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Here are a couple of posts from Ray Basso's forum that might be of interest.

Since these modern engineered turkeys have little flavor or fat,we all consider brining.

It is also difficult to get a supermarket turkey that has not been pumped,so watch the labels .

These are hints to pay attention to salt and think about brining for flavor.

Posted by Boomer on November 19, 2003 at 19:11:52:

Just got through smoking 14 turkeys. Not real happy.

Purchased from Sam's --"fresh" which means that they weren't frozen when I bought them. This is a big plus for me, because thawing that many turkeys is a PITA.

Had up to 10% solution, "Honey ***S******le" brand.(the censor won't let me print the name. LOL)

Have been smoking turkeys for about 20 + years so feel that I have a handle on it.

Usual routine -- brine for 24 hours in water ice solution. My brine is pretty basic -- 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of brown sugar to 1 gal water. A large pinch of cayenne because it makes me feel good, some black pepper corns because it makes me feel good. Not sure what the sugar does, its habit.

Have never used "injected " turkeys before.

well, because they were injected, I cut the briing time to 12 hours, and I'm glad that I did.

boy. am I glad that I did. Extremities like the wings ere almost too salty to eat. Skin was way too salty. Breast meat, thigh meat --definite flavor of salt. Too salty for my taste. Also felt like that I did not get the smoke penetration that I was used too. But even in the deep white meat, it seemed to me there was the definite taste of salt.

Caveat-- I'm on a low salt diet, so this makes me more sensitive to the taste of salt, but I was not pleased with this product, which is the ultimate test.

I have a bunch more to do this weekend, and I think I will have to cut back on the salt in the brine. I will look at the other store to see if there is a non-injected bird available, but inital perusal indicates that such is not available,

Posted by Grill Chef on November 19, 2003 at 22:41:45:

In Reply to: Philosophical reflections on smoking turkey posted by Boomer on November 19, 2003 at 19:11:52:

IMHO, having just done a wholebunch of Turkeys, and have orders for 40 more to do, if it is injected, it doesn't need brining. I use frozen 12# Butterballs which have a solution in them and do not brine, some were injected by me with creole butter, some not. All came out nice and moist with a good smoke flavor. I smoke over oak, hickory, apple, cherry and pecan.
If you have a injected one, try it without brining, see how they turn out. I also smoke mine at a hotter temp, 300-325 d.

The posts had been archived,so I went ahead and posted the text.
Original Post

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While shopping last evening I checked out the turkey area and found that all the big name brand frozen turkeys had been pumped with a solution of salt, water and a few other things. Each had a different percentage ranging from 7% to 15%. All the big name brand fresh turkeys did not. Also noticed that the "off brand" frozen had not been pumped with the solution. So now I'm real confused. Should we not brine the birds that have been pumped? I cooked a turkey a few weeks ago and brined it for 36 hours and it came out very good. I didn't know enough at the time to check to see if it had been pumped, but it was an off brand.
That is a personal decision and trial and error.

I always brine breasts, as I am seeking to add flavor.

A honey brine, like Smokin's ,handles that well.

Since I try to pay close attention to the process,I do all I can to minimize salty taste.

I don't cook large numbers of whole turkeys,and I often brine those that I do.

If I don't brine, I inject.

The Cookshack,because of its cooking method, tends to spoil me and I get lazy.

Lots of time I will be cooking other meats,walk through the store and see a half fresh breast or leg quarter,buy it and just cook it.

In the Cookshack, I am rarely disappointed in the results.

One area that I really like brined turkey is after it has been vac packed and frozen several months, it is still very juicy.

Hope this helped more than it confused.

Big Grin

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