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Brined turkey

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I bought a pre-brined turkey from Trader Joe's for thanksgiving. It turned out to be the best turkey I ever made (all my friends can vouch for that) or have tasted. Unfortunately, TJ's no longer carries it. Does anyone know where I can get one, so that I can avoid the hassle of doing the brining myself?

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  1. You may want to find a kosher butcher as brining is part of the kosher process.

    1. for thanksgiving, our family bought a turkey and asked nanjing kitchen to make it "nanjing salted" style. it was actually quite salty. i think next time we'll ask for less saltiness. i'm not sure how it would compare to trader joe's brined turkey. they charge $20-25 to make the turkey (after you buy one and bring it to them), and an additional charge to cut it.

      Nanjing Kitchen
      706 W. Las Tunas Dr. #5 (in the back by the noodle factory)
      San Gabriel, 91776

      1. Which Trader Joe's did you try? I brought a pre-brined Kosher turkey at the TJ's on La Brea and Third (large selection of kosher stuff, I guess) just before Christmas. It turned out great. The only odd thing was that the skin wasn't crispy and crackly like it usually is, it was more dry and thin, but tasted fine anyway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chowpatty

          I too loved the brined turkey at TJs. I just checked with 2 stores (to be doubly sure), and they will DEFINITELY NOT have the turkeys for Christmas...back to square one!

          I'm going to check with Howe's...see if they have them. I've heard different stories about how easy/difficult it is to brine one at home. Any ideas?

        2. Just call any Trader Joe's and talk to the Manager. If it is in their computer as a stock item, they can probably order one for you. Their West coast product list is the same in all their computers. Hope your local TJ is as kindred as ours in that regard.

          Incidently, most commercially packed turkeys (fresh thawed or frozen) are already "brined" - usually 6%. Check the label. Any other brining is purely for flavor. I've even read a few articles that say don't brine a commercially packed turkey as it's just a waste of time since it's already been done for tenderness. Maybe some are better - Butterball, Market Fresh, . . . I'd just call Trader Joe's to see if the one you liked is on their stock list since you enjoyed that one for particular flavor. Hope you find one.

          Or, if you can find what flavors TJs used, that would be your answer, not simply any brining. There are many recipes of brine ingredients for varied results of flavor (from apple juice brine to pickling spice brine, and more).

          Best advice for a truly tender bird is (1) be sure to take it out before it reaches top temperature by about 10 degrees and let it sit for a half hour. It continues to cook and that's when many get more tough, and (2) get it to room temperature before roasting.

          Another hint - get a roaster with a lid and keep it ON for most of the roasting time, taking the lid off for the last hour to brown it. Many say to do just the opposite and roast uncovered until the last hour. But, I assure you, the roaster with a lid for the first several hours produces a very tender bird.

          Also, some people say roast with the breast side down for the first half. Haven't found that necessary with a lidded roaster. (Not just foil topped, but a proper fitting lid)

          Link below for much brining info, FYI.

          Link: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/bri...

          1. I do not want to brine my own bird either (no way do I have enough room in the fridge, especially in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast!). Fortunately, I found both organic or heirloom pre-brined turkey available at the Pasadena Whole Foods at $5.99/lb. Woohoo.

            2 Replies
            1. re: schuylar


              Wow, that's expensive. But if you really don't want to brine it yourself, I guess that's what it costs!

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                How about going to How's and ordering a Diestel turkey. They are organic and free ranged turkeys. They are so tender and moist that we don't brine them. $1.99/lb.

            2. Since TJs will not have bined turkeys for Christmas, does anyone know where else - outside Whole Foods @5.99/lb, you can buy brined fresh turkies?

              1. The how to brine a turkey discussion has been split and reposted here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468335

                1. I agree. I bought it 2 years ago and they didn't have it again until this year. It really is good. I bought a kosher brined one last year, which was not nearly as good and not completely de-feathered (yuck!). I was removing feathers for 2 hours with eyebrow tweezers. By the way, you stole my name. I am dkotler. I had to use a fake one.