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Nov 10, 2008 07:02 PM

Store-brined turkeys

I just ordered a Mary's turkey from Whole Foods for Thanksgiving. The counterman said they use a company that does their brining week or two before ordering. I would like to brine myself but don't have the room or a large pot to hold the turkey. Does a pre-brined turkey make sense? Doesn't brining so far ahead change the texture of the meat?

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  1. All you need a an ice chest big enough to hold the turkey. Put the turkey in a large trash bag, fill with brine and place in the ice chest. Throw in a couple of bags of ice on top to keep things chilled and away you go.......

    The beauty of doing it yourself is that you control what's in the brine. There are so many variations (honey, fruits, spices, herbs, aromatics, etc.) that you can really have fun with it.

    1. A week or two of brining?? I don't think you want to give up this much control over how the turkey is handled. Find a large enough plastic garbage can to hold the brining turkey. I just had a great turkey, the friend who made it brined for four hours and then left the turkey, uncovered, in refrigerator overnight.
      The recipe is from Barbara Kafka's "Roasting, A Simple Art."

      1. Too far ahead does change the texture of the meat. I bought my brine at Whole Foods - called Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Mix and they have a nice big brining bag too. I used that and put it in a cooler of ice for overnight brining and it was absolutely amazing. You can probably buy Turkey Perfect online too. They say once you take the turkey out of the brine you can store it in the frig for up to 24 hours before cooking.

        1. So what did you order exactly? Do you have the option of having the bird pre-brined before you buy it? Do they brine all of them no matter what? If you have the option, get a bird that has not been pre-brined and do it yourself. If it's already been done, don't re-do it by any means, you'd just be wasting time, supplies and potentially a whole turkey.

          1. Today's NY Times discusses brined turkeys, says you can't make gravy out of them:

            2 Replies
            1. re: SSqwerty

              Also if you put proscuitto or bacon on top, the gravy has a terrible flavor. I only made that mistake once!

              1. re: SSqwerty

                I've always made gravy from my (home) brined turkey drippings. But then, I have never kept "the turkey covered with the solution for a few days, then let its surface dry out uncovered for a day or two before roasting.".