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Do you brine the turkey?

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  • Do you brine the turkey?

    We brine our turkey every year. We put it in a salt solution with either lemon or orange juice and spices 24 hours before we cook it. Every year our turkey turns out moist and full of juice. I've heard that brining is both good and bad but I've never had a dry turkey doing this and do not lose any of the turkey flavor. Do you brine your turkey?

  • #2
    Nope - it was never a 'thing' when I was growing up, and so I'm used to plain ol' roast turkey. We have ours on Christmas Day as we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, and quite honestly the turkey is far from the star of the show - the accompanying ham, pigs in blankets, stuffing, Brussels sprouts and chestnuts, bread sauce and cranberry sauce, plus roast spuds and parsnips, peas and carrots and luxury gravy are far more enticing! With all that lot to eat as a main course, and possibly a seafood-based starter and a fruity spiced pudding with cream, brandy butter or custard afterwards, well - one or two thin slices of turkey is enough and it's not worth all the faff of brining it before cooking. I do like leftover turkey sandwiches though, and always have cold turkey and ham, with a salad (has to include mashed potato and pickled walnuts) on Boxing/St Stephen's Day.

    Having said that, my turkey is never dry - been cooking one every year for the past 28 years (since my Mum died) and I've kinda got the hang of it now I just shove a load of butter under the breast skin, and drape the entire thing in streaky bacon prior to cooking - works a treat!


    • #3
      Yes, we brine ours. For a few years we fried the turkey, then for a few years after that we smoked it, but now we are brining and baking. So far, everyone seems to like the brined and baked turkey the best.


      • #4
        I've never done it before, but I'd like to try it with a half turkey breast.

        I am the King of Kitchen Toys!!!!!!


        • #5
          Oh yes, we've been brining the turkey for years. We brine it for 2 days prior to roasting. Between that and the butter injections, dryness is not a problem.


          • #6
            We brine ours for 2-3 days before baking and dryness has never been a problem for us, either. We don't even have to do any kind of "injections." It just brines for a few days and then goes straight into the oven under tin foil. At the very last, we take the foil off to brown the outside.


            • #7
              I have done it before, but for me the hassle is not worth what little flavor I get. I spread an herbed butter under the turkey skin and on top. so it doesn't get dry. and it has loads of fresh herbed flavor! I say give it a try and see how YOU like it!

              I'm not a chef, and I don't play on one television


              • #8
                What types of herbs do you use Semigourmet? I've done the butter under the skin before and it turned out okay but not as juicy as the brined turkey but I'd give it a go if you say it takes good.


                • Semigourmet
                  Semigourmet commented
                  Editing a comment
                  1 stick room temperature unsalted butter. 2 teaspoons minced shallots, 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme, 1/4 teaspoon ground sage, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced and 1 teaspoon lemon juice; I put the onion, garlic, parsley, and lemon in the food processor or mini prep bowl, and puree. then add butter and other herbs. process until well mixed.

              • #9
                Brining remains a past labor intensive duty that luckily we have foregone for several years now.
                We now dry brine, which is to season the turkey inside and out for at least two days before roasting.
                The key to a moist breast is to roast the turkey breast side down for the first half of cooking time, then turning it breast side up for the remainder of the cooking time.
                For those who are concerned about turning over a heavy, half cooked turkey, you can roast it all the way breast side down.
                It is remarkable and never again will I waste my time with a liquid brine.
                BTW. It is highly recommended to NOT liquid brine for more than 24 hours. Some chefs actually say no longer than 8 hours.
                Mushy meat is their concern? I don't know personally as we used to liquid brine over night.


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