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Thawing and Brining Turkey

Douglas

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I've never brined a turkey before - always had good luck with rubbing sage butter under the skin. But I've got a frozen turkey sitting in the freezer from Thanksgiving that I never used - was thinking about cooking it up this Sunday for a midwinter feast and snacking on leftovers and soup for the following week.

I hate thawing turkeys and never seem to have good luck with it. How do you guys thaw them? Do you think it would be good to brine and thaw simultaneously? I have a "sun porch" that's probably consistently in the mid-50s temp wise this time of year. Could I just toss the turkey in a bucket with some salt and seasonings and leave it there for 2 days?
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I've never brined a turkey before - always had good luck with rubbing sage butter under the skin. But I've got a frozen turkey sitting in the freezer from Thanksgiving that I never used - was thinking about cooking it up this Sunday for a midwinter feast and snacking on leftovers and soup for the following week.

I hate thawing turkeys and never seem to have good luck with it. How do you guys thaw them? Do you think it would be good to brine and thaw simultaneously? I have a "sun porch" that's probably consistently in the mid-50s temp wise this time of year. Could I just toss the turkey in a bucket with some salt and seasonings and leave it there for 2 days?


do you have a bucket/pot big enough to submerge the turkey? that seems to be critical.

I brine my turkeys and have good luck with it. whole foods sells a brine packet, but you can get a good reciepie on the web. I use salt/sugar and a variety of spices that come to hand, sort of do it freehand.
 

Douglas

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I was going to just go to Home Depot or something and buy a big busket, so, yes - I do plan on being able to submerge said turkey.

Can you brine a frozen turkey, or does the iciness defeat the purpose of brining? Sort of a dumb question, I guess... reason would say that as the turkey thaws, the salt penetrates... but sometimes cooking can be counterintuitive.
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I was going to just go to Home Depot or something and buy a big busket, so, yes - I do plan on being able to submerge said turkey.

Can you brine a frozen turkey, or does the iciness defeat the purpose of brining? Sort of a dumb question, I guess... reason would say that as the turkey thaws, the salt penetrates... but sometimes cooking can be counterintuitive.


I don't know what is best, but I don't thaw first, I throw the whole frozen turkey into the pot. the first recepe I read for brining suggested to use ice water, so I figured that a frozen turkey would be just as good.
 

kwilkinson

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Originally Posted by edmorel
I'm no kwilkinson, but I would leave the turkey out to thaw first, and then submerge it in a brine for 24 hours or so. I find that whole poultry is best when brined, as are large cuts of pork.

This is what I'd do as well.
I'm sure you could throw it in the brine while still frozen, but I don't know what effect it would have on the solution's ability to cure the meat. I assume that the meat would have to thaw first before it started curing. Best bet is to thaw it first, IMO. If you take it out now and put it in a refrigerator (or somewhere that's lower than 41), it should be thawed completely by Friday. Then you can put it in a 24 hour brine and cook it on Sunday. Only important things--- needs to be below 41 degrees for it to be safe to eat, and the bird needs to be completely submerged in the brining solution or there's no point in doing it.
I'm not sure though. If it worked for globe, maybe it's fine to throw it in there frozen. I'll try it someday. We normally brine and cure fresh or thawed out items, but if it works, why not do it with frozen?
 

adambparker

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Or you could buy kosher turkey, which is pre-brined. This doesn't help for you, Douglas, since you've already got a turkey, but I actually read a Cook's Illustrated article last year that rated Empire Kosher turkeys as one of the top brands. They're pre-brined, as is required by the laws of kashrut, with all the benefits thereof. Unfortunately, Ed, this won't work for pork.
 

Milhouse

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I would worry about a frozen bird getting exposed to the brine in stages. The outside would get more brine as the frozen inside would not allow the moisture exchange to take place. Perhaps this would result in a salty or mushy exterior on the bird.
 

VKK3450

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Originally Posted by adambparker
Or you could buy kosher turkey, which is pre-brined. This doesn't help for you, Douglas, since you've already got a turkey, but I actually read a Cook's Illustrated article last year that rated Empire Kosher turkeys as one of the top brands. They're pre-brined, as is required by the laws of kashrut, with all the benefits thereof. Unfortunately, Ed, this won't work for pork.

You telling me I cant get kosher pork chops?

K
 

VKK3450

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Originally Posted by adambparker
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


ham, shrimp and cheese sandwich?

K
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Milhouse
I would worry about a frozen bird getting exposed to the brine in stages. The outside would get more brine as the frozen inside would not allow the moisture exchange to take place. Perhaps this would result in a salty or mushy exterior on the bird.

while doing it frozen might not be the best way to do it, I've done it several times that way without a problem
 

lefty

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I was going to just go to Home Depot or something and buy a big busket, so, yes - I do plan on being able to submerge said turkey.

.


I would pick up a food grade plastic bag to line the bucket. Your butcher should be able to help here.

lefty
 

lpresq

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1) If you brine for 36 hrs, the outer-most portion of the turkey would take on way too much salt, as such would be the first to thaw; or
2) If you were to brine for 24 hrs, the brine would not have sufficient time to cure the inner-most portion of the bird.

It may be best to fully thaw the turkey in veg stock (the base of the brine), then add salt and other spices to the stock once the turkey is fully thawed??
 

TexasLidig8r

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Step One. - Take frozen turkey, tie rope around it and use it for an anchor on your boat.

Step Two - Go to Whole Foods, Central Market or a comparable place, buy a fresh, non-frozen bird.

Step Three - Brine using kosher salt, brown sugar, sage, orange juice, triple peppercorn for 24 hours.

Or something like that
 

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