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Brining your Turkey, does it really work?

(22 Posts)
ValerieAnn Wed 21-Dec-16 20:51:34

I have got to cook the family turkey and I have been told it should be brined, that is, soaked it brine to tenderise it.

I am following the Nigella Lawson recipe, and I have spent about £20 on herbs & spices for the brine mix alone!

Will it be worth it?

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Wed 21-Dec-16 20:52:45

Marking spot, I've never tried it but am tempted after watching Nigella do it on tv the other day.

SwedishEdith Wed 21-Dec-16 20:58:11

Erm, no, from experience.

Motherfuckers Thu 22-Dec-16 07:05:30

Yes, it does keep it moister. Although nowhere near as good as deep fried turkey.

MrsPnut Thu 22-Dec-16 07:07:31

I prefer it brined and will be doing mine this year as well. I just improvise with what spices I have got but always put oranges, star anise and cinnamon sticks in.

Hassled Thu 22-Dec-16 07:09:34

I did it a couple of years ago and felt that no, it wasn't worth the faff. And there was a lot of faff - just getting a container big enough to hold the turkey and the water etc, then you have to find somewhere to store it, then you're fretting if it's cold enough, then the draining it without splashing salty water all over your just-cleaned kitchen. And I doubt anyone eating it could have told the difference.

But having said all that, I'm convinced it should make a difference and that I must have somehow done it wrong. So convinced I might even have another try this year because I'm a fool.

FrancisCrawford Thu 22-Dec-16 07:20:16


It's so easy to do and makes the turkey deliciously moist. A nd the smells are gorgeous

This will be my third year of brining using that recipe

pklme Thu 22-Dec-16 13:13:17

Yes! It's no harder than storing the turkey anywhere else. I use whatever spices I can lay hands on, once the originals have run out.

I have also very successfully but do this at your own risk saved the brine, boiled it then and frozen it and reused it with a ham. That was a year when everything was constantly very cold though.

I find it cooks much faster brined, so beware! Also, avoid a pre basted turkey if you can, as it is less effective. Look on the label, if it has ingredients including salt sugar etc, about 97% turkey, then it's already been injected with brine.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 22-Dec-16 17:02:40

Well, we've got a container (one of those big flexible trug things), but space in the kitchen is at a premium and I'm a bit dubious about draining it without flooding the place, but I might be tempted. Also a bit nervous about the cats getting it! I normally get the turkey all foiled up and in it's tray the night before and leave it in the unheated kitchen, ready to pop in the oven first thing, so this will be more work in the morning.

Silly question - does it make it salty? I'm one of those people who doesn't add salt to potatoes, veg, pasta or rice when cooking and am very sensitive to it when other people do.

pklme Thu 22-Dec-16 19:16:39

No, not salty. Mine sits in the utility or garage, depending. It keep longer in brine than not, so if you pick it up early it's ok. I often get a frozen one and sit it in the brine to defrost.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 22-Dec-16 19:35:14

Doesn't it all slop over the sides when you lift the bucket? Or splash everwhere when you lift the turkey out? We don't have a garage or utility, I think it would have to go on the kitchen counter with heavy duty protection from cats.

Digestive28 Thu 22-Dec-16 19:38:57

Yes. We do it and works well. Also means no messing around preparing turkey on Christmas morning as all ready to go.

Digestive28 Thu 22-Dec-16 19:40:45

Ours is in shed overnight btw

Mondrian Thu 22-Dec-16 19:42:10

We have been doing NL recipe for several years and it's definitely worth it. DCs get involved in the the brining ritual and have some fun. We are generally a low salt family and don't think it makes the Turkey taste salty at all.

Mondrian Thu 22-Dec-16 19:46:12

You have to bring it to room temperature while trussing so still a bit to do in the morning. If you are thinking of leaving it in shed or garage then cover with cling film and a blanket on top to avoid freezing if temp drops outside.

SwedishEdith Tue 27-Dec-16 22:01:11

"We" did do it again this year after all. It was lovely but I can never remember what turkey tastes like from one year to the next, tbh.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 27-Dec-16 22:57:14

We decided not to do it. It would have been extra work the day before (we leave ours in the car boot in the box it comes in with icepacks overnight) and a similar amount of work in the morning. The technique we normally use creates a very moist, tasty roast with very little work in the morning (unpack, giblets out, onion in, cover in butter and bacon, cover in foil).

FixItUpChappie Tue 27-Dec-16 23:09:52

Wevbrine and in my opinion it makes a huge difference. Our 25lb turkey was brined in a large ziploc bag - with 1 cup of kosher salt, 4 litres veg stock, pepper, all spice, ginger, kept whole thing in a cooler with ice and monitored by electric thermometer while defrosting. Utterly moist and delicious!

FixItUpChappie Tue 27-Dec-16 23:19:38

Our cooler has a side drain so we can drain right into our sink when replenishing the water

Mondrian Wed 28-Dec-16 08:46:04

We decided to up all the brine ingredients (x2) in NL recipe as we felt taste was a bit bland previous years, result was fantastic and everyone (18) thought it was nicer than last year. We left it in a bucket filled with the brine mixture to the rim, covered and left on back porch for 24 hrs, outside temp didn't go below zero. We took the turkey out 1 hr before placing in the oven, our 21 lb turkey only needed 4.5 hrs at 180c in fan assisted oven + 1hr resting.

LittleBearPad Wed 28-Dec-16 09:12:59

I think it works well. The spices etc are an investment but I think it's worth it. Cooks in a much shorter time too. My 4.2kg turkey was done in 2 hours.

I am sceptical about whether NL's maple syrup basting liquid for it though. I don't think it adds much.

When we didn't have outside space etc we locked it in the boot of the car grin.

Mondrian Wed 28-Dec-16 09:49:24

Didn't use maple syrup, just used more honey in the marinade. Also added 1/2 cup of water to the pan at the start and started basting 1/2 way every 45 minutes using the dripping in the pan.

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