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Deciphering Turkey Talk

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    Deciphering Turkey Talk

    Hi Fellow Pitmasters,

    I thought I understood the labeling speak on turkey packaging, but the turkey I ordered from Crowd Cow showed up with the following 2 phrases on the packaging. "Minimally Processed" & "May Contain up to 6% Retained Water".

    To me that says it was brined or injected, no?

    I don't want to dry brine it if it already has been brined already. I'm not cooking this bird for Thanksgiving, I'm cooking it this weekend to try some different techniques/flavor profiles. Right now it is in the fridge to begin the thawing process.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Minimally processed conjures some pretty weird images.
    Is it completely dead, partially plucked, did they leave half the guts in?
    I would agree that it was hit with some brine solution.
    Interested in any insights also.


      Retained water is just from the water chilling process.

      Minimally processed is to stand out from other turkeys that are maximally processed.


        Do you have the nutrition label, or can you get it from the site? That should tell you the sodium content. Armed with that, you can follow Huskee 's dry brining rule of thumb:

        200-300mg sodium, brine as if it weren't salted at all
        300-400mg sodium, brine lightly.
        400+mg, maybe skip brining.



        • efincoop
          efincoop commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you Kathryn, I never thought to check the sodium! The nutrition label on the turkey shows the sodium at 95mg. I guess that answers my question!

        Straight from the USDA on "minimally processed":

        A product labeled "natural" is a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed").

        If you ever want a headache, look at USDA/FDA definitions and labeling requirements and then all the loop holes and ambiguities contained within.
        Last edited by USMCCrashCrew89; November 23, 2021, 04:01 PM.


        • bbqLuv
          bbqLuv commented
          Editing a comment
          Label your post You Done Good.
          Would Spatchcock fall under "minimally processed"?

        • USMCCrashCrew89
          USMCCrashCrew89 commented
          Editing a comment
          I think spatchcocking could be argued either way but I would consider processing in terms of butchery different than processing in terms of preserving, cooking, or adding ingredients. I would probably argue the fact that spatchcocking is a service provided by the butcher by request of the consumer. I’ll step off my regulatory soapbox now.

        Thanks everyone. As you can see from my reply to Kathryn's post above this bird is probably not brined. Just to fill in a few more details in case anyone id thinking of sourcing a turkey from Crowd Cow (they are still 50% off) it is "pasture raised" from a farm in Minnesota. It is labeled as USDA grade A with no artifical ingredients and hormone free.


        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          Hormones and steroids have been illegal in poultry for decades.


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