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Old 11-25-2013, 04:58 PM   #1
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My First Fresh Turkey

I have always bought frozen turkeys and today I picked up a fresh Butterball turkey.
I don't think it has any salt solution? It says 5% water. Not sure, but will double check.

Must I brine this?
If yes, I have a large cooler I can use, but not sure about a brine recipe?
The weather will be cool, not cold.
I could fill bags with ice and submerge them into the brine.

Thanks for any advice.........John

I am certain this question has been asked many times over. I tried to search just the brine with mixed results.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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The are many brine recipes online. I use the Alton Brown/Good Eats Thanksgiving turkey recipe. The key is to get the right concentration of salt and sugar in the liquid. The rest is optional.

The brine has to be cold when you put the turkey in it. If the temps will be less than 40F overnight, you should be OK. Even if the temps are higher, iced brine in a cooler should easily remain cold in a cool environment for a half day.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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Thanks Andy.

I also have a stainless steel injector, that I never use. Should I inject some of the brining liquid?

How much of a difference does brining actually make. I do have a lot to do and if its not that important, I may skip it and just season the bird well?

Oh.......If I do brine, can I still sprinkle kosher salt (I have a seasoning mix I make) on the turkey. I like to crisp the skin and the salt and other dry seasonings helps with flavor and crispness.

Update. Its going to be plenty cold. 41 for the high and 21 for the low.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:25 PM   #4
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Brining makes a significant difference. It ensures moist breast meat, even if you overcook it a bit. It's also a means of introducing flavors to the bird. There is no need to inject the brine. It will make the bird too salty. You don't have to brine.

If you choose to brine, prior to roasting, take the bird out of the brine and rinse it thoroughly in fresh water to get rid of extra saltiness. Then dry off the bird inside and out and let it sit uncovered so the skin dries out a bit. Rub oil on the skin before roasting. Do not add salt. It's salt overkill if you brine.

If you follow the recipe I referenced, you'll be fine.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:40 PM   #5
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I'm glad you asked this, John. I just picked my way through most of a thread and never did see an actual brine recipe or link to one. It would be nice to have that information available right here.
I'll be following along on your first fresh turkey. I did see Katie H say she uses one of those sports drink coolers and that seemed like a fantastic idea. Narrow, tall and a spigot on the bottom.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I'm glad you asked this, John. I just picked my way through most of a thread and never did see an actual brine recipe or link to one. It would be nice to have that information available right here.
I'll be following along on your first fresh turkey. I did see Katie H say she uses one of those sports drink coolers and that seemed like a fantastic idea. Narrow, tall and a spigot on the bottom.

Since you asked...

Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe : Alton Brown : Recipes : Food Network
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Thanks for the link, Andy. I didn't even want to look in case he had several brine recipes.
So that's the AB brine everyone says they use? Including the one gallon of vegetable stock? Holy Moly.
Do you make your own vegetable stock for this or buy it since it's only a brine?
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:28 PM   #8
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I love Alton's brine recipe and technique, but the only part I use is the brining section. And, pac, I use commercially-made vegetable stock. As far as I am concerned, I save the good homemade stuff for consumption.

When I cook my turkey I make a basting mixture of lots of melted unsalted butter and white wine. In that basting liquid I submerge and soak enough white cheesecloth to cover the turkey.

I drape the turkey with the soaked cheesecloth and baste with the wine-butter liquid as the bird cooks. I've discovered that this keeps the basting liquid on the bird longer.

Once it's done and I gently peel off the cheese cloth, I put said cheesecloth into my giblet broth that I use to make gravy. What this does is to extract lots and lots of good flavor from cooking the turkey. I agitate the cheesecloth with tongs until it looks like there's little left to remove and then gently squeeze it out.

Just my way of doing our turkey.

Roll_Bones, you reminded me of a great memory. When I lived in the Washington, DC area, there was a turkey farm, Maple Lawn Farms, that had the most wonderful fresh turkeys and I'm happy to see they're still around.

I'd just call them a few weeks before the day I needed my turkey, request the dressed size I wanted, and arrange to pick it up 24 hours ahead of my meal.

They were the best turkeys. The last one we got from them was a beast of 32 pounds. It was sooooooo good! I miss doing that.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:30 PM   #9
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Alton's "recipe" is just a blueprint.

The only thing not to monkey with is the salt: water ratio. Everything else is about your taste

You can use water instead of vegetable stock. I do. I also use soy sauce to replace a little of the salt.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:33 PM   #10
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Thanks, Katie.
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