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Pineapple brine for turkey, anyone tried this?

I've decided to make a fresh non-Kosher turkey this year for Thanksgiving, and will brine it.

Came across several recipes for brines based on pineapple juice. Culling ideas from them, I put this original recipe together. Anyone else tried pineapple brines? My one concern is that this might be too sweet. Even after fully rinsing. What do you think?

4 quarts pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt)
6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
4-6 whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
Water as needed to cover bird

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  1. TrishU, there's a good deal of natural sugar in pineapples. Between the brown sugar, teriyaki sauce and maple syrup the brine sounds very sweet-sugary laden. Is that what you're going for? Also are you using fresh pineapple juice or canned? Pineapples can turn vinegar-y so how long do you brine?

    1. I plan on using canned pineapple juice and brining just overnight. We're eating early, around 1 p.m. So the turkey is going in the oven early a.m. I think I might omit the maple syrup.

      1. Well, this recipe sounds REALLY sweet. But my main concern would be that the enzymes in the pineapple juice are the same as those used in meat tenderizer (papayas, too...) and I'd be real concerned that it would break down the fibers to mush before cooking.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mamachef

          The enzymes in pineapple are only active in FRESH pineapple or juice. If it's a canned juice or fruit, they've been inactivated by the processing.

          Do not under any circumstances use fresh pineapple anything. It will turn the meat to paste.

          1. re: splatgirl

            I can vouch for this. I once turned what was supposed to be bulgogi into a slushy using fresh pineapple.

        2. Sounds like dessert to me. As in.... ummm, no. Borderline revolting, if I may say.

          1. Used it for two years for smoking turkeys. Pretty good for them, relatives said was "ono" ie, delicious. Pineapple has enzymes in it to help facilitate a juicier bird I have found which is necessary when smoking. Gambatte! (good luck)

            BTW, my recipe was mostly similar but omitted Teriyaki sauce (basically soy sauce and sugars anyway), and no thyme nor paprika. I used crushed pineapple, and have even used frozen orange or pineapple juice concentrate to make up the "juice's" 4 quart balance.

            Here is a recipe that I use and feel free to doctor it up!

            4 quarts pineapple juice
            2 cups brown sugar
            1 1/3 cups soy sauce
            1 cup light maple syrup
            1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
            6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
            4-6 whole bay leaves
            2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed
            Balance of water to cover bird.

            1. Bunch of cooks on the net use brines with canned pineapple juice. Anyone here tried it?

              I am going for it. Going to omit the maple syrup though. I'll let you know how it turns out.

              6 Replies
              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Trish----how about this idea: try the brine on a small chicken to see if you even like it before risking your T-day turkey. I'm curious, too---but I'm not sure about experimentation on the day of.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I use canned pineapple juice to marinate/brine pork quite regularly but have never tried it in a poultry brine.
                  I think 86ing the maple syrup is a great idea. IMO it's a wasted use of an expensive ingredient anyway. I'd let the teriyaki sauce go, too. Redundant when you're also using soy and sugar...

                  1. re: splatgirl

                    Agree splatgirl. I like the idea of the pineapple, think it will be flavorful.

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      trish - wondering if you liked your recipe? Have you made it again?

                      1. re: smilingal

                        Happy to update this thread. (I think I posted my results on another one.) I thought the brine was very good. Flavorful and not overpowering. I would do it again next Thanksgiving. Haven't made it since because I haven't made another turkey. The one surprise is the skin got very dark. I think the soy turned the skin brown. It was very tasty though and the meat was juicy and tender. Gravy turned out just fine and delicious.

                        EDIT: For some reason three pictures didn't upload so will post them in the next post.


                        1. The turkey.
                        2. Adding brine and plenty of ice.
                        3. Covering completely with brine.
                        4. Rinsed and ready to roast.
                        5. Schmeared with seasoned butter.
                        6. A platter of turkey on the table.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          The skin got dark because of all the sugar.

                2. Additional photos: I was too busy getting food on the table to get a photo of the whole bird. But I did get a few others.

                  EDIT: Wow, I am having problems, all my photos are not loading.... I tried adding three, but only one came out.... Will try one more time to add the other two in the post below.

                  1. My husband carves.

                  1. One more time:

                    1. Close up of the turkey.
                    2. Turkey platter.

                    EDIT: Photo upload did not work.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      Well, photos still aren't loading... I've resized them twice. I'll try once more.

                      EDIT: Success!

                      1. Close up of the turkey.
                      2. Turkey platter.

                    2. You are using 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt and 1 cup of soy sauce and 1 cup of teriyaki sauce which has a lot of soy sauce. That is a lot of salt dissolved into only 4 quarts of liquid. I would cut it back to 1 cup of salt, 1/2 - 2/3 cup soy and 1/2 - 2/3 cups teriyaki. You could even eliminate the teriyaki and use 1 cup soy sauce.

                      You have 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup maple syrup. I would use one or the other.

                      You have 6 garlic cloves cut in half. I would mince or press them.

                      I would only use 4 bay leaves as I find the bay flavor fairly strong but that is just me.

                      If you are using paprika to introduce some smokey flavor, I would use more of it. Maybe 3 tablespoons. You could use liquid smoke to introduce smoke flavor as an alternative.

                      Finally, your brine sounds better for pork than turkey. By the way, you do realize that this brine will darken your turkey, right?

                      Oops, I guess I was too late on the tip about the turkey being dark. I guess I really should have read all the posts... first.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        especially the post where she said it turned out wonderfully.

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          Great, make it with your changes and let me know how it turns out. ;-)

                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                            trish - thanks for coming back! Sounds great - thanks for the feedback!