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Old 10-07-2006, 03:13 PM   #1
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Anyone with experience brining a turkey?

I've recently heard a lot of people talking about brining as a preparation for turkeys.

Does anyone have a brine recipe or method for doing this?

Thanks!

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Old 10-07-2006, 03:17 PM   #2
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I use Alton Brown's Thanksgiving turkey brine recipe.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:34 PM   #3
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I highly recommend brining your turkey. We've been doing that for quite a few years and have always wound up with a tender, moist bird. I use the instructions on page 11 of the November/December issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine.

But, first, do not attempt to brine a kosher or self-basting turkey because they already contain a fair amount of sodium.

The amount of salt used in the brine doesn't change no matter what size turkey you will be brining. Cook's uses regular table salt, so you won't have to purchase any special salt for this brine. For a turkey that is 12-22 pounds, two gallons of water should be adequate. If you have a larger turkey, you might need three gallons.

For an overnight brine, not to exceed 14 hours, add 1/2 cup table salt per gallon of water. Combine the salt and water and dissolve as much as possible in a very large stockpot or clean bucket. Lower the turkey into the water and, if you have to, place a weight such as a plastic milk bottle filled with water to weight the turkey down so it is fully submerged. Refrigerate the turkey for the brining time.

When the brining time is up, remove the turkey and rinse it under cool running water. Pat it dry and prepare as your recipe directs.

In my house, I don't have room in my refrigerator to brine my turkey but, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around here, it's cold enough outside to use the garage as a refrigerator. I just make sure the garage door is closed so no outside critters can help themselves to my brining turkey.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:41 PM   #4
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I'm a brining convert for turkey. My recipe is 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup coarse salt per liter of water. That would be a 1/2 cup of each per gallon I think.

I'm like Katie, no room in my fridge, but as we are below zero here most nights now the turkey goes outside in the stockpot and does just fine right next to the house where its a bit warmer.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:45 PM   #5
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You can also put the turkey in a large garbage bag, then fill it with the brine, twist ty it closed, then put it in a cooler that is a little bigger then the turkey. I found a 7/11 picnic cooler that works fine, then you put ice in the cooleer to keep the turkey cool.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:51 PM   #6
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[quote=Elf]You can also put the turkey in a large garbage bag, then fill it with the brine, twist ty it closed.

Thank you, Elf, you just reminded me of what I did last year. I used a Ziploc Big Bag for the brine and turkey. This worked exceptionally well because I could expell nearly all of the air from the bag and then ziploc it closed. The bag is wonderful, too, because it's really, really heavy plastic. I'm going to use the Big Bag again this year.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix
I'm a brining convert for turkey. My recipe is 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup coarse salt per liter of water. That would be a 1/2 cup of each per gallon I think...
A liter is an ounce or two more than a quart and there are four quarts to a gallon. That would work out to about a cup of each per gallon.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:55 PM   #8
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Thanks Andy. Not all that familiar with quarts and gallons. And I should amend my recipe, its a 1/4 cup of each to 2 liters of water. Oops.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:57 PM   #9
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My favorite brine is the most simple of brines. Just water and salt. I do not measure though. I just make it to taste. It should be pleasantly salty. When you taste the brine you should not feel like you need to spit it out. Maybe kind of about as salty as the sea.
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Old 10-07-2006, 03:58 PM   #10
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I do not care for brined poultry and never have a problem with a very lovely moist bird on the table.
But I believe there are some inconsistencies in the directions in a couple of the posts above. Everyone check my math. ;o)
I believe that the usual ratio of salt to water/liquid is 1C/gallon. I do think it makes a difference what kind of salt you use and you should follow the directions from whatever printed source you choose.
Kosher salt measures differently from "regular table salt".
1/4 C each salt and sugar / liter would be closer to 1C of each / gallon, not 1/2C, if I am correct that a liter is pretty close to a quart.
There is also often a warning not to use ordinary trash bags as they may not be food grade and could leach stuff into the brine. You may be able to go to a deli and get a food grade plastic bucket that they get various things delivered in.
Rinsing is VERY important.
I think kosher and butterball style turkeys are basically already "brined" which is the reason not to do it to them.
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