Brining a Turkey

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by gobug, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    I heard a reporter on NPR say that once he tried a turkey that had been brined he would never cook one by any other method. It took me a while to find a recipe, and I have a lot of cookbooks. Not one of them had what I wanted. Some time ago I bought a $10 cd with 1 million recipes! It has a search function (crude) and when I put turkey in the ingredients, and brine in the directions, I got 6 recipes.

    I put the turkey in a 5 gallon plastic bucket, covered it with water and removed the turkey. It measured out at 2 gallons of water. I added 2 cups of pickling salt, 1 cup of brown sugar and about 2 oz of liquid smoke. I put the turkey back in and soaked it for 20 hours (the recipes all said 24, but I was late getting it started). Then I used paper towels to dry the bird and vegetable oil to rub it down. I started the oven at 350 and cooked it 1 hour to get it brown. Then I reduced the temperature to 225 and cooked it another 8 hours.

    Every part of the turkey was tender and juicy -- not salty at all.

    Has anyone else done this? Are your recipes similar?

    Gary
     
  2. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    I forgot to mention that most of the recipes specified Morton's Quick Cure salt. I found it online, but the groceries around here had no clue. So I just used pickling salt.
     

  3. Mrs_stuart

    Mrs_stuart Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Location:
    MISSOURI
    I brine all of our turkeys...I just use plan canning salt or kosher salt. I do not add anything else that you mentioned...but i do the same thing, i put it in a 5 or 6 gallon bucket of salt water for about 24 hours...if i dont have frig room, i use ice to keep it cool...They are the best turkeys i have ever had and I will alway brine my turkeys from now on...we love it.

    Belinda
     
  4. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

    Messages:
    16,275
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    I brine mine too, with only Kosher salt. I also roast them for 3/4 of the roasting time upside-down, which keeps the breast from drying out. It works beautifully. Once I tried it, i never went back. Here's a great resource from Cook's Illustrated (Americas Test Kitchen):
    http://www.turkeyhelp.com/help.htm
    Incidentally, if you try brining pork chops with the kosher salt/brown sugar brine (adjust quantity of course) for an hour before cooking, you will never believe how good and "unleather-like" a pork chop can be. My kids hated pork chops till I started brining them. Now they beg for pork chops.
     
  5. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    I use a brine of 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and some optional peppercorns (1 tbs) and/or 1 tbs allspice berries for 2 gallons of water. I have a large water cooler that we use for brining the birds and if you mix one gallon of the water with the above ingredients then cool.....once cool add a small bag of ice (7 lb is common and almost a gallon) before adding the turkey. Another method is to use some 1/2 gallon milk jugs with water frozen to cool the brine.

    For chops try adding a few peppercorns and dry mustard to the brine.......makes for excellent chops!!
     
  6. backachersfarm

    backachersfarm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    338
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    Tn
    I have seen a lot about this brining thing lately. I get Cooks Ils. too. They talked more about pork in there. Alton Brown, who is on the food channel did a show on turkeys recently. I just get the biggest kick out of that guy. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet. I have that 1,000,000 recipe CD It has been wonderful So far I haven't looked up anything it hasn't given me some info on.

    Sharon
     
  7. legacy

    legacy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    If Morton's Quick Cure is a meat tenderizer with nitrates, I can't recommend it. I did a turkey using your exact recipe minus the brown sugar and with a morton's meat tenderizer product (as called for by the recipe I had.) It turned out to be too tender for me. The meat virtually fell off the bones, and while the taste was good, it made me fell funny after I ate it. Hard to explain, but I felt kind of nervous and agitated--not what I'm used to after eating turkey (which I love.)

    It was years ago when I tried this, so I can't remember the name of the morton's product. Next time I'll use plain kosher salt or follow your pickling salt idea.

    I mention this because "Quick Cure" sounds like a meat tenderizer.
     
  8. legacy

    legacy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Please provide more detail on how you brine those chops and how you cook them (i.e., bake, fry broil?) I love pork chops.
     
  9. woolyfluff

    woolyfluff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    186
    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    I assume that these are turkeys that you buy in the store NOT home raised
     
  10. TxCloverAngel

    TxCloverAngel Happiness is Homemade

    Messages:
    3,512
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Kenefick Texas
    I also have a cooler that I use for brining my birds... I dont follow a recipe per say... Just some Kisher salt.. a little brown sugar, pepper corns and ice water...
    Turns out Perfect every time!!

    also the ONLY way I'll prepare chicken before frying.... yummmm havent tried chops yet...... sounds great!

