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Old 10-27-2004, 01:24 AM   #1
 
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Conclusions on Audeo/Otter Brining Efforts

I re-read the lines tonight, and wanted to give a few thoughts, as I've had some good luck with brining and no reason not to share stuff that works (or stuff that doesn't!)

And, please, nobody take offense at my comments, I'm still "experimenting", and wish to retain the "right to be wrong" on occaision!

Okay!

The turkeys in this thread were pretty small, at 11-12 lbs, which means a whole lot less meat and a real bunch of bone, which has (probably) little effect on what brining the bird can do for you...

Bring those bird weights up to 14-16 lbs, and the skeleton changes only slightly, but the meat soars in proportion, and the salt stays inside and the juice goes up, and the spillings/drippings are less salty...

The period of brining was short, in my own opinion...I'll brine the Christmas turkey about 20 hours, and have had good success in so doing...

I practise the concept of "flipping the bird", which means starting it breast side down, so the dark meat is cooked out first, and back upright only to brown the breastmeat, and get internal tempy's back in order, not sure this affects any brining issue, but it sure seems to have an effect on cooking timings and temps...the temperature being a constant 325...

I have found my successes, such as they are, coming from starting my "brine" off in a large pot, and "boiling" my brine components, which include about the same amount of salt as the two used, but including brown sugar or maple sugar in at least like amounts, if not more (note that the expensive hams are both "brined" and "sweetened"!)

I have no qualms about adding garlic in some quantity, using either chopped or minced without fear or favour, as its just flavour, and going to get sweet...; I add rice vinegar, the seasoned/sweetened kind, probably a cup of so...and the full range of herbs...rosemary, marjoram, parsley, etc..., and mix/dissolve all, this stuff with about a gallon (Cdn!) of water, heated up and mixed about...for those not affected with heart issues, soya sauce is a good add-in!...and stew it around so the flavours get mixed up...add a tray or so of ice cubes to immediately cool it, and "shock it" down...dump in a plastic bag, add your washed turkey/chicken or goose/duck and hang in my garage for a day, where its beer-chilling temperature

A good point made under the previous Listing, I'm not sure its important if you wash out the carcass, but I do it (not that this makes it right) and get less saltiness, even given the mass of the meat is increased, so it may be a trade-off in between there...

I stuff my birds, which may have an effect on the outcome, from Audeo's and Otter's posts, this wasn't plain and might give some drying..likewise, I cook to only 10 degrees below the recommended, and tent it up to get the last 10 degrees, , and this may contribute to the results...as might be that I expect we are around 1600 feet above mean sea level here, so cooking temp's and time might have to be adjusted on that note, too, cooking in NYC, Denver, Death Valley (would the Dommer Party have tasted differently? LOL!) this might need to be juggled again..

Anyways, as other of you give this method a shot, please post back your comments on the results...noting all of them have been positive!

If you don't like stuffing, then this method can be seriously reinforced by "beercanning" another topic, but will wait for responses, as its best done both methods together...

Lifter

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Old 10-27-2004, 10:39 AM   #2
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I sincerely appreciate your comments, Lifter. This was my first attempt and is a technique that I am completely devoted to for the future. For Thanksgiving, I will be brining and roasting a much larger bird (16-18 lbs) and for a much longer period of time, and I'm darned sure going to watch the cooking temperature much closer!

What my challenge will likely be is to find a bird that hasn't already been injected with saline.

Thank you for bringing this topic back up so that I, too, can read the responses from others to come.
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Old 10-28-2004, 11:42 PM   #3
 
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A couple thoughts for you, Audeo, on "improving" the brined bird experience...

What we are (probably!) trying to do here, is generally enhance the flavour of the meat, using a method by which we can keep the meat as moist as possible... right?

Therefor, if you can stand for the dressing to be made separately (ie not stuffed in the bird), it leaves the "cooking method" open to change...

And that means "beercanning" or the "dancing chicken" method is viable... (trust me, here, I've tried this out and it does work!)...

This method has no doubt been discussed on this Board elsewhere (its late and I'm too lazy to look!) but briefly, what you do is take a can that will fit just short of "snugly" into the birds body cavity, after the can has been filled between half and three quarters with a liquid mix...

For "liquid mix", I've used a wide variety...beer, dark beer (better!), wine (good), cranberry juice (sort of neat!), chicken stock, with soya sauce, garlic and herbs; onion soup with garlic and herbs...the list goes on, as there's no end of imagination or fun you can have...

The bird appears to be "sitting" on the can (I've used my big kebab skewers to prop the bird in place, if I was in doubt), and I usually twist the wing tips behind the neck (so the bird appears to be "dancing", ala a "cancan", if you like puns!)...

Note that you will have to do this on the very bottom rack of your oven, if you do it this way, as you need a fair bit of "overhead" to make it fit...

