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To Brine or Not to Brine BB Guidelines

EggZonaEggZona Posts: 108
edited 8:36PM in EggHead Forum
Lots of talk about this on the forum. I had always heard not to brine if it was a frozen/basted Turkey. Went to Butterball site and found the following guidelines-

Guidelines to Get You Started:
Use a fresh, non-basted turkey. Brining is ineffective on frozen turkeys and may interfere with the flavor of basted or kosher turkeys.

Use 1 cup kosher salt per gallon (4 quarts) of water. If you must substitute table salt, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup per gallon of water.

Add herbs if desired. You could add a combination of 6 to 8 bay leaves, 1/2 cup dried rosemary, 3 cloves peeled garlic, 2 teaspoons peppercorns, and 1/2 cup dried thyme leaves. Try adding some brown sugar or 1 cup small dried red chili peppers if you want to add some heat.

Length of brine time depends on the size of the turkey. As turkey gets larger, increase brine time rather than salt concentration.

Place turkey, breast down, in a large container made of food-grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass that will fit in the refrigerator. Add brine to cover.

Keep cold in refrigerator while brining.

Remove turkey from brine after recommended time and pat dry with paper towels. Not necessary to rinse. Cook turkey as desired.

NOTE: The turkey will look bluish-white before cooking and will not brown as well as non-brined turkeys

Another intersting fact that I found out on the Butterball site was thawing.

Thursday BEFORE Thanksgiving-

It’s National Thaw Day!

•Take your frozen turkey out of the freezer and begin refrigerator thawing (recommended method). Allow one day of thawing for each four pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey may remain in the refrigerator for four days before cooking.


  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    In 39 years of cooking Turkeys I have never used a Brine.

    The idea of brining is to help retain moisture and to add flavor. Turkeys cooked right on an Egg don't need any more moisture added and Turkey sure doesn't need more flavor.
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 515
    In contrast, we always brine our turkeys cooked on the Egg. A lot of what you read on the Butterball site is correct; some is not. Definitely do not brine a turkey that has been processed by adding flavors, "juices", fluids, whatever. If a turkey has been frozen, but not flavored or injected - unprocessed - it can be handled like any fresh turkey and brined. We use 2/3 cup of Kosher salt ; 2/3 cup of sugar; crushed juniper berries and some whole cloves per gallon of water. Emerse turkey; keep at
  • i have to agree with CW on this one ... i've never brined a turkey in my life. ...when cooked properly, the breast meat is very moist. ...and i want my turkey to taste like turkey, not something else the ice bag trick to insure the breast doesn't overcook and stays nice and moist . ...
  • I have not Egged a turkey, and have to date only oven-roasted.

    My experience is that brining does improve flavor when oven-roasting a previously non-injected bird.

    I use free-range birds that have not been previously injected, so my experience wold not be applicable to cooking Butterballs, and might not be applicable to cooking on the Egg.
  • I picked up a frozen turkey at Walmart a week ago. I looked at three or four different brands and all of them were factory brined. I don't know if you can even buy an unbrined turkey any more.
  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 515
    The grocers here in upstate NY all have unbrined, fresh or frozen turkey.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    If you are anywhere near Syracuse you should head out to Plainville and get one that walked across the road in the morning HAHAHA
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    I can only speak for Butterball, I have called them each year for the last 5 or 6 and I called them this morning. Their FRESH turkey's are NOT injected, only the frozen ones.

    Hope that helps,
  • I was looking at frozen turkeys so maybe they are typically brined??? I can't think of the last time I saw a turkey that wasn't frozen except live ones.
  • what is the ice bag trick?
  • take a 1 gallon zip lock bag full of ice cubes, and for the last 20 to 30 minutes prior to putting your turkey in the egg (or oven), lay the ice bag over the turkey's breasts. . ..this will lower the temps of the breast meat sufficiently that during the roasting period it will allow the thighs to finish at 180 degrees and the breasts to finish at 160 -170 and not be dried out .. resulting in nice moist breast meat. the complete details at the mad max turkey site. ..
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    My local Basha's have fresh ones about a week or so before turkey day. Don't usually see them the rest of the year but your local butcher may be able to order one in.

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