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Nov 19, 2012 07:49 AM

How Long to Brine Birdzilla

MIL is hosting Thanksgiving but I'm doing the turkey, and she requested that I get an 18-20 lb. birdzilla. How long should I brine this thing?

Last year I gave my 10-12 lb turkey a 48 hour soak (using Emeril's formula of 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus citrus and herbs, per gallon of water) but I'm concerned that won't be enough time for a bird of this size. Are my fears unfounded?

I checked other brining threads first but couldn't find an answer to this specific question. Also, I should mention that birdzilla is a fresh bird, not frozen.

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  1. You don't brine that large a bird unless you like overtly salty meat. By the time the salt permeates
    all the way to the center of the meat, the rest of the meat may be too salty. Get the free online trial of Cook's Illustrated and read the brined turkey articles, which are more or less summarized elsewhere:
    Note that the amount of salt varies depending in whether it's table salt, Morton's kosher, or Diamond Crystal kosher (Morton's is smaller grains so takes less than Diamond Crystal). The concentration of the brine does not vary regardless of the size of the bird.

    1. 24 Hours with a 24 hour drying time. So for Thursday I would put it in the brine Tuesday Am, take it out Weds AM and roast it Thursday AM.