As you have the bird more or less entirely exposed to the heat, with no part, aside from the ends of the drumsticks, and the can its "sitting" on are in contact with the broiler pan, the entirity of the skin is exposed, so here's the chance to give it a good rubbing, according to your personal tastes (you'll want to "rinse" if not "wash" or indeed "flush" the bird to pull off the unwanted salts remaining from the brining in order to get the flavours you're after) to get the full benefit of this method...

Alternatively, since the rubs usually "burn" to one extent or another, especially if the bird is big and cooking goes on "too long" you could try spicing it late in the cooking process, or "crispy skinning" the bird by raising the temp lae in the cooking...your choice for your own taste...

The gravy/dripping output in this (oven) method is in no way reduced, BTW, you'll have lots...

The meat is EXCEPTIONALLY juicy...the breast meat, especially, literally drizzles juices, even after the bird is cooled...and your plans should include the capture of these juices for your gravy mix...(okay, I'm a Canadian, we carve our turkeys BEFORE they get to the table!)

Giving this yet another quirky turn, since you are in Texas, its likely still warm enough to use the BBQ to do this...since my experience is with a propane gas BBQ, what you do is remove the grill grates and place the broiling pan down on or near the fire bricks (in order to get the necessary overhead clearance), because plainly this is done with the cover closed...

Since this will tend to evaporate all your drippings, its best to place a couple pints of water, beer (again, let the imagination run amok!) in the broiling pan, and monitoring this quantity, so you neither have "sludge" left in it, nor "soup") likewise this adds to the steam inside and keeps the meat moist...gravy can be "contrived" from this, with a little imagination...

If you like, you can also use wood chips (hickory will give it a ham like texture, alder and cherry also work neat!) to add some smoke to the taste, flavour and texture...

I note your query about "finding a turkey that is not injected with salts already", and wonder if you have no "Farmers Markets" down there...or if your frozen turkeys are so treated? A frozen turkey, partially defrosted, can have the giblets removed and act as its own "refridgerator" for several hours of brining in the plastic bag...

Anyways, a few ideas I thought you might appreciate running through, or any others that might be following our several threads...and hopefully, you guys have as much fun and enjoyment as our family has had!

Lifter
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:19 AM   #4
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Lifter, lifter! You make me smile!!! What you are describing, with your usual accuracy and flair, is what we Village Wives refer to as...

Chicken Tampon!

(Girls will be girls, you know...)

I described our little rivalry with our husbands, the pig roasters, in a separate thread probably long buried now. And I could not possibly agree with you more about the success born from cooking poultry over a spice-imbued beer! Sincerely wonderful flavor!

I really appreciate your continued thoughts and tutelage!!!

PS: I have found a source of untreated turkeys at the local Whole Foods market, and have placed a 16-pound bird on order. They tell me these turkeys are free-range, so I remain (finally) hopefull!!!!
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audeo

Chicken Tampon!
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o
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Old 10-30-2004, 01:38 AM   #6
 
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Sigh!

Another start to a "female string"...of postings!

And I thought I was such a "big roaster" (watch your typing, or beware of an Elven attack!) ...

Anyways, beer is probably the poorest result you can get in this method...I would far rather recommend the cranberry, the onion garlic soup, whatever, but combining it with brining will knock your socks off!

Geez, if you ever show up here, I dunno what I'll be able to cook for you and your family...maybe we'll just follow Margaraet to the General Hospital and have their "heart healthy" meals...as opposed when she was doing "evening standby's" from 1500 Sunday until 0700 Monday, and I would cook up a dinner for her and the "staff", and Quartermaster Sgt to the end, drive it up there with plates and eating irons (aka "gut wrenches")and serve to all...

Since her stroke, this spring, she's only recently been available to work, up to five hours a "shift", three days a week, now, but six months of zero employment, and only three on Unemployment "Benefits" have taught us a lesson on how the "other side" lives...the "good part" is that the employer is re-employing, and re-phasing, gradually...and, obviously, that on the Cdn Thanksgiving Day, I was giving my prayers about how thankful I was that we still had her here with us...

Anyways, enough about me, or "that"!

Get a free range turkey...or a number of free range chickens! and do it up right for your Thanksgiving!

Lifter
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:44 PM   #7
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Lifter and Audeo, two class acts with a good bit of cooking wisdom. Keeps me humble. I know much about cooking, but am learning every time I log on. Thanks for the info.

One note here though. I have brined and roasted turkeys, and brined and barbecued turkeys. I have also cooked the birds with both methods unbrined. I find that as long as I carefully watch the meat temps, the birds come out very juicy (my grilled, barbecued, and oven-fried pultry will squirt you when yu bite it, and I'm not exagerating). What brining does for me is give me tastier meat. The salt penetrates through, as do the other flavorings added. Recently, I bought a turkey injector, injected a freshly made chicken broth into a roasting chicken and let it sit for several hours in the refrigerator. I got about the same results as with brining.

