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That Turkey brining experiment!

Forums General Melanoma Community That Turkey brining experiment!

  • Post
    dian in spokane
    Participant

    I brined my turkey for Thanksgiving this week and it came out GREAT. I'd recommend it for almost anyone. I used Alton's Brown's recipe for the most part:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

    I used a 20lb fresh, natural(no injections or solutions) foster farms turkey instead of a 14 to 16lb frozen. I kept the brine solution recipe the same.

    I brined my turkey for Thanksgiving this week and it came out GREAT. I'd recommend it for almost anyone. I used Alton's Brown's recipe for the most part:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

    I used a 20lb fresh, natural(no injections or solutions) foster farms turkey instead of a 14 to 16lb frozen. I kept the brine solution recipe the same.

    I brined on Tuesday night, took it out of the solution Wednesday afternoon, patted it dry, then put it on a rack over a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of my fridge until Thursday morning, to air dry. This I did on the advice of some experienced briners, who suggested that letting it dry out would help give me a nice, brown skin. Which is did. For the first time ever I had a turkey that looked like something from a Norman Rockwell painting. And it tasted sensational too.

    I don't know if the drying period was neccessary, since I used alton's high heat method, so maybe it would have been just as brown without that drying period.

    That high heat method requires you to start the turkey at 500 degrees for the first half hour, then reducing the heat to 350 ( the turkey was done in just about 3 hours!) This made for a perfect color..and maybe sealed the skin early to help with the moisture. BUT.. it filled most of my house with smoke just about the time the guests were arriving. Most of the smoke was in the kitchen, because I shut all the doors. If I do this again, which I will, I'll bring my upright fan into the kitchen and vent the smoke out of the house during that time. It was ten degrees outside while I was doing this, so it was problematic, but it's pretty rare for us to be that cold on Turkey day.

    Anyway.. it was a MAJOR success for all of you who are curious. I used a 5 gallon igloo beverage cooler to do the brining, brined for 16 hours, turned the turkey over halfway through. That was the hardest part, as I managed to spill turkey brine on the floor while doing the turning. Hard to get the turkey OUT without spillage. BUT.. I had moved that ice chest into the basement (coldest part of the house) where the floor is concrete, so clean up was easy. Also,..in addition to the brining solution and ice water, I had a couple of frozen bottles of water in there to help keep that water the right temperature without diluting the solution.

    That's about it for the Turkey Brining report!

    I also tried a new sweet potato recipe, also from the food network, Guy Fieri's Whiskey Glazed Sweet Potatoes. It was a major hit with the guests. Here's the recipe: (I'd recommend doubling the whiskey sauce recipe)

    Ingredients

    • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large)
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for preparing baking dish
    • 3/4 cup agave syrup, preferably amber
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup whiskey
    • 2 cups crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1-inch pieces

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook the potatoes whole, do not pierce. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lightly squeeze the potatoes – if they are soft, they are done. Let cool.

    In a small saute pan over high heat, add the pecans and lightly toast. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, reduce the heat to medium, add the agave and spices, and allow to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the whiskey and continue to simmer for 5 minutes more.

    Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Arrange the sweet potatoes, alternating with the apples. Pour the whiskey-pecan mixture over the top and place in the oven.

    Bake for 30 minutes, basting the top with the whiskey sauce once at 15 minutes.

    Remove and serve immediately.

     

    OH..and that was a great make-ahead recipe. I roasted the Sweet Potatoes on tuesday, and kept them unpeeled in my fridge. I cored, peeled and sliced the apples the day before, and stored them in a plastic tube coverd in apple juice (to stop them from browning) then put the dish together in just a few minutes while the turkey was cooking..made the glaze and poured it over the casserole during the last hour, and popped it in the oven when the turkey came out.

     

    Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

     

    dian

     

     

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  • Replies
      LV
      Participant

      Glad the brining worked out! It is a hassle, but worth it. Everything sound like it was yummy, espcially the sweet potatoes. Thanks for the recipe, and the recommendation. Even though I only cooked a turkey breast (and on Friday, at that), we did have beans and collards form my garden, which was a new thing this year, and lots of fun.

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      LV
      Participant

      Glad the brining worked out! It is a hassle, but worth it. Everything sound like it was yummy, espcially the sweet potatoes. Thanks for the recipe, and the recommendation. Even though I only cooked a turkey breast (and on Friday, at that), we did have beans and collards form my garden, which was a new thing this year, and lots of fun.

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      lhaley
      Participant

      Dian,

      We used the exact same recipe!  Didn't do the drying part and the skin was beautiful.  This is the 3rd time my daughter in law has done the turkey that way.  What makes it interesting is she has only cooked 3 turkeys in her life and they've all been great!  I will tell them about the ice bottle idea. 

      We didn't have the smoke issues but the house definitely heated up!! I think this was the warmest Thanksgiving in a long time.

      The next day left overs were just as juicy as the first day! 

      Sounds like your day was a great one!!  It was the baby's first Thanksgiving and at 11 months she kept us all entertained!

