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Nov 22, 2008 04:22 PM

On Brining: H McGee

a link to his brining discussion in the NYT:

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  1. This article is being discussed in this Food Media thread:

    1. I always here that you can't make gravy from the drippings of a brined bird but I have never had a problem with it. I have used the Alton Brown brine for the last three years but I think I will go with something different this year; maybe a brine with maple syrup.

      1. McGee is just wrong. (Pause, wait for lightning bolt to strike.)

        Some of his claims are plausible. Maybe an ubrined turkey does taste "meatier." That's subjective enough that there's room for a difference of opinion. But the claim that you can’t use the drippings from a brined turkey to make gravy is just silly. I've been making gravy from brined chichens and turkeys for better than a decade and they've never been too salty.

        Time for a Harold McGee throwdown...

        3 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          While I agree with you alan, I also think it depends on the bird that is being brined.

          Brining works with fresh turkeys -- self-basting, frozen, or Kosher turkeys have already been salted and brining makes them less than desireable.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            excellent clarification, ipsedixit - I get fresh local bird, and love the brining AND the gravy I make from the pan drippings.
            My first thought was
            a. omg mcgee how *could* you
            b. his brine must be too dang salty

            1. re: ipsedixit

              there's a common misunderstanding about salting kosher poultry. The process of koshering involves salting for a very brief (relatively) period--less than an hour--and then a rinsing. The intent is to remove any remaining blood from the meat in accordance with kosher law, not seasoning. kosher poultry always needs to be seasoned just like any other non-preseasoned bird.

          2. I also have been making delicious gravy from the drippings of brined meats. And while I usually dont need to add salt to the gravy, its never too salty.

            If someone were particulary picky about not having foods too salty, one could always use a homemade salt-free turkey or chicken stock to add to the pan drippings, rather than a salted stock or storebought broth.

            1. We only use about 1/2 cup of kosher salt, and leave the bird in the brew overnight. I can't say I've noticed any difference between salt only and adding a bunch of other stuff to the soup (apple juice, herbs, whatever), but neither are the drippings too salty to be used.