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Old 11-23-2004, 01:35 PM   #1
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Turkey Questions

ahhh...the quest for the best turkey ever....

okay, here goes.

i'm going to brine my turkey, i bought cans of chicken broth, garlic added and kosher salt to make my brine. i have now seen recipes with brown sugar as well....should i add brown sugar? or will it clash with the chicken broth and garlic? should i just skip the broth and do water/salt and sugar?

next, supposing i get this brining thing worked out, we get to the cooking. my wife likes to use the oven bags, but this year i thought about trying this thing i heard where you smear mayonnaise all over the bird and you get a nice seared crispy juicy turkey...so, if i do the mayo, should i nix the oven bags?

next, supposing i get this brining and mayonnaise thing all worked out, should i cook breast up or down? use a rack or not?

finally...we got a convection oven this year....should i convect?

whew! that's all....

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Old 11-23-2004, 01:50 PM   #2
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Bienvenu, drdrrew. You sure made your debut with a splash! I hope some others come to my rescue, but here's my 5 cents:

First off, can't help with convection oven questions. Don't have one.

I can't see how brown sugar is gonna hurt your other brining ingredients. It's only to brine in anyway.

Mayo to make skin crispy? I would think it will result in just the opposite. May depend on the temp at which you roast your bird. Intriguing idea that I never heard of before.

Yes, breast side down, at least for about half the cooking time, then flip it carefully (see Otter's or Lifter's posts about this).

I would rack the bird to keep its butt from getting too mushy.

Finally, there is a mother lode of info on brining, flipping, lube jobs, etc. on this very thread, so keep reading!
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Old 11-23-2004, 01:59 PM   #3
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1. Sugar in brine. YES! Sugar (or eqiv, like juice or molasses, etc.) is always a good addition to brine. Sugar compliements salt by bringing out the savory taste. It does not make the meat sweet. Most brine "recipes" call for both salt and sugar. There are a bunch of other posts on this but I can't remember anyone ever saying that sugar in brine was not better than salt alone. IMO, Broth is better than water but not a whole lot, so that call is up to you.

2. Mayo? Never heard of it, sorry. You will not want or need to use a bag if you brine, and if you brine, then AIR DRY the bird, the skin usually gets very crispy on its own. You dont want seared skin, you want it to be brown and crisp. A dry turkey with proper roasting usually gets there on its own.

3. I usually use Alton Brown's method for brining and cooking. When I don't, I usually start the bird upside down, but if you brine, the breast will be juicy without this technique. I usually also turn the pan onece during cooking because the back of your oven is hotter than the front.

4. Convection. I dont have one, but if I did I would definitely use it. make sure to make adjustments in cooking time accordingly, though.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:02 PM   #4
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Ooops, forgot about the bag question. Jennyema is right! Follow her tip #2 on the air drying as well.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:03 PM   #5
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air dry?
i need an explanation please...thanks for the fast replies!

so sugar is okay even if i'm using the chicken broth with garlic as a brining solution? (i will add salt too.)
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:08 PM   #6
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Air dry.

Brine first (use sugar :D ). You will need to brine for some hours, depending on how large your turkey is. make sure the turkey is kept at 40 or below. blue ice packs in ziplocks can be added needed -- they dont dilute the brine.

Remove the turkey from brine. SOme people rinse, but I guess that depends on what's in your brine... but dry the bird thoroughly with paper towels and then put on a rack and let air dry for at least an hour, and preferably several. I have seen some rec's for air-drying overnight, but that is IMO overkill and undoes some of the good work of the brine. Also, bringing the turkey closer to room temp helps it cook faster and more evenly. Just make sure that you do not leave the bird at a temp of over 40 for more than an hour or so.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:10 PM   #7
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I dont have a rack but if I did I'd use it.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:12 PM   #8
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If you buy a frozen turkey, most already come with a solution(brine)
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:15 PM   #9
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I have a turkey question too. I've heard its best to rub salt all over the turkey 24 hrs before cooking time. Is that a good idea? If so, do you then rinse the turkey to remove the salt? Does it make the turkey taste salty? Would you use table or kosher salt?
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:18 PM   #10
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Amber, salting a turkey without any liquid would tend to draw moisture OUT of your bird, which you don't want. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Rainee?
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