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Question about brining a Butterball

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jeremyc50, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. jeremyc50

    jeremyc50 Newbie

    My wife and I are hosting our first thanksgiving for the family and I wanted to cook the best Turkey possible.

    I have a 18lbs Butterball turkey. My plan was to use the Slaughter house brine, injection and spritz.  However I have recently read that you are not suppose to brine a butterball turkey because it is already enhanced and will therefore be too salty.

    Can I brine this Turkey or now? For how long? Can I still use the Slaughter house injection?

    The turkey said "Up to 8% of a solution of water, 2% or less of salt, natural flavors, food starch, and sodium phosphates added to enhance tenderness and juicyness"

    Please help,

  2. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You should not brine this turkey.  It is already wetted.

    You can inject a marinade it you want to, though usually only an under the skin seasoning injection is required along with a body cavity seasoning rub. 
  3. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I haven't used Tips recipe yet but will say it's a reduced sodium formula from what I use. I say use Tips formula and enjoy that bird. Tip's a respected member here and know's a thing or two. Oh, Don't forget the Qview! [​IMG]
  4. richc

    richc Fire Starter

    It won't make it too salty unless your brine is too salty. What will happen is that the solution inside and outside of the bird will reach an equilibrium of saltiness. You might want to cut a little bit of the salt out, but not a too much. 
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with Bbally with this one and agree that you shouldn't brine this bird. Now you can inject it with some of the spices that you want in it anyway. Then just smoke it to the recommanded temp 165* in the breast.
  6. kfhaggerty

    kfhaggerty Newbie

  7. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You can brine anything you want but the question becomes "Why".  Butterballs are previously injected and generally cook up pretty moist with just minimal additional work.  That's one reason you pay a prime price for them.   You are correct, you can brine it, but I agree with the other posters, no need.  If you want to add flavor do a well seasoned butter injections and rub down the surfaces.  
  8. dairyman

    dairyman Fire Starter

    I brined a 14# butterball a few days ago and it turned out good. Not salty at all. I used tips brine.
  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I believe the question concerning brining doesn't have anything to do with salt.  We are pretty comfortable thinking that a well prepared brine will not add too much salt to a turkey or chicken.  The purpose of a brine is to add moisture and flavor (seasonings).  As the salt and water move in and out of the bird, trying to reach an osmotic balance, seasonings are carried into the bird.  The bird will normally pick up a bit of salt (if none was injected previously) and the accompanying moisture will be retained to keep the osmotic balance between the bird and brining solution.  If a bird has been previously brined or injected, chemistry still tries to equalize the concentration of salt (electrolytes) between the bird and brining solution.  The previously injected, brined bird will lose seasoning and flavor if the concentration of salts in the brine is less than originally found in the bird.  Remember Osmosis works both ways, adding or removing moisture and seasonings depending on the osmotic pressure differential between the interior of the bird and the brine solution.

    I believe that a Butterball will lose some of the previously injected moisture enhancers if you brine it.  The bird will still be delicious but probably not have the "Butterball" taste you are purchasing. 

    When you soak a country ham in water you are using Osmotic pressure differentials to remove some of the salt from the ham to make it edible.  That's the reason you have to keep the water changed.
  10. lostirishfan

    lostirishfan Newbie

    I did a butterball that was injected last week. I used half the salt the recipie called for and only brined for 8 hours instead of 10-12. Turned out great.
  11. I have brined a Butterball Turkey before but with only a small amount of salt of a regular brine - I use mostly applejuice, garlic, brown sugar, onion powder and cut up lemons and oranges etc. - turns out great - just cut the salt way back or completely out of your brine - Did one recently brined in Cranberry Juice and it was really good!
  12. richc

    richc Fire Starter

    You really don't have to cut back that much on the salt, and removing it completely would defeat the purpose of the brine.
  13. I called Butterball and they said that brining their turkeys is absolutely fine, although not necessary.  Maybe use a little less salt .