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Oct 8, 2011 12:13 PM

NEW turkey brining question! Any experts on-line?

I'm a flexitarian. I only eat meat once a week that's been sustainably and humanely raised. I bought a beautiful 16 lb. turkey at a huge price for our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend but now I have less people coming for dinner. I thought it was a brilliant idea to have a butcher saw the frozen bird in half. So now, I have an 8 lb. half turkey to cook tomorrow. My question is: can I or should I brine it with all that exposed flesh?

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  1. for the last 2 years I've done "dry-brining" following Cooks Illustrated magazine. I think it will work for your half bird. Using chopstick or any blunt end small tool - separate the skin from meat. Insert kosher salt between skin & meat, then massage the bird from outside to evenly distribute the salt.. Apply salt also in the cavity. Leave the bird 24-48 hrs in the fridge. Rinse with cold water (between skin & meat) and towel dry before roasting. (5 Tbs salt for 12-14 lbs bird).
    Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I have brined cut birds (chicken and game hens) with no issue.CI also has some wet brining info. Alton Brown did a show on it, too ( There are lots of recipes, but follow the Cooks Illustrated brine ratios and season as you wish.

      Here is a recipe from foodnetwork for brining a cut up turkey Some folks brine turkey breasts.

      Go for it!

      (Oh, and always brine in the refrigerator or other cold place or with ice. Always.)

      1. You'll be fine brining the bird with the exposed flesh. I often brine chicken parts before barbecuing to keep them moist, and the exposed flesh isn't an issue.
        Have a great dinner, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

        1. I think you are fine to brine a half turkey. One hint that I have learned though is to brine 2 days ahead. Then rinse and let the bird sit uncovered in a refrigerator 1 day ahead so the skin will be dry and get nice and brown when roasting. I use Alton Brown's brine recipe form food tv and this has not failed me yet.

          1. I often brine the pieces when I do roasted chicken parts (it's faster than roasting a whole chicken), so I don't think brining could hurt for 1/2 turkey.