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Thread: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Pemberton BC
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    Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Do you want the juiciest turkey ever? You should brine it. I started brining turkeys a number of years ago, and never looked back. I have written out the instructions lots of times, but never seem to save them, so nowdays I just copy it from the Food Network site. It's virtually identical to what I do, although his insrucitons are more precise- I just poke at the thing and say "yup, it's ready"

    I make the stuffing in a pan on the side- It's easy to do and if you use some good chicken stock nobody will know it's never seen the inside of a turkey!

    Anyway, if you want the juiciest turkey for Christmas, forget the old recipes of stuffing, cooking all day and whatever else grandma used to do...Use the brine!



    How to Brine and Roast a Turkey

    Yield: 12

    Try brining for the best tasting, juiciest holiday turkey ever! It?s a centuries old trick that the pros use. Best of all it?s very simple and it really works. Brining encourages the tightly wound proteins in meat to uncoil, bump into each other and form a web of sorts that sets with the heat of the oven and traps moisture.

    Ingredients:
    How to Brine and Roast a Turkey

    • See Directions (below) for Ingredients as they vary depending on size of bird

    Directions:
    How to Brine and Roast a Turkey

    1. You will need an accurate meat thermometer to gauge exactly when the meat is done. Don’t rely on the pop-up thermometers; they are calibrated so high that they guarantee dried out meat!
    2. For a standard 12 to 25 pound turkey you will need 2 pounds of salt, ideally sea salt and 2 cups of brown sugar. You will also need a clean picnic cooler large enough to hold the turkey when completely submerged in water.
    3. Place the turkey, salt and sugar in the bucket. Cover with 4 gallons of cold water and submerge the turkey upside down. Turn the turkey a few times to mix the salt and sugar. Place the bucket in a cold place for four hours for a smaller turkey and as much as six hours for a larger one, no more no less. If necessary to keep the brine cold replace some of the water with a few bags of ice or even throw in some freezer packs.
    4. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Let rest uncovered overnight in the refrigerator. This will drain any excess moisture and help dry out the skin so it will brown better.
    5. Rub the turkey with butter, ground pepper and your favourite herb or spice mix. Stuff the turkey with fresh herb sprigs, garlic cloves and large chopped pieces of carrot, celery and onion. Place breast side down on a clean well oiled roasting rack in a roasting pan. Add two cups of water to the pan.
    6. Place the turkey in a preheated 400° oven. Roast one hour then, without opening the oven, turn the heat down to 250° and continue roasting for two hours longer. For a 20 to 25 lb. turkey or larger roast for three more hours. If you have a convection oven only roast for 45 minutes first before turning down the oven heat, no other adjustments are needed.
    7. Flip the turkey breast side up and baste it thoroughly. Add two cups of water to the roasting pan. Turn the oven back up to 400° and continue roasting until the breast meat is exactly 165° and the thigh reads 170°. Baste and check the temperature every 15 minutes or so. This finishing heat will help brown the skin. Let the turkey rest covered with foil for 20 to 30 minutes before carving then serve immediately.
    "The 375 H&H was made obsolete the day the 375 Ruger was introduced"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Hey Gate...

    I am going to give this a try this year as I have heard it works very well.

    Question for you.....is there a reason with a brined turkey that you don't stuff it? I know the carrots, herbs, onions etc are going to add excellent flavour but just curious if there was a specific reason for not stuffing it? Does it have to do with the cooking time specified being shorter with a "non-stuffed" turkey?

    Cheers.

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    In paradise on the Island
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    I have been doing frozen turkeys this way for about 10 yrs, its the only way to go, I add whatever spices I feel like to the brine and soak overnight. However if the turkey is fresh I just roast it.
    Their steaks, roasts and burger to me! Tom

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    How come you dont just invite us all over for Christmas dinner?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Pemberton BC
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Quote Originally Posted by MB_Boy View Post
    Hey Gate...

    I am going to give this a try this year as I have heard it works very well.

    Question for you.....is there a reason with a brined turkey that you don't stuff it? I know the carrots, herbs, onions etc are going to add excellent flavour but just curious if there was a specific reason for not stuffing it? Does it have to do with the cooking time specified being shorter with a "non-stuffed" turkey?

    Cheers.

    Witht he water you put into the pan, the stuffing may get soggy. It will certianly be very salty. Also, you brined it to keep it moist- So why stuff it full of bread that will suck out moisture?

    Those are my resoans, but I admit I've never tried to stuff a brined turkey. You never end up wiht enough stuffing if you just use wht fits in a turkey, anyway.

    Making it on the side is easy. I cut up bacon into small bits, and fry untl crisp, add chopped onions and garliic and a whole bunch of fresh thyme and fry until softened, deglaze with white wine, melt in some butter, add bread and mix up, then add chicken stock until fairly moist. Then I scape it all into a pan and bake it covered for a bit.

    I do variations like adding sausage or different herbs, too.
    "The 375 H&H was made obsolete the day the 375 Ruger was introduced"

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    How come you dont just invite us all over for Christmas dinner?
    You're invited!! How easy was that, all you had to do was ask!
    "The 375 H&H was made obsolete the day the 375 Ruger was introduced"

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    How come you dont just invite us all over for Christmas dinner?
    Great idea!!
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."

    -- John Muir

  9. #8
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Quote Originally Posted by BCrams View Post
    Great idea!!

    You can come too!!
    "The 375 H&H was made obsolete the day the 375 Ruger was introduced"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    4,055

    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gatehouse View Post
    You can come too!!
    Such short notice!!

    You ought to plan this for next year

    Right on the verge of the 2010 games!!
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."

    -- John Muir

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,052

    Re: Brine a turkey for Christmas!

    Thats a good idea inviting rams along. He's good at washing dishes!

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