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Oct 7, 2009 06:26 PM

Roasting time for a brined turkey

Is it just me, or is the roasting time shorter for a turkey that's been brined (vs. a non-brined turkey of the same weight)?

We usually brine, and I find it knocks 1 to 2 mins per pound off the cooking time (i.e. until 155 degrees is reached in the inner thigh).

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  1. 155* in the thigh?? You do mean 165* ...right?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Uncle Bob

      Nope, I meant one fiver fiver.

      And then you let it rest covered for a half hour and thigh temp goes to about 162-164 in our experience.

      This very site has a recipe with those same parameters:

      You'll often find the turkey police telling you to do things like roast it to 165 and even 175.

      Ignore. These. People.

    2. We dry brine, and have found no difference in cooking time, only difference is that it is the MOST juicy turkey we ever had. EVER. If anything, it takes less time, and it browns BEAUTIFULLY.

      Why would wet brining it make it cook for less time?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        > "If anything, it takes less time..."

        That was the point I was making. It SEEMS to take less time with a brined bird. Though maybe there are other factors at work.

        Ours are always wet brined but then rinsed and left to dry thoroughly in the fridge for at least 18 hours before the oven.

        1. re: Brennius

          Aaah. Okay. But my point was said b/c I use convection to roast it and that does cut down on time & temp considerably.

          But again, don't you factor that in in your timetable - the extra 18+ hours to dry the bird??

          I'm tellin' ya, dry-brining is the WAY TO GO. Your bird will already be dried and brined at the SAME time. Don't need that extra 1/2 day to dry it.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            I can't say I ever find it necessary to dry a bird in the fridge more than a few hours irrespective of whether I brine or not. I still rinse the brid, dry well with paper towels and allow to air dry in the fridge.
            With dry brining doesn't that require salting 2-4 days in advance?
            I really need to try that.

            1. re: Fritter

              The bigger the piece of meat, the longer it can sit.

              For a 12-14 lb. bird, I think I left it in for at least two days. So, yes, you want to do it a couple of days in advance, meaning if it's a frozen bird, you have to thaw it about a week ahead, in the fridge. Rinse & pat dry. Heavily salt and sit over a rack on a sheet pan lined with foil or paper towels. I think it takes up less room in the fridge, than some huge pot with water+bird in it. I don't think I could even lift that into my fridge, I can imagine how heavy it would be.

            2. re: Phurstluv

              The extra time doesn't matter; it's not like we have to do anything during the process.

              Tried the dry brining approach, but we found it made the bird too salty (our experience was like the one described here:


              We don't put the immersed turkey in the fridge, it simply goes into an insulated picnic cooler with ice cubes.

              1. re: Brennius

                I have never dry brined and had something be too salty. And I do it now for almost everything, steaks, roasts, chops, birds. My husband loves salt, but I am quite sensitive to it, my mom used to cook low salt, so I know when something's over-salted.

                You can't use table salt, only kosher or any large grain, coarse salt & seasoning mix. For steaks & chops I use Montreal steak seasoning instead of just kosher salt. You can also rinse off or wipe off the salt/seasoning before cooking if you fear it is too much. But I have never had to do that either - and have been doing it this way for a few years. Maybe just lucky, I guess.

        2. I don't find any appreciable difference in cooking time when I brine a turkey. A minute per pound could be attributed to many variables.

          1. I can recall some scientific explanation from some on this site claiming the fact there there is more moisture absorbed into the flesh of the turkey, it actually heats differently and there is a steaming component entered withing the turkey itself during the cooking process....and thus does indeed cook faster......

            I cannot tell you if this is true or not.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fourunder

              I've been roasting turkey for 25-yrs. for my family of 18 since my mother passed in 1987 (all previously-frozen birds), but only the last 5-years have I been brining it with salt and brown sugar. I've noticed 3X now that my roasted brined turkey is a tad drier compared to the non-brined turkey (I use Narsai David's roasting chart and my non-brined turkey(s) were never dried). So last year, I deliberately subtracted about 20-mins. from my usual roasting chart (we typically get a 22-lb. turkey) and it was fine but not as juicy. So, only once did it come out extremely juicy for me using the Narsai David chart. The other year was a small fresh turkey from Trader Joe's. I think there is a different roasting time for a brined vs. non-brined turkey, or, for a 12-lb. vs. 20-lb. turkey. I should just get another thermometer and problem solved.

              1. re: mtom920

                I prefer to roast two smaller turkeys, rather than one large one. I think the higher the roasting temperature, the drier the white meat....regardless of whether it's brined or not. I roast Low and Slow only at 225-275* and have never experience a dry turkey...and I do not brine.