    Darn New Years Diet.... no fried chicken! lol
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Yep,we brine turkey too,and its the moistest birds weve ever had.We use kosher or sea salt.
    Also have that CD,and got it for my sisters and nieces one year.Hope they like it too.

    BooBoo
     
  12. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,018
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    i tried this for the first time, using kosher salt.
    but, just in case it helps, my instructions said to put turkey and brine in a large cooking bag, squeezing out all the air--then putting it inside another bag to protect from leaks.
    i'm sure going to try other recipes too.
     
  13. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    For chops I use 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup salt, and some peppercorns, plus a bit of dry mustard.......add enough water to cover the chops and dissolve the sugar and salt. In this mix I brine for 20-30 min. after that you take the chops out of the brine rinse them off and pat dry. cook however you like your chops....but if frying watch them since the sugar can brown pretty quickly....finish chops by steaming with a little water or broth.....great chops!!

    You can also brine the chops ahead of time and hold the rinsed and dried chops in the fridge until you want to cook them.
     
  14. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    I've not done it, but I've had a turkey it was done to. Some kinda good!
     
  15. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,441
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    SE Washington
    I use a brine of salt, maple syrup and water. Brine it for 24 hours and then smoke it for 8 hours at 250 degress. Never had one that came out dry and this is with a dry smoker .

    Bobg
     
  16. Old Jack

    Old Jack Truth Seeker

    Messages:
    232
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    West Virginia
    I have used this recipe for the past 5 years with good results.
    The method of cooking has varied from deep frying to rotissery BBQ to traditional roasting

    1 1/2 cups, Kosher salt**
    **See notes below regarding amount of salt
    1 1/4 cups, brown sugar
    10 whole cloves
    3 teaspoons, black peppercorns
    1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) apple juice or cider (non-alcoholic)
    the peel from one orange or one tangerine (colored part only - not white pith)
    [optional: 3 teaspoons, dried thyme and/or 3 teaspoons, dried sage]

    Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot, bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (partly covered). Allow brine to cool completely.

    Rinse turkey under cool running water, inside and out (remove giblets from body cavity). Pat turkey dry with paper towels, then immerse turkey in cooled brine.* Turkey should be completely submerged in liquid (place a plate on top of the bird if necessary to keep it covered with the liquid).

    Cover the pot and refrigerate for 8-10 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove turkey, rinse, pat dry, and roast as usual. [See note under “basic technique” for extra step to get crispiest skin.]

    *Be sure the container used for brining turkey is non-reactive: use enamel, glass or crockery or stainless steel - never cast iron or aluminum. The pot should be just large enough to contain the turkey (so the brine will be sufficient to cover the bird).


    ** NOTE REGARDING THE AMOUNT OF SALT IN BRINE: A milder brine may be made, which may have a less flavorful result – but if salt is a concern (the entire turkey will absorb only 10-15% of the brine) the amount of salt may be reduced. For the desired chemical effect to take place, however, the proportions cannot be less than 2/3 to 1 cup of salt per gallon (4 quarts) of water or other liquid.
     
  17. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Messages:
    1,658
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Central NY
    We've used Alton Brown's brining recipe several times, on store bought and home raised birds, and it's always very, very good.
    It seems to differ from the general recipe everyone here is using by substituting vegetable broth for part of the water.
     
  18. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    Thanks for all the response. This was my first effort at brining and it's encouraging to see so many members already know all about it.

    I recall the NPR article said that the role of the salt is to allow moisture to enter the cells of a very lean meat. So any flavoring can be added to the brine and it will increase the flavor and moisture of the meat. Today's lean meats have a very narrow cooking range where the meat is tender. After that point, it becomes tough.

    Now I plan to try the pork chops. I love mustard. How much did you use Bob?

    I noticed hot sauce in one recipe. I wonder if horseradish would be too intense?
     
  19. mtmama

    mtmama Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    304
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Would this brining method work on skinless wild turkey? Has anyone done a skinless turkey? I have two in the freezer and need to figure out the best way to cook them. Any ideas?
     
  20. moldy

    moldy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    637
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    KS
    We brine them using a recipe similar to bobk's, then smoke them. Fantastic!