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To Brine Or Not To Brine?

Winchester

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That is the question. Do you brine?

We've been brining our turkeys for quite a few years now. I asked Dear Richard last night what he wanted to do and he said he likes the turkey brined. He thinks it makes for a moister turkey overall. We pretty much do a Good Eats Roast Turkey (Alton Brown) and it's pretty good.

My nephew deep-fries his turkeys now and oh! they are so good! I'd love to try to fry ours, but I hesitate to spend the money on yet another gadget.

What about you? Brine or not? Deep-fry or roast?
 

Furballsmom

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LOL, funny you should ask :)

We've been brining, (same recipe). It is juicier.

However, the new refrigerator doesn't have the same split shelving (so that just one side/half could be lifted out) which allowed for a really big pot to be placed in it without having to rearrange so much in the rest of the fridge. Plus Denver isn't always the right temperature to allow setting the container either in the garage or outside without some hassle, concern for safety, babysitting et al....

So this year, after some discussion, it's just thawing Big Bird and roasting :thumbsup::yummy:
 
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susanm9006

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Oh heavens, I am brineing for the second time this year and the process has me so nervous. The container part works out okay for me, since the garage is cold enough to keep the turkey overnight but the mess of rinsing etc without splashing potential salmonella juice all over gives me fits. Think I am going to strategically place a couple puppy pads out to contain any splash. Cats to the rescue!
 

LTS3

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Winchester Winchester I read a review of Alton Brown's turkey and it said that there were no pan drippings to make gravy with so that was a deal breaker. The reviewer gave the recipe a 6 out of a possible 10. I Made Alton Brown's Thanksgiving Turkey for the First Time

I've never had brined or fried turkey before, just bland and overcooked roasted turkey.
 

susanm9006

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I always make my gravy base days ahead of time with roasted turkey necks and wings. One less thing to make me insane on turkey day and this way I can make ALOT of gravy. Since I do roast the turkey though, I used it’s juices to make oven stuffing and to keep the turkey moist til serving.
 

Furballsmom

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susanm9006 susanm9006 ... ooo, that's seriously smart. Of the things that can be done ahead of time, I never thought of that lol
 

susanm9006

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susanm9006 susanm9006 ... ooo, that's seriously smart. Of the things that can be done ahead of time, I never thought of that lol
I started making it ahead of time after I melted the rubber feet of a trivet onto the glass cooktop while trying to make gravy right before dinner. In all the premeal chaos I forgot I had the turkey pan on a trivet and turned on the burners to make the gravy. Didn’t notice or remember the trivet til the smoke of burning plastic started. Spent the day after Thanksgiving carefully scraping the melted plastic off the cooktop.

Anyway my theory is that if the gravy is good enough no one will notice if the turkey is dry or the mashed potatoes are lumpy . All I have to do with my premade stock on turkey day is cook butter and flour together, dump in the stock, add my secret ingredient, some white wine, and let it cook til it thickens. Then it goes into a crock pot to stay warm til dinner.
 

KarenKat

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We have been doing dry brining (probably started with the Alton Brown recipe) and we overcooked it a few years back because the lack of drippings threw us off. The flavor is amazing though.
 
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Winchester

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susanm9006 susanm9006 Furballsmom Furballsmom LTS3 LTS3 I always make my turkey gravy the night before, too, using turkey necks and giblets and wings purchased ahead of time. Less hassle that way. Gravy is something that stresses me out; I don't know why because it's always really good, but it's that last-minute thing that makes me crazy, I guess. So no, there are no actual pan drippings, but it's OK. We actually like AB's turkey; we've been doing it that way for a few years now. And like I said, I asked Rick if he wanted to brine again this year and he agreed.

By noon on Thursday, everything will be done and in the fridge. That way, it's just "Take this casserole out of the fridge at this time and put it in the oven at this temp for this much time." I have it all written out, so that the baked corn goes in first, followed by the make-ahead mashed potatoes, etc. They all go in the top oven. The bottom oven will have the roasted butternut, sweet potatoes, and carrots at 425 degrees; it's the only thing that goes in at a higher temp, so I throw it down there. Take the stuff out of the top oven and throw the yeast rolls in. Meanwhile, the gravy is simmering on the stove. And I write it all out, so that by the time dinner is ready, everything is still hot and bubbly and ready.

I need to do it that way. Making gravy, mashed potatoes, etc at the last minute? Nope, not going there.

The problem is that everybody likes being in the kitchen, and between people and animals, it can get a bit crowded. So I get as much done ahead of time as I can; that way, I have time to chat and enjoy a glass (or three) of wine with everybody else.
 

Furballsmom

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oh, dang I'm glad you said that LOL I swear I'm gonna forget those dang rolls :lol:
 

susanm9006

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I chickened out of brining, just too much stressing over salmonella. But I am using the convection setting on my new oven which is supposed to keep the turkey juicier. Has to be some upside to your stove dieing a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and pretty much picking up the first one you could find that could be delivered in time.
 

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We bake whole birds plain, usually (for us, for others we pile on the goodies) because most times we have leftover meat that we seal and pack up to freeze. We want it un-seasoned because bits of turkey make great dog and cat treats!
 

amethyst

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I normally keep it plain because I prefer to share with the cats and dogs, the good/extra flavors are in the gravy. I tried doing brine once, and maybe it's just me but I found it to be salty. One thing I did try one year that was very tasty, but made it not pet friendly, was wrapping the turkey in bacon. The bacon gives the turkey a nice flavor and keeps it moist. The only downside is, since the skin is covered in bacon, it doesn't get brown and crispy.
 
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