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Need to brine but my turkey is still frozen

I was going to brine my turkey tonight.

The only problem, it's still frozen and I am not able to take the giblets out.

Is it still possible to brine it?

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  1. yes, doesn't matter if it is frozen or not.

    1 Reply
    1. Put your turkey in a cold waterbath; keep changing the water every few hours and turning it over until the bird is thawed enough to remove the giblets. Or, if only the cavity is frozen, run cold water in it until you can pry the giblets out. I don't suggest trying to brine a frozen bird as the brine will not penetrate ice. This is a "quick thaw" method. BTW, isn't brining four days before cooking (assuming you're cooking on Thanksgiving) a little much?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        I thought it was a tad early too, but then I figured the OP must want to air dry it on a rack for 24 hours...maybe???

        1. re: Cherylptw

          Alton Brown was interviewed on NPR the other day, and mentioned that it's fine to brine a frozen turkey. Just plop it into the brine and leave it until it's thawed. You ought to be able to get the giblets out once it's largely but not totally thawed. The neck will be brined but the bag should keep the giblets from being in much if any, contact with the brine.

          1. re: greygarious

            There is no harm in brining a frozen bird and as grey noted you will be able to remove the giblets, etc afterwards.

            There are two schools of thought about whether you need to change the water frequently. The cautionary side says to do it avoid any salmonella and other nasties from being given a ripe breeding ground. The others side say that if you keep it cold (fridge, insulated cooler with ice, etc) there is no need to change the water/

            I fall firmly in the latter though I have never brined a frozen bird. If it is kept cold it will be fine/

            1. re: foodieX2

              42 degrees or below is safe - in this weather that means it could be outside in a box or a cooler or whatever if you have no space.

              1. re: PesachBenSchlomo

                "in this weather" means depending on where you live.

                For all we know the OP is southern Fla. <grin>

        2. You cannot brine a frozen turkey.

          3 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster

            You can dry brine a frozen bird as it thaws in the fridge, but you need to start it today. It's my preferred method over wet brining anyway.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              alton's other method for thawing the frozen turkey is to just let a small stream of water fall over it (put in sink or bath tub, cooler etc) it works amazingly well.

              The bird need only brine overnight if it's not thawed in time (I have read that 36 hours is the max - not sure about that however).

              I try to brine mine for 24 hours but overnight work too. You have plenty of time.

            2. It depends on whether you're doing a dry brine or a wet one. If wet, you have plenty of time - the bird will thaw in the brine and you don't want to go longer than 24 hours anyway. If dry, you still have time, but you should get on it immediately - you'll want to let it sit with the salt for a couple of days and then allow a day for the skin to dry out.

              1. dry-brine it instead. you can do that with a frozen bird and it will season it as it defrosts. Works perfectly.

                1. Many frozen birds are already "brined" by saline injection. You probably don't want to add even more sodium to one.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    the same is true of many "fresh" birds. it's a simple matter of looking at the label and seeing if there's sodium added.

                    1. re: FED

                      And always true for all kosher birds, fresh OR frozen.

                      And CHamster is correct. Brine a bird that has a saline solution injected in it and it will be much too salty, as will the stuffing, and the pan drippings for gravy.

                  2. I had the same problem. My frozen turkey didn't seem to be thawing fast enough.

                    So, I took the bottom refrigerator drawer out, put it in the sink, filled it with cold water and placed the frozen turkey in. I changed the cold water one time for a total of an hour. This thawed the turkey enough to where I could remove the neck and giblets.

                    I rubbed 3 tablespoons of salt over the turkey, covered it in plastic wrap and left it in the refrigerator. I'll see how it turns out on Friday.