes it a lot easier.
that and dismembering the bird makes prep easier
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Nines » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:48 pm

Pour the turkey brine down your snowy driveway for a holiday scented deicing.

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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:51 pm

:roll: :roll:

Trying to wrestle the turkey in the bags in the cooler into the kitchen so I could pour the brine down the sink would have made a huge mess and splattered the brine all over the kitchen.

It's smelling good - almost 2 hours into cooking.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:55 pm

Next time just buy a kosher bird. They're pre brined. Empire is a good brand.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:58 pm

I only buy free-range poultry, Manch.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:59 pm

http://www.empirekosher.com

They may have a free range selection. Not really sure though.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:04 pm

Actually, they claim that all their turkeys are "humanely raised". If they are available in Canada, which is unlikely, I'd look further into that claim and consider them.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:08 pm

Yeah. I've bought them before. The frozen whole turkey and it turned out well.

It's funny though. The website has a recipe for brineing a whole turkey. It's sort of redundant when they've already salted and seasoned the bird in advance.

You do pay top dollar though.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:01 am

Well, the brined turkey was a big hit. My brother kept exclaiming about how tender it was. That said, not sure I'd bother doing it again with a fresh turkey, because the fresh turkeys have been extremely tender anyway in the past.

The juices were slightly on the salty side, I think. Maybe I should have rinsed it even better. But no one else thought it was too salty.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:19 am

Yeah. Like I said. The Empire frozen Kosher bird was plenty moist and flavorful. I learned about them from Cook's Illustrated. I think that's the only way I will "turkey" from now on. It had a very clean taste about it too.

Some people really pay for heritage birds. I've had them and found that they're hit or miss. I'm sure Empire pumps their birds full of flavor enhancers.

They may be humanely raised but who knows what they do once they're dead.

I wonder what the Koshering process actually involves with a turkey? I know it involves salt and a Rabbi. Don't they also let the blood drip out?

Martha Stewart did a show one year about turkey. She put herbs scattered in a delightful pattern between the skin and meat of the turkey.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:55 pm

I'm so disappointed you didn't provide us with pictures. So, I take it you probably wouldn't bother going through all that again?
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:34 am

Probably not, N_G, even though my brother said at least 3 times that he couldn't get over how tender and moist it was, and my mother posted on facebook that it was the most tender and juicy turkey she'd ever eaten. (*preen*)

I might try it with a chicken sometime, though. Something that isn't 18 pounds.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by northern_goddess » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:45 am

Like you, I have always found the fresh turkeys super tender. I'm glad it turned out for you though.

And yah, I would hate for it to mess up the turkey gravy. That would be the problem with deep frying a turkey. No gravy!
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:48 am

Putting bacon on the breasts also works a treat.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Stan In Maryland » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:45 pm

I have gotten where I pretty well always brine boneless skinless chicken breasts. It only take about 20 minutes and I feel it makes a big difference. I don't think you need ot for thighs.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:21 pm

The only thing that worries me about brining is the sodium. I would imagine it adds a lot to the finished dish. That's OK for the occasional holiday dinner but I'm not sure if it's a good thing to do on regular basis.

Having said that if you're otherwise healthy it might be OK. I just don't have that luxury.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:02 pm

I did think the gravy was slightly salty, but not unacceptably, and no one else seemed to notice anything. That said, I actually added quite a lot of stock to the pan to make the gravy and maybe that was where the salt came from.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:05 pm

Oh yeah, I also cooked it breast side down for the first 2 hours then turned it over. That might have also contributed to the juiciness of the breast meat. It definitely contributed to the pain-in-the-ash quotient.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by ManchVegas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:48 pm

I always use a couple of packets of McCormick's gravy mix to the pan drippings to give it more flavor.
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by Scrubb » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:55 pm

I find it very tasty without adding anything like that, but if I did have a bland one I think I'd try adding a flavorful stock or some sherry first. Or just plain salt (which is likely the main ingredient in any gravy mix).
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Re: Brining a turkey question

Post by VinnyD » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:00 pm

My brined geese and the gravy are slightly saltier than they were before I started brining, but not at a restaurant level.

I sometimes add burnt sugar (a liquid in a jar from West Indian markets) to the gravy for the color.

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