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Brining a Turkey Lurkey

Discussion in 'Wackbag's Mean Cusine' started by distortion9, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. distortion9

    distortion9 Satellite Of Hate

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    So this will be my first time brining a bird. I'm going to use Alton Brown's famous recipe but was wondering if the brine solution is relative to the size of the bird. Do I need to scale down the recipe for a 5lb bird (Just me the wife and inlaws)? Will I wind up with a salty turkey lurkey if I don't?
     
  2. stevethrower

    stevethrower Got Sig?

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    I would think it would make it more salty etc if it was more concentrated...
     
  3. ruckstande

    ruckstande Posts mostly from the shitter.

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    Scale it down proportionately to how much vegetable stock you need to cover the bird.
     
  4. Fustercluck

    Fustercluck Registered User

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    I used Altons brine last year and it was fantastic, this year I'm going out on a limb and creating my own asian style brine for the bird.
     
  5. samurai

    samurai Ridiculum Anserini

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    I had planned on dry brining this year, but with my Mom still in the hospital, I'm not sure we're having a full blown T-giving. If anybody cares, I'll put the rationale/recipe in in a spoiler wrap to save space...

    Why this recipe works:

    Perfecting one aspect of a roast turkey usually comes at the cost of another. Crisp skin means dry white meat. Brining adds moisture, but can turn the skin soggy. And stuffing the cavity -compounds the headache, slowing the roasting time and upping the chance for uneven cooking. We wanted a turkey with everything: juicy meat, crisply burnished skin, and rich-flavored stuffing that cooked inside the bird.

    Unwilling to sacrifice crisp skin, we opted for salting over brining. Salting initially draws moisture out of the meat, but after a long rest in the refrigerator, all the moisture gets slowly drawn back in, seasoning the meat and helping it retain moisture. Next we turned to slow roasting and started the bird in a relatively low oven, then cranked the temperature to give it a final blast of skin-crisping heat and to bring the center up to temperature. It worked beautifully, yielding breast meat that was moist and tender. For even crispier skin, we massaged it with a baking powder and salt rub. The baking powder dehydrates the skin and raises its pH, making it more conducive to browning. We also poked holes in the skin to help rendering fat escape.

    Next we had to figure out a way to coordinate the cooking times of the stuffing and the breast meat. In most recipes, the breast meat is a bone-dry 180 degrees by the time the stuffing reaches a safe 165 degrees. We got around this by splitting the stuffing in half. We put half in the turkey and took it out when the bird was up to temperature. We moistened the stuffing with broth and combined it with the uncooked batch and cooked it all while the turkey was taking its post-oven rest. And for extra flavor, we draped the bird with meaty salt pork, which we removed and drained before cranking up the heat so the bird didn’t taste too smoky.

    Ingredients
    Turkey

    1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds), giblets and neck reserved for gravy, if making (see note)
    3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt (see note)
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    12 ounces salt pork , cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and rinsed (see note)

    Stuffing

    1 1/2 pounds white sandwich bread (about 15 slices), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter , plus extra for baking dish
    1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
    2 celery ribs , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
    Kosher salt and ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
    1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram leaves
    1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
    1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 36-inch square cheesecloth , folded in quarters
    2 large eggs

    Instructions

    1. FOR THE TURKEY: Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, separate turkey skin from meat on breast, legs, thighs, and back; avoid breaking skin. Rub 1 tablespoon salt evenly inside cavity of turkey, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt under skin of each breast, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt under skin of each leg. Wrap turkey tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.

    2. FOR THE STUFFING: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread cubes in single layer on baking sheet; bake until edges have dried but centers are slightly moist (cubes should yield to pressure), about 45 minutes, stirring several times during baking. Transfer to large bowl and increase oven temperature to 325 degrees.

    3. While bread dries, heat 4 tablespoons butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add onion, celery, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften and brown slightly, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in herbs; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetables to bowl with dried bread; add 1 cup broth and toss until evenly moistened.

    4. TO ROAST THE TURKEY: Combine remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt and baking powder in small bowl. Remove turkey from refrigerator and unwrap. Thoroughly dry inside and out with paper towels. Using skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs, 4 to 5 holes in each deposit. Sprinkle surface of turkey with salt-baking powder mixture and rub in mixture with hands, coating skin evenly. Tuck wings underneath turkey. Line turkey cavity with cheesecloth, pack with 4 to 5 cups stuffing, tie ends of cheesecloth together. Cover remaining stuffing with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Using twine, loosely tie turkey legs together. Place turkey breast-side down in V-rack set in roasting pan and drape salt pork slices over back.

