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Nov 16, 2011 10:58 AM

Gravy for a Brined Turkey?

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.

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: laliz

              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

                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.