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Gravy for a Brined Turkey?

jennielap Nov 16, 2011 10:58 AM

I am planning to buy my turkey from Trader Joe's (which is selling brined turkeys). However I read that you can't use the pan drippings from a brined turkey, as they will make the gravy too salty, So my question is how do I make a decent gravy WITHOUT pan drippings? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  1. todao Nov 16, 2011 11:12 AM

    Taste the drippings. If they're too salty:

    1. biondanonima Nov 16, 2011 11:23 AM

      I always brine (or dry-brine) my turkey and I've never had a problem with using the drippings for gravy. I make sure to have plenty of salt-free broth on hand, and use just enough of the drippings to get the gravy to the saltiness level that I want. However, you can make a perfectly serviceable gravy with just butter, flour and stock - even canned stock will work just fine.

      1. j
        Jenny Ondioline Nov 16, 2011 11:29 AM

        Every year, as I make a delicious gravy with the pan drippings from my equally delicious brined turkey, I take a moment to feel bad for the people who think they can't use the pan drippings from a brined bird for gravy.

        Common sense dictates that if the pan drippings are inedibly salty, then your turkey will be as well, so you're screwed already. But the drippings from a properly-brined bird aren't too salty, and as long as you take care not to add salt to your gravy until the pan drippings have been incorporated (it may need more salt, it may not), then you're fine.

        Assuming you're not using salt-laden canned chicken broth to make your gravy, which I suspect is the real culprit in salt-lick gravy. Using real homemade stock or even a decent low-sodium commercial broth (Swanson's Natural Goodness line isn't bad in a pinch) will make a better gravy.

        1. s
          sheiladeedee Nov 16, 2011 12:21 PM

          I always brine my turkey, and avoid overly salty gravy by making a separate batch of stock ahead of time for the gravy. I use turkey wings - I don't season them, but rub them in a little oil and roast them until dark brown with some onion and carrot. I then add water to the roasting pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, and cook gently for a couple of hours - in the oven is fine. Strain the stock and de-fat it. Use this for your gravy, adding some of your pan drippings and checking carefully for saltiness as you add them.

          1. l
            laliz Nov 16, 2011 01:25 PM

            news to me. I've made gravy many times from a brined turkey ~~ it was never too salty

            2 Replies
            1. re: laliz
              jennielap Nov 17, 2011 10:11 AM

              I saw it in the "New York Times" so it must be true. lol. I'm going to make the stock myself without salt and taste taste taste. Thanks for the advice all.

              1. re: laliz
                sheiladeedee Nov 17, 2011 10:38 AM

                Many of the people I cook for are avoiding salt in general, so I prefer a relatively salt free gravy that the rest of us can season to taste. I love salt, and agree that a properly brined turkey's drippings are fine for gravy, but if you are dealing with those who won't eat what I consider a properly seasoned gravy, this is a way to do it.

              2. f
                ferret Nov 16, 2011 01:32 PM

                People unfamiliar with the concept assume the turkey will taste like a salt lick. It's no saltier than if you seasoned it yourself - so, depending on your tastes you may not have to add salt to the gravy.

                1. twyst Nov 17, 2011 10:14 AM

                  "However I read that you can't use the pan drippings from a brined turkey, as they will make the gravy too salty"

                  This is just bad information. All roasted turkeys should be brined, and making gravy from their drippings is fine.

                  1. jen kalb Nov 17, 2011 10:42 AM

                    In a word, no. the drippings are delicious. Please note that after brining you wash off your bird, so there should be no visible on the surface or inside. The turkey isnt overly salty, neither are its drippings. that said, I do not season my stock . If there is inadequate salt, the gravy is seasoned at the end.

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