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Turkey Brining Explanation

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
For those of you (like me) that need to see good analysis done in order to understand a topic, I recommend an article that I just ran across involving turkey brining.


This article shows (among other things) the weight (due to water) loss at different stages of cooking of three turkey breasts in different scenarios. It also makes an argument illustrating that osmosis is not the primary factor in why brining works.

I think it's an interesting read, and as a mathematician, I appreciate the analysis.
post #2 of 16
See now if they taught math like THIS in school, maybe I would have gotten past 2nd year calculus. :D
post #3 of 16
Very informative and a good read. Thanks for posting.
post #4 of 16
For starters, I think a brined bird is WAY better than one that isn't...some disagree, but once you get the perfect brine recipe - stick with it, IMO!

That said, does anyone find it odd that he is suggesting ONLY cooking to 145 - 150° MAXIMUM internal temp?!?

I know I did a bird, (whole turkey breast only) maybe 3 weeks ago, and I pulled it when my Taylor 1470 hit 161°...and I only loosely covered it in foil so I'm sure it didn't get oo much higher than 162 - but only 145 or 150??

What do you all think?
post #5 of 16
that temperature should be sufficient since the writer was working with white meat. On a whole turkey, the dark meat will be at a higher temperature.

I was always taught that anything over 140 would kill of bacteria and 140 for a breast sounds about right. Nice reading on why brining works.
post #6 of 16
Yeah, that raised my eybrow also. I don't think I'd be comfortable serving poultry at 145*. May just be bias, but I've always cooked a bird to 160*+, and they are hardly ever dry. And at 160-170 I don't have to fear making anyone sick.

Thanks for posting this, tlhiv, it was an interesting read.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
I too enjoyed the read. I'm always interested in the "science" of smoking meat, so any more information like this is always welcome to me.
post #8 of 16
It was an interesting read for sure. I learn alittle of why a brine works but I have always brined mine. As far as what temp I take my turkeys too I have always taken mine to 165-170 in the breast and they have been good in the past. I don'y know about 140 thou.
post #9 of 16
Troy, Thanks for posting this, although I'll probably have to read it a couple more times to understand it, I really do enjoy the scientific side of cooking
post #10 of 16
I think serving at 140 would be ok providing that you use the correct amount of cure wile brining
post #11 of 16
Great read, thanks for the link..
post #12 of 16
That is a great read. I always brine but now I know more why.
post #13 of 16
Great find, Thanks....
post #14 of 16

Great article...one thing I'd say....just keep in mind, the water/fluid in the body isn't pure water....it is a saline solution...(that is why they hang an IV of "saline solution" when someone is at the hospital...) .so if a brine is outside the body...it is not salt water on the outside, and pure water on the inside...it is a salt solution on the inside, which is a little higher than the salt solution on the outside....so the effect is that the water can come in...and help hydrate the meat...

anyway....having a little salt residual on the outside layer of the meat being smoked....keeping the potential bacteria at bay...good in my book.....if you don't want to eat the skin...then by all means toss it.....and then totally enjoy the meat underneath...as delicious as it is!!!...I love this stuff....

post #15 of 16

Thanks for posting.  I guess I am back to the bathroom to bury my head in McGee's book!


Good luck and good smoking.

post #16 of 16

Very interesting article, but the USDA says 165 for poultry. In my opinion anything lower would be a risk. Although his breast did look fully cooked.

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