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Brining an already salt injected frozen turkey?

I was planning on using Alton Brown's turkey recipe this year which includes brining and then roasting. I moved my turkey today from the freezer to the fridge to defrost for a few days and noticed it is injected with a salt solution. I am wondering if it's still okay to brine this or will it come out too salty? I know you need to rinse the salt off after brining so not sure if this is okay. Should I use less salt or not brine at all? This is my first year trying to brine so I have no clue. The turkey was a free one from my grocery store from spending so much, so I suppose I could still buy one without the salt injection. What do you guys think?

By the way, it is a Riverside young turkey and it says it is moistness enhanced by injection w/ approximately 8% solution of: turkey broth, salt, sodium phosphates, sugar & flavoring.

HELP!!! I need to buy the brining bag, container, and spices this weekend if I am gonna do this...

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  1. The salt injection produces pretty much the same result as a brine, so brining isn't necessary and would probably make your turkey to salty.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Humbucker

      NO probably about it! Brining a pre-basted, injected, or kosher bird will result in a salt lick with gravy and dressing. Home brining will not flush out the commercial brine, just make it saltier. Also, it is unwise to brine a really huge bird (20+ lbs) because a long time is needed to get the salt to permeate the interior meat, by which time the surface meat is overly salty. In this case, an injected bird makes more sense since the process salts evenly throughout the meat.

      1. re: greygarious

        After much research and angst, I decided to brine my 21-lb frozen turkey injected with an 8% solution. I used Alton Brown's recipe slightly diluted (1cup of salt for 5 quarts of brine, then further diluted by water to cover turkey.) and left it in the brine for 8 hours. It was not only not overly salty, it cooked very quickly and was moist, tender, and flavorful.

        Some may argue, the brining was a waste of time and the solution injected did the trick, but the bird was noticeably heavier and larger after brining. I have also never in 30 years of cooking Thanksgiving had a turkey (including past pre-basted ones) where the meat nearly fell off bones, making getting all the meat off a breeze.

        What made me decide to go for it was a site where two sisters did a test with identical injected turkeys (one brined, one without) and agreed brining was worth it.

    2. I say go for it. The brining will flush out the nasty concoction created by the factory. Use your brine to flavor infuse your bird by adding various turkey friendly herbs to the mix.

      1. This subject makes me laugh. My mother used to furiously reject "those #%$$&%^ injected turkeys" as being an abomination. Maybe it's fortunate for her that she passed before everybody started brining and injecting their own turkeys that weren't already done. She's probably spinning in her grave as I type. She was a really good cook, but also inclined toward dilettantism. I'm guessing brining is this year's and last year's version of the fried turkey of several years back- everybody's doing it now but its occurrence will probably diminish with time, partly because it's kind of messy and the time involved.

        We usually get a fresh, natural, 'nonabomination' turkey and don't brine it (but then I always get a 20+ pounder and I'm not sure ours is that much better or worse than most others I've had,). I separate the skin from the meat wherever it will separate and stuff the space with olive or roasted walnut oil, salt, pepper, and whatever herbs we have fresh at the time put more of the same in the cavity, and cook it on the Weber indirect. It's always really, really good, but last year the brined ones we had last year at bro-in-law's were pretty darn good, too.

        1. Do NOT brine a salt injected turkey unless you want to end up at Panda Express for Thanksgiving dinner.

          1 Reply
          1. re: slewfoot

            I have to thank everyone for responding and I am laughing at a few. I have decided NOT to brine it per your answers and my own research. I was up for trying it but it will have to wait til next year. I don't want to ruin Thanksgiving dinner! I have decided to go with Giada's roast turkey recipe. The reviews are stellar and hopefully it will turn out well! Wish me luck & thanks again!

          2. How do I KNOW if my frozen turkey is salt-injected? It doesn't say it right on there.. I have this Frozen Young Turkey from Butterball.
            Ingredients: Turkey, Water, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Phosphates, Natural Flavorings.
            Or maybe I have the Fresh one?
            Still, Ingredients: Whole Young Turkey. Contains up to 8% of a solution of Water, Salt, Spices to Enhance Tenderness and Juiciness.

            It has salt in the ingredients. *sigh* I was looking forward to trying a brine this year.

            1 Reply
            1. re: makelifeinteresting

              If a poultry label says salt, there is already plenty of salt in there. If you want to brine or marinate your poultry, the content on the label should say "chicken", or "turkey", or whatever other species of bird it may be - and NOTHING else. Unless you have a preference for extremely salty-tasting food, do not brine further, and do not use any marinade containing salt or salty ingredients (e.g. soy sauce). You WILL ruin the meal if you do.

            2. Again, there are two schools of thought on brining a processed bird.

              First think of what that process includes. Most of the turkeys on the market are infused with a salted soultion, fats and possibly a brothy misture. This is pre-brined.

              So whats the point of brining it again? You will attain a better flavor profile with your own brining solution. It will certainly still have some of the brine that was used at the factory, but I am of the opinion it will still produce a better bird. And I have done this when smoking massive amounts of turkeys at once. In this case I brined and smoked a variety of turkeys all from different families wishing for me to smoke their own holiday bird. Each turkey tasted the same and had the same tenderness.

              We brine to enhance the flavor of a fairly flavorless piece of meat. We also brine to enhance the tenderness, as the soultion breaks down the meat and increases the moisture considerably.

              The best solution, of course, is to use a better, all natural unprocessed turkey. If you are really excited about using a brine, try the process on a chicken. Or a pork butt. Or donate your Butterball to a charity or a needy family and buy a natural bird.

              Have a happy holiday!

              1 Reply
              1. re: DallasDude

                I have never had a problem brining an injected Turkey. I use Alton's brining methods. I brine longer than recommended with additional brine (usually a +22 lb. bird though. I am very happy with the results and am on my 6th season using this method. The last 3 by cooking the bird via a pellet smoker.

              2. Brining a turkey does NOT make it salty. It helps preserve moisture. If you brine a butterball/frozen/injected turkey, it will impart a delicious juicy flavor. It will NOT make it a "salt lick". I have cooked a turkey this way many times. I use Alton Brown's brine recipe.

                1. The definitive answer is: it depends. You can if you want. You don't have to. It won't be markedly better or worse either way, as long as it has some sort of brine in it somehow.

                  This time of year we are doing up to 32 birds a day, using a mixture of Fresh all-natural unbrined and frozen injected birds, which we then either wet-brine or dry rub and air-dry, depending upon time pressures and our guests' needs. By the time we are done cooking them they all taste the same, because the process matters more.

                  We adjust our brine intensity and type depending upon whether the bird is injected, but it doesn't vary much. Brining an injected bird does not make for a salt-lick or overly salty gravy, because if the drippings are a bit strong you can thin them with stock. You *do* have 110 gallons of stock on hand, right?