I think we need to try every method we can, and choose which one we like best. I love cooking a turkey on my Weber Covered Kettle Barbecue. The bird comes out amazing when I use two banks of charcoal, some birch and maple sticks, and a drip pan. The skin is so gorguos and flavorful, and the meat picks up that smoky flavor. I took one to a pot luck at work. So many people wanted the recipe. It wasn't a recipe at all. It was all technique. The only person who didn't rave about it was my pin-head boss, who for some reason thinks he has to burst any balloon I might ever have. You just couldnt' believe the guy. But then, that's a story not worth telling.

In any case, Lifter and Audeo, I bow to both of you, and your passion for doing it right.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:20 AM   #8
 
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I can only agree completely, Goodweed, "its the technique rather than the recipe"

I can't say I've ever tried "injecting" my birds with anything, but would reiterate the concept of brining and "beercanning" (oh my Lord, "Tamponing" indeed!) makes the flavour best..

You have a unique thing there with the birch and maple thing, that obviously neither Audeo or I can copy...the "birch" side of it really surprises me, as the maple does not...but maple is a really great smoking agent (witness the results with ham!) (lets hear your results with doubled banks of maple, before it gets too cold to BBQ, I believe doubled birch would simply ruin a bird, and thats no fun!)

When you've time for it, you are in fact touching on my point of smoking with either hickory or alder; (done it with mesquite, too, but more pleased with the others) its so much fun when others actually copy you!

Its many, many, years since I last used charcoal on a BBQ (and I can remember being violently prejudiced towards charcoal!) but the gas BBQ is just so handy when you learn a few "tricks" with it...

Learn to "rise above" the "boss" issue...I'm sure we have all worked for "micro-managers" like that, before, and having done so, can get my "Cheshire-Cat" grin going, where I look at him and say "can you do it better? And if so how? And 'Produce'!"

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Old 10-31-2004, 01:25 AM   #9
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Lifter; I have smoked turkeys before using only maple and they come out wtih a subtle, but pronounced tang, suprisingly more similar to hickory than mesquite. But there is less of the sour componant than with hickory. The first time I tried it, I believed it would give me a maple flavor, aka syrup. It didn't at all. But it is still very good.

I haven't tried the alder yet. In these parts, we have this scrub tree that isn't much good for anything, called Tag Alder. It grows as several slender trunks from a single root system. It is hard and very difficult to cut with an axe. The axe is ineffective as the trunks are slender and elastic enough to move when you hit them, nullifying the axe's force. But I have been told by many that it is definitely the wood of choice for smoking and has a sweet quality to it. I'm looking forward to collecting some and giving it a try.

And what do you mean "to cold for barbecuing"? I keep a path shoveled through three to four feet of snow to my barbecue. I've been known to throw a steak on the grill during a snow-storm, even once during blizzard conditions. I just shovel enough snow on the windward side to create a wind block. I'm a stubborn guy and don't let much stand in my way.

Why there was this time when a twenty foot cyclops told me I couldn't light my Webber as the smoke made his eye water terribly. I waited until he slept, then poked out his eye. To appease this gargantuan guy, I gave him a perfectly cooked corn-fed beef half (minus the skin of course) cooked to a medium rare over a bed of matches (he'd knocked my grill about thirty miles down the road with a single swipe of his hand after I'd destroyed his eye ya know). After that, we were best freinds.

Of course, you probably think I belong to a liar's club or something. But I tell ya, all but the last story is fact, and that last one, well ya gotta have a bit of imaginative fun sometimes :D .

You should read my completed SF and Fantasy novels (not published, but proofed and finished). They were very satisfying to write and are good tales. Alas, though the stories are very good (as told to me by several prospective agents) the characters are a bit two-dimensional. I tend to write plot-driven, rather than character driven stories, though I like the latter better. Anyways, it's bed time. And I have to go through my morning routine tomorrow and clean up, look in the mirror, and wonder, why it is that I get better looking every day, while the rest of the world just gets a day older? Heh, heh, heh.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:54 AM   #10
 
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Goodweed, you should skp across the border and see if Canadian Tire hasn't thrown away all their BBQ supplies, as they stock "alder" chips....

Alternatively, contact a Chippewyan tribe, who likely "invented" the method and are in your area, and learn from the masters!

Yeah, the maple does come out a bit "sour", requiring the "sweet" brine, including the maple syrup, or maybe we just "miss" the time of year to try the technique?

"Too cold for barbecuing" is a sign of aging in myself...and that there are normally only two of us now to eat the results...and so the extra effort isn't worth it...when I have any sort of "crowd" (note when the "Court" has a family night, they usually ask me first to come and BBQ for the crowd!) its better, but doodling up all the finer points for a couple chicken breasts or a pair of pork chops is "much ado about nothing"

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