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Does Brining the Turkey effect the gravy?

eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
edited 12:53PM in EggHead Forum
Both PA Dutch Egger and bubba tim recommend brining the turkey, then proceed with the Mad Max Turkey recipe. I recall a Cook's Illustrated warning that you should not brine something that you are going to make a gravy from because the gravy will be too salty. I was wondering if the 'briners' use less salt in the prep because of the salt in the brine?

eenie meenie


  • Never had a problem. Gravy normally needs quite a bit of salt because of the flour in the roux. I brine chicken all the time, egg and oven, and make a similar gravy to max's (I use the fat from the bird and not butter, otherwise it's pretty similar.)

    The key is to taste the gravy before adding any salt. I think you'll find you still need more, even with a brined bird.

    Note that not all birds need brine. Kosher chickens, and pre-seasoned birds (including a lot of mass-market turkeys) are effectively pre-brined. Check the label for added salt or sodium content.
  • i never brine. go get a bowman & landes turkey and you won't need anything else. :woohoo:
  • That's the ONLY place I ever get a turkey from. In fact, I usually get a free one through Dorthy Lane every year!

    eenie meenie
  • We brine ours and never had a problem with the gravy.
  • Harold McGee says it does present a problem, FWIW. I suppose it has to do with how long you brine.
    The Naked Whiz
  • We did not add any salt to the bird or the gravy. We used unsalted butter on the bird and in the gravy. The consensus was it all came out fine. We made the gravy a little too thick - nothing to do with the recipe. You might want to do a bird first before the big day. We found out it took more time than we thought for the prep, but now that we have done it once we are sure our prep time will be a lot less.
  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,679
    I have never had a problem, have brined all T-Day birds for the last 10 years, I think if the bird is properly brined (for 24 hours), it is no saltier than it it would otherwise be if you salted just the outside.
    happy in the hut
    West Chester Pennsylvania
  • i go right to the farm ;)
  • I've brined numerous turkeys and the gravy is not too salty- just taste test as you make the gravy.
  • PA Dutch Egger has nailed it here!
    Use unsalted butter when cooking (especially in a case where we already have salt added to the dish / bird…whatever) because then you control the amount of any extra salt added ;) .
    Sounds odd, but different butters have different amounts of salt…Yes, they are close, but one can have more (sometimes much more) then another.
    So use unsalted (sweet cream) butter and control the salt yourself! The flavor still comes through with out the salt!
  • sounds like you got lots of good advice here. ...brined bird shouldn't make the gravy too salty. .. just don't add salt to the stock, use unsalted butter and test the gravy prior to adding any additional salt and you should be ok. .. .
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