      Linda

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      lhaley
      Participant

      Dian,

      We used the exact same recipe!  Didn't do the drying part and the skin was beautiful.  This is the 3rd time my daughter in law has done the turkey that way.  What makes it interesting is she has only cooked 3 turkeys in her life and they've all been great!  I will tell them about the ice bottle idea. 

      We didn't have the smoke issues but the house definitely heated up!! I think this was the warmest Thanksgiving in a long time.

      The next day left overs were just as juicy as the first day! 

      Sounds like your day was a great one!!  It was the baby's first Thanksgiving and at 11 months she kept us all entertained!

      Linda

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      bcl
      Participant

      Sounds yummy Dian! I've never brined but always put the turkey in a very hot oven for the first hour (do the same with chicken, usually for the first half hour though).

      I only started cooking sweet potatoes a few years ago, took a recipe from the paper and lucky for me it was the bake whole spuds method you describe. I add the usual brown sugar  (demerara is my fave) some melted butter and lots of pecans and fresh cranberries – too easy and so delicious. I think I'll try your recipe this Christmas, like the sound of the apples AND the whiskey (Bushmills to keep me da happy of course:) Might even get me in the mood for Christmascheeky

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      bcl
      Participant

      Sounds yummy Dian! I've never brined but always put the turkey in a very hot oven for the first hour (do the same with chicken, usually for the first half hour though).

      I only started cooking sweet potatoes a few years ago, took a recipe from the paper and lucky for me it was the bake whole spuds method you describe. I add the usual brown sugar  (demerara is my fave) some melted butter and lots of pecans and fresh cranberries – too easy and so delicious. I think I'll try your recipe this Christmas, like the sound of the apples AND the whiskey (Bushmills to keep me da happy of course:) Might even get me in the mood for Christmascheeky

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        dian in spokane
        Participant

        oh I should say.. I used honey instead of agave syrup since I didn't have any. Guy says either honey or brown sugar will work in place of agave. Mine was a winner with honey. The whiskey was a nice touch! It's a good idea to remove the pan from the heat when you add the whiskey to avoid flareups, but I forgot and had no flame!

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        dian in spokane
        Participant

        oh I should say.. I used honey instead of agave syrup since I didn't have any. Guy says either honey or brown sugar will work in place of agave. Mine was a winner with honey. The whiskey was a nice touch! It's a good idea to remove the pan from the heat when you add the whiskey to avoid flareups, but I forgot and had no flame!

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        bcl
        Participant

        Honey sounds perfect ( glad you didn't loose your eyebrows:)

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        bcl
        Participant

        Honey sounds perfect ( glad you didn't loose your eyebrows:)

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      MarieM
      Participant

      Although I cook…you know I don't do Turkeys. Wow…a lot of work. I just threw together my two trays of high fructose transfat…and Jess and I had plenty of time to play with blending eye shadows while you were doing all that! :~)

      YOU can cook for me anytime Dian!

      Marie

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      MarieM
      Participant

      Although I cook…you know I don't do Turkeys. Wow…a lot of work. I just threw together my two trays of high fructose transfat…and Jess and I had plenty of time to play with blending eye shadows while you were doing all that! :~)

      YOU can cook for me anytime Dian!

      Marie

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      LizzM
      Participant

      Dian, my son used the same Alton brown recipe to brine a turkey this year and it turned out great, too. He said from now on he would never cook a turkey without brining first. It was the most tender and moist turkey that we have ever had. He didn't do the drying in the refrigerator part and it still turned out very brown and just beautiful. His kitchen smoked up that first 30 minutes, too. :)

      All the guests were raving about the turkey. His wife is a vegetarian and even she said it smelled really good. It was definitely a hit and cooked much faster, too, without having to keep opening the oven door to baste.

      ~~Liz

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        dian in spokane
        Participant

        I'm sold. I paid more for my turkey, since I wanted one that hadn't been 'prebrined' by the company. All the turkeys on SALE were of the solution enhanced variety. BUT….even natural turkeys are darned cheap that time of year. I will always brine in the future, and not only that, I'm up for trying to brine some other stuff, like maybe a full pork loin for my NY party

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        dian in spokane
        Participant

        I'm sold. I paid more for my turkey, since I wanted one that hadn't been 'prebrined' by the company. All the turkeys on SALE were of the solution enhanced variety. BUT….even natural turkeys are darned cheap that time of year. I will always brine in the future, and not only that, I'm up for trying to brine some other stuff, like maybe a full pork loin for my NY party

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      LizzM
      Participant

      Dian, my son used the same Alton brown recipe to brine a turkey this year and it turned out great, too. He said from now on he would never cook a turkey without brining first. It was the most tender and moist turkey that we have ever had. He didn't do the drying in the refrigerator part and it still turned out very brown and just beautiful. His kitchen smoked up that first 30 minutes, too. :)

      All the guests were raving about the turkey. His wife is a vegetarian and even she said it smelled really good. It was definitely a hit and cooked much faster, too, without having to keep opening the oven door to baste.

      ~~Liz

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