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Brining and Kosher Turkey

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Read that brining can help thaw a turkey quicker. However, also read that you shouldn't brine a kosher turkey because of the salt already in it. Does anyone know?
post #2 of 13
Don't brine a kosher bird in general. You could probably figure out the salt difference between a brined bird and a kosher bird and attempt a weak brine, but the benefits are probably not worth that work.

Submersing a partially frozen turkey in cold water will accelerate the thawing. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey in the safe temperature zones. This works because water conducts heat faster than air.

But for best results, don't try to thaw a turkey in a brine. You will get an uneven brining effect in the turkey. Besides which, you'd go through a lot of brine changing the water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey properly cooled for food safety. Further, while salt melts ice, in doing so, it makes it colder. Think about making ice cream. The salt makes the ice colder causing the ice cream mix to solidify. This is not the effect you're trying to achieve and it probably takes too high of a salt concentration to do effectively anyway.

post #3 of 13
Ditto on all levels to Phil's statement.

follow the above advice.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Brining kosher bird

Thanks... confirmed everything i knew... have had it in cold water & been changing it frequently
post #5 of 13
Why is a kosher turkey saltier than a non kosher turkey?
post #6 of 13
Part of the kosher slaughtering involves a pure coarse salt applied to the bird to draw out the blood. It then gets rinsed off after a certain time. Thus we get the term kosher salt.

So Kosher poultry is pre-salted as it were.
post #7 of 13
Ah ok.

I also heard chickens need to be sold with their feathers on, is that the case with turkeys too?

Are you Jewish?
post #8 of 13
I'm not jewish and I don't know about being sold with the feathers on. I doubt it as it would be next to impossible to salt the bird evenly while still feathered for the koshering of the poultry.

post #9 of 13
Looking at Empire Kosher Poultry's FAQ, they pluck the birds. But they choose to use a process that isn't as efficient as some others. Perhaps that's where you heard about feathers still on the bird? :: Empire Kosher Poultry

Worth reading though to learn more about kosher poultry.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

feathery birds

The feathers are plucked, but as stated not as efficiently... end up plucking the remaining ones before prepping for whatever you are making. Hate that JOB! But it is not as bad as I remember my mother doing it when I was young... she plucked under boiling water for hours!!!
post #11 of 13

I'm a kosher consumer and I eat only kosher meat and poultry.  I've brined kosher turkeys for years, and have never had any guest complain that it's too salty.


It's important to understand that koshering a bird or meat is not the same as brining it.  The koshering (or kashering) process involves 3 parts (many more, but only 3 that are relevant to this discussion):  soaking, salting, and rinsing.  First, it's soaked for 30 minutes, then it's salted and the salt remains on the meat or poultry for one hour, and then it's rinsed 3 times.


How long do you brine?  I brined my turkey this year for 2 days, served it to 17 guests, and got not one comment about it being salty.  And, they all knew that I had brined it, and it was very moist.  I smoked it for about 4 1/2 hours.


So, let's please put the idea that koshering is equivalent to brining to bed, because, unless you know the specifics, it may look very similar, but the timing makes them very different.  And, remember, the point of koshering is to draw out stuff (the blood), and the point of brining is to introduce moisture, so, if they each do what they're supposed to do, one would want to brine a kosher bird even more than a non-kosher one, because the kosher one has had stuff drawn out, not introduced. 


Thx for listening.

post #12 of 13

I've been smoking three or four kosher turkeys (bought from Trader Joe) every year for the past six years, and find that there's enough salt in them to not bother brining.  As a matter of fact, this year I recieved a brined  non-kosher turkey from a fresh poultry operation as a gift, and smoked it alongside one of the TJ koshers.  The brined turkey was only slightly saltier than the kosher


You can oversalt anything by brining if you use enough salt and enough time in the brining solution.  You can over sugar and "overcook" (with acid) as well.  Contrariwise, you can "brine" forever and not make much of a difference.  Time and concentration are the significant functions, not brining itself. 


While dry salt on the outside of a turkey won't penetrate the skin as well as salt in solution some of the little saline molecules cross the barrier and into the meat.  Enough to taste?  Enough to make a difference in how they smoke?  I think so, but you be the judge. 


So let's put to bed the notion that kosher turkeys need additional brining in order to remain succulent while smoking.


Trust me.  I'm a lawyer.



post #13 of 13

MeyerJD's answer is the smartest on the WWW.


I keep a kosher kitchen and completely concur. Don't overdue it on the salt in the brine (or in anything else) and you will be fine brining a kosher bird.


Now if someone could only point me to a NYC source for non-dairy, kosher marsh-mellows for the sweet-potato pie...

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