Brining a "processed" turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by funkadelic73, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Hey guys,

    I'm taking a test run this week on smoking my first turkey. In haste, I bought a butterball. 

    The wrapping says something to the effect of "contains a solution of 8 percent water. Less than 2 percent solution of sodium, etc etc. I'm guessing this qualifies as a "processed bird"?

    Ive read a few places that it's not good to brine a bird that comes packed in some sort of solution like this. Should I skip the brine? Will I be OK brining? 
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Probably not much to be gained from brining.

    You could still do it, but salt might be a consideration.

    I would smoke it and see what you think for the next one?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

  4. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I have brined a lot of turkeys and while "MINIMALLY PROCESSED" is best, it does not hurt to brine a bird with salt solution already in it. Your flavored brine will make that injected bird taste a whole lot better and as long as you use the right proportion of salt to water, it will never be too salty.

    I am not familiar with the Slaughterhouse brine but I hear about it quite often.. my brine recipes all use the normal 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water ratio and it's never too salty even on pre-brined or pre-injected birds.

    I say go for it[​IMG]
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If I have the time I always brine poultry, processed or not. I use a simple salt & sugar brine with Montreal chicken seasoning in it.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree with the "Distinguished Gentlemen" above...Our brines have a lot more flavors than just salt and an Overall Equilibrium between your Brine and the Factory Processing will be reached that is based on the the overall salt content of your Brine getting your Flavorings added to whatever's there...The factory uses a 2% solution... a 1Cup Table Salt per Gallon is about a 8% solution...SO...Any seasoning/Flavorings you put in your Brine will be passed to the meat as the higher concentration of Salt in the brine passes into the meat (Osmosis). It is interesting to note that research indicates that a 4-6% solution will have the greatest effect on Denaturing Proteins, allowing for the highest moisture retension and tenderness...Based on this 1/2Cup Table Salt per Gallon (1Cup Morton Kosher) will give Flavor, Moisture and Tenderness at a reduced Sodium level...JJ

    Good info:
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  8. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    Would anything be gained by soaking the bird in water to pull the factory salt out?  Would more of the homemade tasty brine make it into the bird?
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It would certainly seem like it would work. I have never tried it. Maybe someone who has will be along to better answer that.

    I do know that even with processed birds I get plenty of the brine flavor inside, sometimes I think too much.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As Jeff and the others say,doesn't hurt and you may get a little flavor in the process. I have added (dark) Maple Syrup to my brine, it is carried into the bird with the salt and give a tasty treak when finished. (just,please don't poke a lot of holes in the Girl, and I even leave the "button" in place,doesn't hurt and keeps the hole plugged.)You can a disinfected probe in her for accuracy-go to 165*f in the Thigh-without touching bone- and if you want krispier skin,up the heat for 10 to 15min. You said,however , it was a Butterball,I dought you will have to worry about the skin, as it has some under the skin...HMMMM,That brings up an interesting subject, With the Butter being Hydrophobic, I'm wondering if it will even transferr by Osmosis?

    JJ,what say you???
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    As far as I can find out...They use a Butter flavoring in the Brine...NO real butter!...The name comes from the Shape of the bird...So no worries...JJ
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  13. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  14. jsdspif

    jsdspif Meat Mopper

    I usually brine mine . I might do 4 of them a year ?? A couple birds ago ( I don't remember the brand , maybe honesuckle ) I think it had 10 % solution in it and for the heck of it I just sprinkled some rub on it and put it in my mes at 275 and cooked it like I always do , I carved it up just like I always did . Let it rest for 30 minutes or so , then cut off legs and thighs as a unit and bag them and into the frig and cut off each breast and bag them . The idea was to kind of test to see what effect the brining process has . As soon as I ate some I thought " from now on I will brine " My brines never seem to impart much flavor at least I wish they imparted more flavor , but I'm always afraid of over doing it and  then it isn't very good to eat . It might have just been that particular turkey , but I like the way they turn out after brining . I've done the same test with chickens a few different times and made the decision I'd brine those in the future also .

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