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To brine or not to brine?

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Post Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:20 pm
Steven Grilling Guru
Grilling Guru

Posts: 266

That's the question. I was surprised listing to American's Test Kitchen (excellent show btw) to hear them advocate a brine that 1 cup salt to 2 gallons water and a brining period of 6 to 8 hours. My own brine is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water and I leave the bird in overnight.

Will YOU be brining your turkey this year?
What are YOUR brine proportions?
How long do you brine?
What are your other thoughts about brine?

Love to hear your thoughts and you might consider calling the BBQ Central Show on Tuesday at 9:15, when Greg Rempe and I will be talking turkey and other items on the grill.

Post Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:52 pm
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 2946
Location: Philly

I USED to brine all the time... then I got lazy and just started buying kosher turkeys. For the past two years, though, I have purchased Heritage birds and cooked high-heat (475-500F) using cheesecloth sprayed with PAM to keep the skin from burning. Stellar results... Much tastier meat (though less monstrous breasts than birds bred for that characteristic.) The fast cooking times are a blessing, and the bird never tastes (hammy) from too much salt and smoke combined.

I am going to use Pecan this year (as I just got a hold of some.) Traditionalists sometimes complain about the intense smoky flavor from Hickory which they are just not used to.

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods both sell Heritage birds around here...
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit
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Post Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:34 pm
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7324
Location: Stoughton, WI
PJ, is salt part of kosher processing?

No turkey for me this year as my mom's decided to possibly try oven-cooking a fresh turkey for the first time.

Post Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:43 pm
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 2946
Location: Philly

ScreamingChicken wrote:
PJ, is salt part of kosher processing?

No turkey for me this year as my mom's decided to possibly try oven-cooking a fresh turkey for the first time.


Yes, salting is a big part of the koshering process.. I am only 1/4 Jewish and don't practice (except the saxophone) but have lived in an almost exclusively Jewish neighborhood for over 10 years. When I first described brining to a neighbor when it became the fashion, she told me they have been doing it for 2,000 years :) ..
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit
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Post Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:40 pm
Trollby well done
well done

Posts: 1292
Location: MadCity, WI

I am of the Brine ALWAYS crowd.

I have been trying to cut down on the salt some and see the results.

I have found 1 cup Kosher salt to 4 quarts water is about a thin as you go, but need 24 hours min in brine.

One recipe I have uses 5 quarts for 1 cup Salt, but has tons of other stuff in the brine and does state 24-48 hour brine.

Post Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:26 pm
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7324
Location: Stoughton, WI
Looking at the 2 different brine recipes Steven mentioned I wonder if each might be better suited to a different cooking process, namely oven-roasting vs. barbecuing.

Post Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:41 pm
Griffin well done
well done

Posts: 3312
Location: Dallas, Texas

Yes, if its fresh, but not if its already "enhanced". Too salty that way.

Post Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:18 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5795
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
I rarely brine anymore. Between using the beer-can method and the rotisserie, I just haven't had the need to.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:36 pm
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 2946
Location: Philly

Here is an interesting scientific approach from Serious Eats... http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/the- ... iving.html
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit
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Post Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:02 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7324
Location: Stoughton, WI
Interesting reading. Based on the results I wouldn't rule out brining altogether but it appears that the brine might need to be well-salted and strongly flavored to get significantly noticeable results. Personally, I'm a salter and not a briner when it comes to poultry.

Of course, the truly best method is the one that makes people happy with the food. :wink:

Post Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:43 pm
Trollby well done
well done

Posts: 1292
Location: MadCity, WI

phillyjazz wrote:
Here is an interesting scientific approach from Serious Eats... http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/the- ... iving.html


First off, don't try to brine your turkey or chicken in cider (or any other acidic marinade, for that matter). Don't do it. Just don't. The acid in the cider will begin the denaturization process of the meat, effectively "cooking" it without heat. The results? Ultra-dry meat with a wrinkled, completely desiccated exterior


I do mine in Apple cider WITH oranges which is VERY acidic and turns out great, I think his research is flawed and testing was on bone-less skin-less chicken breast not really the same.

Just an fyi these are I bet same people that say don't grill or smoke foods do the the carcinogens are way higher and unsafe to eat.

We all no that is BS too

Post Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:26 am
Nitrorea raw
raw

Posts: 1
I have brined for a couple of years now. To me I'm not sure it's worth the effort. Last years seamed kind of rubbery although it did have a nice flavor.

This year I think I'm going to try injecting right before putting in the smoker. I smoke roast the bird around 350*-375* so it does not really have time to dry out.

IDK....we will see.

Post Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:54 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5795
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Trollby wrote:
phillyjazz wrote:
Here is an interesting scientific approach from Serious Eats... http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/11/the- ... iving.html


First off, don't try to brine your turkey or chicken in cider (or any other acidic marinade, for that matter). Don't do it. Just don't. The acid in the cider will begin the denaturization process of the meat, effectively "cooking" it without heat. The results? Ultra-dry meat with a wrinkled, completely desiccated exterior


I do mine in Apple cider WITH oranges which is VERY acidic and turns out great, I think his research is flawed and testing was on bone-less skin-less chicken breast not really the same.

Just an fyi these are I bet same people that say don't grill or smoke foods do the the carcinogens are way higher and unsafe to eat.

We all no that is BS too


In the article, the author said that brined meat was juicier but tasted blander. Is your cider-brined bird like that, or is it a lot tastier?
(My bet is that it's tastier...)

It's an OK article, but the main point that resonated with me was the first one: brining is a pain because it takes up a lot of space and a lot of time. This isn't to say brining is good or bad, but rather that I just don't do it much.

I wonder why he didn't go into injections, though. It seems to me that an injected turkey would be at least comparable to a brined one. Although as I said above I very rarely brine anything, I do pull out the marinade injector on a regular basis and I find it's a lot easier for me than brining.

And yes, I use a cider-citrus marinade for some dishes and it also works great. In fact, on a BCC a few weeks after the one above, I whipped up my own injector marinade using cider, a bit of butter, some sour orange juice, and a few spices and it really made the bird taste great.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:27 am
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1153
Location: Warrington, PA
Last year was the first in five that I did not brine and I wasn't happy with the results.

I'll be brining this year for sure.
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Post Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:50 pm
BaasPro medium
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Posts: 137
Location: Alvaton, KY

Brining is kind of a pain. We've been doing a simple injection instead of brining lately and it seems to work great. Sure is easier.
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