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 Post subject: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 19, 2017 10:00 pm 
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We have a fresh, organic turkey this year.
I was thinking about trying a dry brine.
Anybody ever done this? What do/did you think?
Mrs. BGR

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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 7:03 am 
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Is a dry rub the same as a dry brine? We too, have a fresh, organic turkey this year - and I was excited to find a spice at The Bean & Leaf - "Flippin' The Bird"! Perfect for my snarly/sweet family... :wiggle:


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 9:56 am 
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I always wet brine, but I will be interested to see what the comments are. I would think dry brining would be a lot less of a hassle.

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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 11:57 am 
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I only wet brine; be interested to hear the results of a dry brine too.


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Where's cooknthyme? I bet she has an informed opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 1:55 pm 
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Remember the recipe for Sticky Chicken I posted here? Is this sorta like a dry brine - the chicken is coated/rubbed with a salt, spice, and herb mix and refrigerated for many hours?

If it is like a dry brine, than it should work wonderfully for turkey as my chicken always turns out great - moist and flavorful.


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 2:46 pm 
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To brine or not to brine ...

For traditional store bought turkeys like Honeysuckle and Butterball you don't need to brine. They usually have been pre-brined.

For fresh, organic turkey (you lucky devils) brining is a must.

So wet or dry... IMO both work fine. Here's my 2 cents...

The advantage to wet brining is that 24 hours is adequate.
For a dry brine you really want 3 days.

Here's a simple dry brine recipe:
for every 5 lbs of turkey you need
1 Tbsp kosher salt (or non-iodized sea salt)
1/2 tsp dried herbs
1/4 tsp pepper

Be sure to get the mixture under the skin of the breast, inside the cavity and all over the skin, with some extra over the dark meat. Refrigerate uncovered (or lightly covered) for 3 days.

"They" say that you do not need to rinse before cooking. But the one time I didn't the bird was too salty for me. So I rinse and then slather the bird with herb butter.

I think both wet and dry methods result in similar flavor and moisture in the meat (except dry brining produces a crispier skin albeit rather salty). A dry brined bird will cook faster so be careful not to over cook. Use a good meat thermometer - do not rely on a pop-up.

Personally, I prefer wet brining. Then after patting it dry I slather the turkey with herb butter (getting some under the breast skin). And let it sit on the counter for an hour before roasting.

Happy Thanksgiving all! :eat:


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 3:36 pm 
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CAUTION: When dry brining you will not get as much pan drippings and it will be salty. So take care when making the gravy.


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 7:00 pm 
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We had our Thanksgiving and turkey this weekend and I did my usual, easy wet brine for just over 12 hours. I've previously cooked the turkey in a bag after that, but never been happy because the skin was never crisp, even after I cut the bag and turned the oven temp up for the last half hour. I saw on a cooking show this year where they cut the butter into cubes and put in the fridge or freezer until it was really cold. Then they put the hard butter cubes under the skin all over the turkey, the idea being the cubes would melt between the skin and the meat leaving the outside of the skin drier to crisp. So I tried it after letting the turkey sit out a while. I chickened out a little and smeared some butter on the outside of the skin, especially where it was difficult to get the cubes in under the skin, around the legs and stuff. I also saw on the internet that cooking a turkey at really high heat (450-500 degrees) initially and then turning the temp down or even cooking at the high heat all the way through and never basting it, produces a moist turkey with golden crisp skin. So I tried that too, and it worked. I chickened out again and turned the heat down from 450 to 350 after 30 minutes, but didn't baste and I didn't have to even cover the breast meat. The turkey was really moist (probably from the wet brine), the skin was golden and crisp and it was simple. I don't know whether it was the butter cubes or the high heat or both, but if it was one or both of those tricks, it was the best turkey I've done to date. I don't know if this would work with a dry brined turkey or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 7:28 pm 
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It all sounds like too much work,,I'd just go to store and buy a Swanson frozen dinner ..LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 20, 2017 9:53 pm 
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There's another spontaneous LOL - thx Mopar!

I've read pros & cons about brining, and those that are con (makes it too wet w/ no flavor) are more inclined to dry brine, but again - saltiness is an issue to mitigate.

I'm happy w/ my own method, but yes it's so much work! on a good note, i get to eat turkey all year round (freeze most of my 20# bird every year i make it), and even now i'm finishing off some awesome gravy/stuffing i saved. anyhow, i stuff the bird w/ veggies & fruit, and inject the bird under the skin w/ a mix of OJ, spices, and riesling. i'm generally a dark meat type cuz white's allays too dry for me, but i actually like the white better when i cook my own this way.

other than my own, the best turkey i've ever tasted was at a friends house that has fried it in a deep fryer. excellent turkey flavor & moist, and not greasy at all. but what a mess to clean up all the used grease? i'd b afraid to try the wet brine due to watery flavor, even if using herbs, as this will reduce the turkey flavor? and the dry brining, it seems if it's not just right it'll still be dry and i really need to avoid so much salt. looking forward to hearing how it turns out, Mrs BGR!

and Mopar - i bet if you ask for only one sample plate here on pinecam, you'll b eating turkey for a month at least, and will never hafta settle for a swansons tv dinner again! thx for the laugh!


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 Post subject: Re: Fresh turkey
Post Posted: Nov 21, 2017 7:29 am 
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I agree that wet brining can wash out flavor, especially if the bird was already injected with a brine solution (90% of commercial turkeys).

These days, wet brining most commercial turkeys is not recommended (by me). Check the packaging to see if a brine solution has already been added. If so do not brine it.

However with fresh heritage(my favorite)or wild turkey (or any other game bird) brining can help reduce some gaminess. And both wet and dry brining does help retain moisture.

Also leaving the bird in the wet brine too long can definitely water it down (smaller birds need less time). That's why most people use lots of herbs, broth, apple cider and such.

Also never use an acid like wine or beer as that (plus the fact that it was probably frozen) will destroy the texture. (Beer & wine are great for short period marinades, but not long term brining).

Both wet and dry brining adds salt. And yes that is a problem for some people.
But some salt enhances flavor.

Size matters too! IMO, the medium sized turkeys 12-14 pounds have the best flavor and texture. The bigger the bird the older it is and looses moisture and flavor. The very small turkeys 8-10lb size have nice texture but little flavor (unless it is a wild turkey).

If you ever get the chance to have a wild turkey, go for it!!! Especially if you prefer dark meat, like I do. Yum!


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