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Old 10-01-2004, 05:18 PM   #1
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"Weekend at Brining" (With Otter & Audeo)

Over this weekend, Otter and I are trying our hands at brining turkeys and this thread is to document those efforts and comments along the way. We are collaborating in our efforts to try and discern the effects our different tactics produce and to compare notes at the end of our trials. It should be interesting (at least to us).

In each of our chosen methods, there are commonalities and differences. Here are the statistics and plans as we begin:

The Turkeys

Otter’s is 11.25 pounds.
Audeo’s is 11.08 pounds.

The Brines

Otter is following the Cook’s Illustrated brine recommendation of 1 Cup table salt dissolved into 1 US Gallon of water. No other ingredients will be included.

Audeo is making a brine of 1 US Gallon water with ¾ Cup Kosher salt, ¾ Cup Maple Syrup (Grade B, Amber), 1 large onion (chopped), 3 cloves garlic (minced), ¼ Cup ground black peppercorns, 3 sprigs thyme and 3 sprigs rosemary.

The Soaking/Drying Times

Otter will be soaking his turkey in brine for 12 hours, then air-drying for 8 hours prior to roasting.

Audeo will be soaking her turkey in brine for 4 hours, with no air-drying time before roasting. (Only drying, following rinsing, with paper towels)

The Cooking Methods

Otter will roast his turkey, on a mirepoix bed, in a 400-degree (F) oven for 45 minutes with breast side down , then for 50-60 minutes, breast side up. Temperature targets are 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.

Audeo will also roast her turkey, on a mirepoix bed, but the breast side is staying up throughout the roasting. Cooking will be at the identical temperature, with identical targets in finishing temperatures.

------

As of this moment, Otter is already underway. Completion for both of us is slated for tomorrow (Saturday) evening's meal.

(Otter, did I record your side of this correctly?)

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Old 10-01-2004, 05:22 PM   #2
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Stay tuned for exciting ringside action, folks. This is gonna be down to the wire!!!
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Old 10-01-2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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Audeo and I have been bouncing things back and forth so often that it has become a bit confusing. On my 12 hour brining, Cook's Illustrated recommends 1/2 cup table salt per gallon, not 1 (1 is for the short 4 hour brining). Everything else she posted sounds on target. With all those interesting adds she's making, I may go to her house for dinner! I think we should do something like this every weekend, maybe pancakes, omelets, mac n' cheese or whatever.
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Old 10-01-2004, 08:10 PM   #4
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I am available to do color commentary
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Old 10-01-2004, 09:09 PM   #5
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Hey, come on down! Bring your turkey and an air mattress!

And, bug, any commentary from you would is colorful.... Just one of many things we require and expect from you nowadays!

PS: Sorry about the oops there, otter..... (I can't believe anyone [other than me] hasn't asked about the mirepoix!)
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Old 10-01-2004, 09:39 PM   #6
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I'm asking! What the heck is it?
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Old 10-01-2004, 09:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audeo
Hey, come on down! Bring your turkey and an air mattress!

And, bug, any commentary from you would is colorful.... Just one of many things we require and expect from you nowadays!

PS: Sorry about the oops there, otter..... (I can't believe anyone [other than me] hasn't asked about the mirepoix!)
I know what it is (neener, neener), but I'm not tellin....
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:05 PM   #8
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Oh REEEEEAL nice mudbug! And who was it that helped you with all your brining stuff?? Pleeeeease tell me!

PS...how did the training day go...how was the instrument of torture?
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Old 10-02-2004, 08:35 AM   #9
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What a great topic! I am on pins and needles waiting to hear the results!!!
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Old 10-02-2004, 11:53 AM   #10
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Update so far:
I don't have a stock pot big enough to brine a turkey, so I went shopping for a container that would work. The ones that were wide enough were too shallow. The ones that were deep enough were too narrow. The ones that were both deep enough and wide enough wouldn't fit in the refrigerator. Finally I found one that was workable. Cook's Illustrated said two gallons of water would do for a turkey my size, so I mixed up a two gallon brine and poured it over the bird. The top of the breast was still protruding out of the water so I added some more brine, but the breast was still out of the water. What I found was that the front flap of skin stuck to the front of the bird and created an air pocket in the body cavity that would have kept the bird floating no matter how much more brine I added. Anyway, I brined it overnight. This morning I poured off the brine, patted it dry and put it in the refer to air dry for 8 hours. Unfortunately, the only drying rack big enough for the turkey was too big to fit in one of my shallow baking pans, The turkey seemed dry enough so I put it in the refer on the rack on a flat sheet. Apparently there was some retained moisture that released later , because the bottom of the refer soon had a layer of brine on it. Fortunately, it ran down the back and not into the fruit/vegetable bins, but I did have to do a meticulous refer clean-up, regardless. Well, it's been quite an experience so far - I hope the final result is worth it.
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