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Dec 26, 2013 01:40 PM

Fresh turkey

It was on sale at the store for 50% off! I had to buy it this morning. Any suggestions for preps? I'm going to cook it on the grill. It's a 14 pound range grown hen turkey grown without antibiotics in Sonora, CA. Never made this kind of turkey before. Looking at Junior Balloon's post-- I've always brined a turkey before grilling so this will be new for us as it has no brine. Do I season it first?

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  1. Why are you not going to brine it?
    You always season meat before cooking as a rule of thumb.
    Is it a Diestel Turkey ?
    Also I would suggest not grilling this Turkey. These Turkeys tend to have a bite more structure and less fat than a regularly grown Turkey.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      Hi chefj-- the butcher who sold me the turkey this morning said it is full of flavor. The one thing he said was definitely do not brine it. Hmmm.

      1. re: dimsumgirl

        dry brine it and put it on the grill. I do this with fresh birds and they are fab.

        1. re: dimsumgirl

          If it's a kosher bird, it's already salted and should not be brined. But if it's totally untreated, you can do a wet brine or a dry-rub. If you insist on grilling it, butterfly it or disjoint and grill the parts.

          Personally, I'd poach it in parts - no brining. Use a couple of bay leaves, some garlic, onion, carrot and celery (all coarsely chopped). This is tougher meat with less fat than a conventional bird. Take the parts out as they reach desired temps, pull off bones and skin and return those to the pot, reserving the meat. I'd leave the wings in the pot. Strain for a wonderful stock, which you can then reduce further to minimize freezer/fridge space. If making soup, include meat pulled from the wings and carcass but use another round of vegetables, because those in the stockpot will have no flavor or texture left. You can also reduce some of the broth WAY down, and thicken it as gravy for the breast, leg, thigh meat. Skin and giblets go to the nearest dogs and cats.

          1. re: dimsumgirl

            That seems an odd thing to me. There is no good reason not to Brine a Pasture-Raised Turkey. It stands up to a Brine better than conventional Bird and with the lower Fat content benefits more from the moister.

            1. re: dimsumgirl

              Is your butcher a chef or does he cut meat for a living? If the latter, brine the bird. And pay no attention to all the range-grown organic marketing BS. It's the same breed (Broad Breasted White) and therefore basically the same bird that you get a the supermarket. Hopefully fresher and handled better, but still the same animal. Which usually benefits foe brining, wet or dry.

          2. If the butcher told you not to brine this turkey, why would you? Certainly he knows his birds. Just season the skin and inside the cavity with salt and pepper, shove a couple or four unpeeled garlic cloves and some thyme and sage and a quartered lemon in the cavity. (or not) Put turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Put on the grill and roast (for 20 minutes a pound) till skin is golden and juice runs clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh.

            ETA: Everything in parenthesis is optional.

            1. Since you describe your purchase as a hen turkey from Sonora, sounds like a Heidi's Hen from Diestel.

              If you're accustomed to frozen commercial turkey, this will have more flavor. That's probably why the butcher said not to brine it. Also, a frozen bird tends to lose more moisture. Diestel's own roasting instructions do not suggest brining.

              That said, this article about Diestel from the Davis Enterprise has a brine recipe used for a Heidi's Hen.

              What would I do if it were my bird? I dislike the spongy texture of wet-brined turkey. I'd dry-salt for a day or two.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                >>> a frozen bird tends to lose more moisture<<<

                Actually, the opposite is true. A properly defrosted flash-frozen bird will lose much less moisture than the typical "Fresh, Never Frozen" bird, for reasons discussed many times before on other threads on this topic. A "Fresh" bird will benefit much more from brining as it stands a greater chance of turning out dry without it.