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Oct 17, 2013 08:09 AM

Do I really need to brine the turkey?

We are going to smoke a turkey this year and I found this recipe on the CH site. Do I really need to brine it? I'm not crazy about the idea but I guess it will keep it moist?

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  1. No. If you like the texture of wet-brined turkey, by all means brine it, but if you don't, either skip the brine altogether or do a "dry" brine. To "dry" brine, you just rub the turkey in a generous amount of salt, wrap it up tightly and let it sit in the fridge for a few days. Unwrap it a day before cooking and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, to dry the skin, and that's it.

    1. No, but it will taste better if you do, particularly if you're doing a low temp smoke.

      1. I brine my turkey before smoking, and the texture is perfect. Certainly not "wet" in any way. I use Alton Brown's recipe. Can't imagine a Thanksgiving with any other turkey now.

        We use cherry wood that I harvest from blow-downs in NH.

        2 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            OK, I think I'm sold on the brining. A neighbor took down a cherry tree and we've been drying the wood for about five months. Will make Thanksgiving very special this year.

            I've seen Alton's show on turkey smoking and will look it up.


          2. Do you have access to a kosher turkey? A kosher turkey is soaked in salt water (is the light bulb going on?), so in essence it is already brined when you buy it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Diane in Bexley

              I always do it myself as I hate to pay for the weight of the water and salt at Kosher prices.

            2. Agree about the dry brine. We've been doing this for years. Google the Latimes and Judy Bird. They have had instructions for this years. The inspiration was Judy Rodgers chicken, hence the name.