    5. Roast turkey breast-side down until thickest part of breast registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove roasting pan from oven (close oven door) and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Transfer turkey in V-rack to rimmed baking sheet. Remove and discard salt pork. Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate turkey breast-side up. Cut twine binding legs and remove stuffing bag; empty into reserved stuffing in bowl. Pour drippings from roasting pan into fat separator and reserve for gravy, if making.

    6. Once oven has come to temperature, return turkey in V-rack to roasting pan and roast until skin is golden brown and crisp, thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, and thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees, about 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered, 30 minutes.

    7. While turkey rests, reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs and remaining 1/2 cup broth together in small bowl. Pour egg mixture over stuffing and toss to combine, breaking up any large chunks; spread in buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Bake until stuffing registers 165 degrees and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Carve turkey and serve with stuffing.

    Oh...this is from "America's Test Kitchen" Season 11: Thanksgiving Turkey. I'm sure you can find the video somewhere. Or just watch PBS.
     
  6. samurai

    samurai Ridiculum Anserini

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    To answer your initial question, here's a basic guideline...

    Brining Guidelines

    This chart can be used for general guidelines; however, in some cases recipes will specify different formulas and times:
    Cold Water Table Salt Sugar Time
    CHICKEN
    1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) 2 quarts 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 1/2 to 1 hour
    2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each) 2 quarts 1 cup 1 cup 1/2 to 1 hour
    4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (whole breasts, split breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/ordrumsticks 2 quarts 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 1/2 to 1 hour
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each) 2 quarts 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1/2 to 1 hour
    TURKEY
    1 turkey (12 to 17 pounds) 2 gallons 1 cup * 6 to 12 hours
    1 turkey (18 to 24 pounds) 3 gallons 1 1/2 cups * 6 to 12 hours
    1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 8 pounds) 1 gallon 1/2 cup * 3 to 6 hours
    PORK
    4 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12 ounces each), 1 1/2 inches thick 1 1/2 quarts 3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons 1 hour
    1 pork roast (3 to 6 pounds) 2 quarts 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1 1/2 to 2 hours

    * no sugar with Turkey
     
  7. metallikat87

    metallikat87 Well-Known Member
    It's My Birthday!

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    we always just make the alton brown recipe and add stock to cover the bird completely and its never been too salty
    just dont leave it in there for too long
     
  8. Creasy Bear

    Creasy Bear gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
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    Question... why the frick even bother cooking a 5 lb. toikey? Where the fuck did you even find a 5 lb. turkey? That fucker musta had AIDS.

    If you're going to go to the trouble of cooking a turkey, do a 10 pounder... at least. Is there anything better than leftover turkey, and is there ever too much?

    Turkey sammiches, turkey soup, turkey salad, shrimp gumbo, fried shrimp... oh wait... I jumped the tracks there.

    Anyway... turkeys are cheap as fuck this time of year... take advantage and do a big mo-hummer.
     
  9. metallikat87

    metallikat87 Well-Known Member
    It's My Birthday!

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    i skimmed and missed the 5lb part, where do you even get a 5 lber? is it just the breast?
    we have done that brine recipe for just a turkey breast but you do have to scale it down and dont do it for 24 hrs
     
  10. distortion9

    distortion9 Satellite Of Hate

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    Yeah, just the breast...In-laws bought it. Like I said, just 4 of us and we have a ham too.

    I've been trying to research this online. From what I gather, the brine is what it is and doesn't need to be scaled down, just the length of time needs to be adjusted.

    I'm thinking about cutting back a quarter cup on the salt and brining for 6-8 hours.
     
  11. luckie1710

    luckie1710 Registered User

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    I osted a dry rub for a turkeyt breast in the cheap food thread. Ive made it 4 or 5 times and thought it was great.
     
  12. Kugzilla

    Kugzilla Roar. Go: Eagles, Flyers, Philles, Buckeyes, etc.

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    I've made my own brine for years-Kosher salt, or Hawaiian Sea salt, and bazinga.
     

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