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Nov 25, 2008 07:31 PM

brining turkey in a plastic bucket

i know that generally, you're supposed to brine in a stainless steel or other-non reactive container, but i don't have a pot large enough to hold my turkey. are there any horrible adverse consequences to brining in a plastic (rubbermaid) bucket? i've been reading some online accounts about petrochemicals leaching into food. i'm not sure whether or not the bucket is food safe (it was probably more intended to be used for mopping or something like that). thoughts anyone?

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  1. no problem at all, you can also use a plastic ice chest.

    1. Or a large this garbage bag.


      1. I would second putting it into a platic bag.

        Are you going to put the whole bucket into the fridge? I saw MIng on something this week and he was cautioning about the need to keep the temperature down during the brining process. It needs to be refrigerated while brining. He suggested using a chest cooler. Put in the brine (which he made with both sugar and salt) and then adding bags of ice to keep the temperature down. Smart.

        I brined a largish roasting hen last year in a very large pottery bowl and it worked well. But I did become paranoid about cleaning a bunch of times before I used it again.

        5 Replies
        1. re: pengcast

          A cooler!!! Thanks for this idea, I was wondering how the heck was I going to 1. find a pail big enough to hold my turkey, 2. get it in to my fridge. Plastic bag, cooler and Ice. That is all I need! Thanks!

          1. re: amberonskja

            Yep, I used a cooler for many years. It made it easy as well to transport around. It won't fit in most fridges, but on most Thanksgiving Eve, it's been cold enough for me to stick it outside.

            1. re: kobuta

              It's going right outside on the patio, no fuss-no muss. With a few bags of ice around and on top, I (now) have no worries :)

              1. re: amberonskja

                only worry would be if you get raccoons in your area.

                1. re: hill food

                  I'm on the second floor, not that it would stop those critters but all is right with the world. Brought it in today and now its in the kitchen, in the 80's today (Los Angeles)so I thought it best to bring it. There are raccoons in the area because I live close to the hills but I personally haven't had a problem with them.

        2. Ditto the rec for plastic (or garbage) bag.

          Just make sure to double-bag so that you don't get an accident puncture.

          1. Some alternatives to a plastic bucket:

            -Try using one of your fridge's vegetable drawers to brine the turkey in.
            -Try a 16 qt or 20 qt stockpot if you have one.
            -Line the plastic bucket with a food grade plastic bag and brine in that.

            Keep the brining turkey cool.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Antilope

              I left my frozen turkey on the kitchen counter last night. This morning it is thawed but still cold to the touch. Will I kill us all or is it okay?

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I do it all the time for years...since that '3' defrost in the fridge has never worked for me :).

              1. re: Antilope

                I've always gone with the vegetable drawer approach. Won't work for a large bird, but if you can fit the sucker in there, it's great, out of the way, in the cold part of the fridge.

                I don't recommend trying to get the crisper full of turkey and brine out of the fridge as is, though. Start by taking the turkey out, and then use a bowl or pot to take pots of brine out and lighten the load before you try to pull the crisper out of the fridge and end up with your entire kitchen soaked in brine and your turkey on the floor.

                Not that I learned that from experience, or anything.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  Ok, did I listen to the is advice first off...NOOOOOOO...did I avert catastrophe....barely but your words came back before I actually started walking with my turkey and 'tub o' brine' that I could hardly lift. Thank you very much for the warning!

                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                    I really like this method, too, mostly because it neatly keeps the raw turkey and brining bag away from other foods so it is another good step toward avoiding cross-contamination. It's a bonus our fridge drawer fits into the dishwasher later to make sure any raw turkey juices are completely cleaned off.

                  2. re: Antilope

                    very innovative. i would never have thought about using a fridge drawer