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Purpose of brining a turkey?

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by blacknosecorey, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. blacknosecorey

    blacknosecorey Fire Starter

    I searched the forums but didn't see an answer to my question:  What is the purpose for brining a turkey before smoking?  Also, anyone have a good brine recipe?
  2. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Take a look at the wiki section, lots of great knowledge in there[​IMG]. To answer your question brining adds alot of moisture to the meat, once you've brinied a bird you will be hooked. Here's a wiki on the subject and feel free to modify flavors to your choice. [​IMG]

  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

  4. blacknosecorey

    blacknosecorey Fire Starter

    Thanks for the fast response.  Sort of excited to break in this new electric smoker.  Usually I smoke the Thanksgiving turkey on a brinkman smoke n grill.  Don't know what I'll do with the extra time I'll have on my hands.
  5. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Smoked side dishes! [​IMG]
  6. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Brining raising the boil point of the water, changes the water activity in the product.  You lose less water vapor by brining during the cooking process.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    When I have brined a turkey they came out really moist and the spices are deeper into the bird too. Now this whole changing the boilng point Bob know all that good stuff and he is a major wealth of knowledge here and I do res[ect him too. I just know that my turkeys taste better when I brine them.
  8. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    What is the difference/ effect of using the Kosher Salt vs Table salt vs sea salt?

    Thanks in advance, jerry
  9. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Jerry- here is the answer to your question from the Food Network:

    Kosher vs. table vs. sea salts

    Q: What is the difference between kosher salt, sea salt, and table salt?

    A: For the cook's purposes, the main difference between salts is in their texture. Table salt's fine granules dissolve quickly, making it the preferred salt of bakers. Sea salt and kosher salt possess larger, irregular grains that add a delightful crunch and hit of briny flavor when sprinkled on food at the last minute. Generally, savvy cooks prefer kosher salt when cooking, since its coarse texture is easier to take a pinch of when seasoning savory dishes.

    Chemically there is little difference between kitchen salts. All are at least 97 1/2 percent sodium chloride. But there are significant differences in the provenance and processing of these salts.

    Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits, and includes a small portion of calcium silicate, an anti-caking agent added to prevent clumping. It possesses very fine crystals and a sharp taste. Because of its fine grain a single teaspoon of table salt contains more salt than a tablespoon of kosher or sea salt.

    Sea salt is harvested from evaporated seawater and receives little or no processing, leaving intact the minerals from the water it came from. These minerals flavor and color the salt slightly. However, because these salts are usually expensive, it is worth keeping in mind that they lose their unique flavor when cooked or dissolved.

    Kosher salt takes its name from its use in the koshering process. It contains no preservatives and can be derived from either seawater or underground sources. Aside from being a great salt to keep within arm's reach when you are cooking, it is particularly useful in preserving, because its large crystals draw moisture out of meats and other foods more effectively than other salts.

    Food Network Kitchens  
  10. Instead of brining, get a good marinade like creole butter and inject it into the bird. Alot easier than brining and you get a better effect. I tried it and won't switch back now.[​IMG]
  11. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is what I'm using for my brine, I hope it helps..... ShoneyBoy.....


    I usually start with:

    1/2C Kosher salt

    1TBS Garlic powder,

    1TBS Onion powder  

    1 Gallon of water

     Heat the water to at slight boil then add all of the ingredients while stirring the mixture, allowing the sugar and salt to dissolve completely. Next allow the mixture to cool completely back to room temperature. I have several food grade buckets that I keep for food prep in the kitchen that will fit in my refrigerator or my ice chest. I like to wash my turkey inside and out really well before I put it in the bucket, then I pour the mixture over the turkey until covered by at least 1”. I will let it set in the refrigerator or iced down in an ice chest for no longer than 12 hours. From past experiences any longer it seems to make the breast meat a little “mushy” to me. We have an ice shed where I live that sells 16lbs bags of ice. I have, in the past, used the bags for brining my turkeys in too. Same thing, put the turkey in the bag, fill the bag, squeeze out any excess air out and tie the bad shut. This works very well when in an ice chest, but not very well in the refrigerator the bags seem to leak sometimes. You can add anything that you like to the brine this is just the one that my family seems to like....
  12. alaskabgenut

    alaskabgenut Newbie

    I have brined every turkey since 2001.  A trick I learned from Emeril on Food TV Nework.  In addition brining, I used a temperature gauge and cook to 165F then let it rest.  This year, I will be smoking a turkey in my XL BGE.  Hopefully, it will be warmer than -30F outside when I do it.  However, I have a Rock's BBQ Stoker to monitor and control the temp on my laptop, from the comforts of my recliner in front of the TV with a drink.  BBQ is not just a summer time activity anymore, it is a way of life.  I do it year round, thou.gh extreme cold is hard on the body, but not the BGE
  13. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have brined and I have injected IMHO brining wins hands down.  Your meat won't be discolored and you dont risk the trouble of contaminating your food with the needle.  I still inject my fried turkeys though but they cook so fast no worry about the danger zone.
  14. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    I brine and then inject. Give it a try and you will not be sorry. I modified the Slaughter house Hillbilly tips I found on this forum. Give it a try!

    Poultry Brine
    1 ½ Gal Water
    ½ C Salt - Kosher
    ½ C Dark Brown  Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
    2 tsp Celery Seed

    Poultry Injection
    ½ Pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    3 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
    2 C Apple Cider
  15. franklin3

    franklin3 Fire Starter

    I dont mean to be a hijacker but I have a question.

    Heres the background

    Two days ago my son and son in law droped by with a couple nice wild tom turkeys and a couple ducks.

    I imedietly boned them out and put them in a brine.

    24hrs later I took them out of the brine and placed them in vacuum sealed bags  and back in the fridge.

    I was planning to smoke them tomorrow morning.

    does anyone seee anything wrong with this?
  16. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    That shouldn't be a problem. I have done a few wild turkeys and I do them the same as domesticated turkeys.

    One other purpose of brining is to draw the blood out of the bird.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  17. smokinrick

    smokinrick Newbie

    Brined mine two days, Two big turkeys in individual med. trash bags in a cooler full of ice.

    1 gal water

    1/2 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup kosher salt

    1 quart Yoshidas gourmet teriyaki sauce

    handful dried red pepper

    6 bay leaf

    1 tbsp black pepper

    Used split oak on lump hardwood charcoal 8 hours @ 220 in a side box unit over a water pan. These were 19 and 22 lbs. Big feed tonight. Happy Thanksgiving all.

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  18. delavanks1

    delavanks1 Newbie

    with all this help I really don't know which to choose

    I am thinking about Butter Milk

    What say you
  19. Brine that bird!  It will be very juicy and full of flavor, I highly recommend it.  I have been brining for years - turkey, chicken, salmon, tenderloin - the difference is amazing.  I found a great container this year, The Briner, something new and you should check it out.  I bought it on line, and it worked like a charm.  Handled our 23 lb Thanksgiving Turkey with room to spare, and I didn't need a heavy bowl to weigh the bird down.  This thing is pretty slick.  Will grab some photo's of my next round of beer can chickens after I stuff a few of them in The Briner first.