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Old 11-22-2005, 08:51 AM   #11
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Seen on food network the other day that not to baste the turkey. It only prolongs roasting time. Opening the oven and letting the heat out. They said that basting doesn't do anything for the turkey.I always basted mine too and it seems to keep the skin from drying out but I guess I was wrong.
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Old 11-22-2005, 09:28 AM   #12
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Basting contributes to dry turkey meat.

As delicious as crispy rich brown turkey skin is, it's not the main attraction. Unless you're posing for a Saturday Evening Post cover, aim to get the meat right and don't let the color/texture of the skin take over the process.

As others have said, dry the skin and let it air dry in and out of the fridge then coat it with butter to get that great brown skin.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:13 AM   #13
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Like the others have said -- DON'T brine it.

You really should only brine turkeys (or anything) that have not had salt/sodium added
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:25 AM   #14
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Just wondering -- My understanding of brining is to make the bird more moist/juicy - and does not add salt to the bird or give it a salty taste/flavor. Is this the purpose of brining? Does the bird taste salty? What comes to mind are recipes I've seen for prime rib, where it's covered in Kosher salt (like a snowball) to lock in the juices, and later brushed off and disgarded. TIA
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:48 AM   #15
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That salt crust is completely different from brining Mish. When brining you do introduce salt into the meat thus making is taste saltier. The salt crust that you have seen on prime rib does not do that.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:49 AM   #16
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Brining adds the flavors in the brine to the turkey. You make a brine with salt, brown sugar and other seasonings. These flavors will be added to the turkey.

The cells in the turkey swap their juices for the brine. The salt liquid that ends up in the meat tends to stay there through cooking, giving you a moister bird.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:51 AM   #17
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It does add salt to the bird. The turkey soaks in the salt/sugar solution and equilibrium draws some of the brine into the cellls of the turkey. The salt in the brine helps hold the brine in the cells and denature the proteins, which results in juicy, tender meat.

Because the cells start out without liquid that is not salty, adding the brine to that liquid results in a savory, flavorful bird which does not taste overly salty (if brining is done correctly, which is easy to do).

Here's a Cooks Illustrated Chart regarding sodium levels:

"Fresh turkey brined for 4 hours (1 cup of table salt per gallon of water): 0.22 percent sodium by weight
•Fresh turkey brined for 12 hours (1/2 cup of table salt per gallon of water): 0.21 percent sodium by weight
•Unbrined self-basting frozen turkey: 0.27 percent sodium by weight
•Brined self-basting frozen turkey: 0.34 percent sodium by weight
•Frozen kosher turkey: 0.16 percent sodium by weight

Don’t brine a self-basting turkey; it will be unpalatably salty."

You can brine poultry, pork and shrimp, but the technique of brining doesn't work on beef. Alton Brown explained this once, but I have forgotten why.

The salt crust on the meat is made with Kosher salt, which is not supposed to dissolve on the surface of the meat (or it would make it salty) but form a crust to keep in the steam from cooking.
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:19 PM   #18
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Thanks guys.

I prefer fresh herbs (rosemary etc.), garlic and butter and maybe some lemon juice rather than salt. When I see a liquid solution is added, I don't buy it, or I dump it out and rinse it off. I think brining, deep frying etc. is a trend, and much prefer the old-fashioned way - bake it, baste it & keep it moist. Another fave method is stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, lemon and or oranges, onions, and place some herbs under the skin and sprinkle herbs over the top.

A trick? I heard is to pour ginger ale over the bird for a crispy skin.
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Old 11-22-2005, 01:39 PM   #19
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Mish,

The deep frying thing is a regional method that has been used for a long time but now may be a trend nationwide. Brining IMO isn't a trend. People have been doing it for a long, long time because it works so well. It does not make the meat taste salty. It makes it taste savory and turkey-tasting.

After the turkey hoopla is over, try buying a whole chicken when they are on sale, brining it and making it for a Sunday dinner! I bet you'll like the results.

And basting doesn't do much to make the turkey moist. It's more for browning the skin. Remember that turkey skin, like ours, is rather impermeable, so squirting liquid on the outside of the bird won't really penatrate the meat. I baste to make the skin get nice and brown but there is a school of thought that says that opening the oven door negatively affects the cooking process and makes the bird dryer.

"Should you baste your turkey?
Alton Brown: Basting is evil. Anything that requires you opening that oven door is evil. Basting is cosmetic. It does nothing for the meat; it does nothing for the flavor. It is--repeat after me--evil. Go enjoy a lovely beverage and let the turkey cook."


I do what you do and stuff the cavity with onions, apples, celery and bread soaked in white wine.

I have heard about the soda pop trick, too (actually, I heard a coca cola trick). I think it might be the sugar that carmelizes onthe skin.
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