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Dealing with Pre-Brined Turkeys

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    Dealing with Pre-Brined Turkeys

    Been tough finding turkeys this year that aren't already brined this year. Ca find them that aren't injected, but it seems Butterball and their competitors think we need their help. I could buy an organic bird at TJ's, but I am not paying $3.54 a pound for a bird. The one I have says 8% solution of broth, sugar, natural flavors, and sodium phosphate.

    Anyway, in his book Meathead said to not dry brine the turkey if it is a Kosher bird or has been pre-brined because they can be too salty. Ok...great. How can I tell just how heavily my bird has been pre-brined? I am planning on doing the ultimate turkey recipe he has in his book. The Simon & Garfunkle has no salt so I will definitely still add it. What have people experienced with their "juiced up" birds? Do you still spread some kosher salt the night before or do you leave it off. I will be smoking my pre-Thanksgiving trial bird tomorrow.

    #2
    I also don't want a pre-brined bird, but if that's all I could find, I just wouldn't add any more salt. You can always add salt at the table if there's not enough for your taste, but ya can't remove salt...

    Comment


    • jsaniga
      jsaniga commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, good call.

    #3
    I don't dry brine pre brined turkeys. But I do add a small sprinkle of salt to my rub if is doesn't have any, like the simon and garfunkle rub. Or I use regular store bought poultry seasoning like Spice Island or McCormick and add a little salt to it. I never measure though so I can't tell you how much; I add it until I can just taste the salt.

    Comment


    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      This is the answer!

    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      " I never measure . . . " Spoken like a real Pitmaster
      And applies for Beer, never count them either.

    • Irishpete33
      Irishpete33 commented
      Editing a comment
      I think this is right on! This way there’s no danger of over-salting the meat, but it also gives you a taste of the salt when you eat all the skin before the rest of the family sits down for the meal….

      Seriously, though - I’ve made some beautiful potato-chip-crispy skin that tasted like nothing because I didn’t add any salt to S&G rub before starting the cook.

    #4
    We buy TJ's pre-brined turkeys every year ($1.99/lb this year). I spatchcock them, slather with herbed butter, maybe a sprinkle of S & G or herb de provence. Always moist and flavorful. I do not add anymore salt.

    Comment


      #5
      Awhile back Huskee posted this guide. He might have changed it since that post:
      Look at the Nutrition label:
      200-300mg sodium, brine as if it weren't salted at all
      300-400mg sodium, brine lightly.
      400+mg, maybe skip brining.

      Comment


      • Rod
        Rod commented
        Editing a comment
        This is what I follow.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Don. This tends to work for most palates.

      • jsaniga
        jsaniga commented
        Editing a comment
        Great info! I am going to quote you in a lessons learned post. Mine was about 230mg and I didn't brine and I could tell. Thanks!

      #6
      We usually buy pre-brined boids, if I wet brine I use a quarter of the kosher salt called for and for no more than eight hours.
      My dry brine contains next to no salt so no biggie there.
      Salt wasn't an issue in the meat but if your doing pan gravy that's where it showed up for me.....wine consumption went thru the roof

      Comment


        #7
        We’re expecting our largest group ever for Thanksgiving. I went to the store hoping to get 3-12 lb birds that weren’t injected. What I came home with was 1-12 lb bird and a 21 lb bird, both are injected. I’ve already cooked, deboned and frozen both of them in the juices I recovered from the cook and some broth.. I didn’t brine either of them, I rubbed both with Simon and Garfunkel rub. They both turned out fine. This is my second year to precook the turkey. It makes Thanksgiving day so much easier.

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          You cook 2 weeks ahead, debone, freeze? Then what? How do you reheat and serve? What about gravy? Taters? Inquiring minds and all that.

        • Oak Smoke
          Oak Smoke commented
          Editing a comment
          I thaw the day before and put the meat in disposable aluminum pans then cover with foil. They go in the ovens at 250F about 10 am and come out near noon. I pour a lot of the liquid they have been cooking in into a separator and use the non grease part to make the gravy. My daughter brings the potatoes so I don’t have to be concerned about that. The meat that’s been frozen, thawed, and warmed in all those juices comes out incredibly moist. It’s not a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, but really good.
          Last edited by Oak Smoke; November 12, 2021, 09:45 PM.

        #8
        I'm actually doing a 13lb turkey with 200mg of sodium per serving tomorrow on my PBC as a test run. It's been a couple years. Normally I look for turkeys with 65mg, but with what appears to be a shortage I didn't want to risk not getting anything. I just liberally applied MH's poultry rub this evening. Will report back.

        Comment


          #9
          I've never found a turkey in a store that was pre-brined and injected. I don't we we have those kinds of stores around here that give a damn about fresh and unadulterated fowl.

          Comment


            #10
            So I just got done cooking a 13lb bird with 200mg of sodium. As mentioned above, I liberally applied MH's new poultry rub last night. Turned out effin amazing. Super juicy (injected breasts only) and definitely not salty. Hopefully I can repeat on Thanksgiving.

            I followed fzxdoc PBC method. Forgot to foil the legs, but was lucky as they did not burn.

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            Comment


            • jsaniga
              jsaniga commented
              Editing a comment
              Looks great! What did you inject the breasts with? And interesting rig for the turkey. I don’t think I have seen that before.
              Last edited by jsaniga; November 13, 2021, 09:26 PM.

            • Rod
              Rod commented
              Editing a comment
              jsaniga I used 50/50 butter and avocado oil. The cooker is a Pit Barrel Cooker. They are quite popular and incredible for poultry.

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