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Jael has a good point--if you brine, your drippings will be too salty for gravy. You can remedy this by making a bit of turkey stock (most supermarkets sell necks and wings this time of year), rendering a bit of the turkey fat (for the roux) from the wings before tossing them in. A little bit of the roasted fat and dripping can still be used for seasoning.

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I think if you rinse the turkey real well before putting it in you shouldn't have a problem with the drippings being too salty. The last few years I have made kind of a base with roux and chicken/turkey stock. Then I deglaze the roasting pan with white wine and add it to the base. It has always turned out real nice.

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I think if you rinse the turkey real well before putting it in you shouldn't have a problem with the drippings being too salty.
I second this. In the 10 (?!?) years I've been brining the Thanksgiving bird (with a traditional wet brine, not a dry "brine"), I've never had the dripping-based gravy turn out too salty. I use unsalted (or low-salt) stock and don't add anymore salt until I've tasted it (but I do always end up adding salt to the finished gravy).

I don't know about the effect on the stuffing. I gave up stuffing the bird at the same time I took up brining because it was also the start of our grilling-the-turkey tradition.

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I've got the day's first 911!!

I have two 10 pound heritage birds sitting in the fridge. I dry-brined them Tuesday evening with salt, pepper, and sage--basically following what I do with Zuni chicken--and they've been air-drying since last night.

At 6 this morning, I woke up to the realization that I'd forgotten about cooking the damn things.

I have one oven. I don't need to cook anything else in the oven. I think my options are:

a) side by side in one roasting pan (they fit, though there isn't much space between them), or

B) butterflied and roasted on two shelves.

Side by side is the easier option, because I've got 26 people coming to dinner at 7:30 tonight, but would that work? I think I'd bring them up to room temperature with an icepack on the breasts, then plop them into a heated cast iron, one by one, for 5-8 minutes, to give the bottoms a head start, and then put them in the heated roasting pan (or use the flat roasting rack?) and roast at some oven temperature that I haven't figured out, rotating them a couple of times to even out exposure.

Butterflying the birds would allow more air circulation, but I have unpleasant memories of cutting through a turkey's backbone from an unfortunate deboning experience last year...should I suck it up, gulp the wine, and go for that instead?

(happy thanksgiving madness everyone!)

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We'll give you a pass on the unfortunate "dry-brine" usage (though, as a lady of letters, you should know better :blink: ).

Go for option "A."

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My vote is also for option A. And if it looks like they are not cooking evenly, you can spin each bird 180 degrees around in the pan about midway through roasting.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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thanks! if I go with option (a), any guesses on how much extra cooking time I should build in?

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My vote is also for option A. And if it looks like they are not cooking evenly, you can spin each bird 180 degrees around in the pan about midway through roasting.

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's something one should do even if you're cooking only one bird. So with 2, I'd not only give 'em a spin, I'd switch sides as well.

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if I go with option (a), any guesses on how much extra cooking time I should build in?
My gut feeling is that won't take much additional time, if any. (And my in-house mechanical engineer concurs.) However, I have no real-world experience with this particular situation, so you'll probably want to take my opinion with a grain of leftover-from-brining salt.

Hopefully another DR.com member will have a more definitive answer for you. :blink:

Time to make the apple pie!

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Lesson 1: Brining a turkey with a brine based on turkey stock is overkill--the brine is ineffective due to the gelatin in the stock.

Lesson 2: Roasting pans with those big high handles are useless in an under-heighted oven.

Lesson 3: Champagne (Thierry Triolet NV "Grande Reserve") rocks with T-giving dinner.

Lesson 4: I'm very, very thankful.

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Lesson 5: Frying a turkey rocks. Moist, juicy, and tender... yum. Injecting it with butter infused with garlic and sage didn't hurt, either.

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Northern Iraq has Turkey anxiety.

Happy Tanks giving,

DonRocks,

Age 7.

Rundown:

Soter Rose from magnum

99 Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Maltoye from magnum

99 Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Blanchots-Dessus from magnum

99 Littorai Charles Heinz

99 Littorai Thieriot

04 Clape Cornas from magnum

02 Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella (defective!)

01 Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella

70 Ducru-Beaucaillou

01 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino

00 Coulee de Serrant (2nd bottle slightly better than 1st)

Stuffing, me.

Eep.

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Thanks everyone!! At the last minute, a neighbor offered me her oven, so I wound up cooking the birds separately. The overcooked bird went into the trash; the perfectly-cooked bird was carved into tiny bits and tasted fantastic, like a free-range chicken only with more flavor, oddly enough.

Hope everyone had a good thanksgiving, and that everyone is fully recovered.

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Wegmans was having a terrific sale on their turkeys earlier this week, and was able to grab a frozen twenty pound bird for $4.60.

The beauty is currently living in my garage freezer, however, I am looking forward to a successful roasted turkey.

I assume that some of the directions are written on the packaging, and assume that defrosting my frozen bird will take a few days. Should I brine the bird, and if so, other than water and salt what other ingredients should I include? Twelve or twenty four hours?

Do I preheat the oven, or place the bird in the oven and set the temperature? For best results, do you start at a high of say 450, and then reduce the temperature two or three hours into the process?

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I'm looking for a fresh turkey. Doesn't have to be organic but I looking for a local bird, farm or a source very close to the farm. I live in NOVA and am not looking for a long drive if I can help it.

Soup

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I'm looking for a fresh turkey. Doesn't have to be organic but I looking for a local bird, farm or a source very close to the farm. I live in NOVA and am not looking for a long drive if I can help it.

I would give the Organic Butcher in McLean a call and see what they can do for you.

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Jehovah-Jireh Farm in Frederick County, MD.

The turkey I picked up from them last year was the best of my life.

Looks good. However, I'm looking to cook a turkey over the next couple of weeks. This is not for Tday.

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If I have the choice of buying a brined or not-brined bird from Whole Foods, which should I get?  Hoping to get a Bell & Evans turkey.


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Will you brine or salt it yourself, before cooking? If so, get an unbrined bird. If you'd rather not brine or salt it yourself, buy a pre-brined bird. Brining/salting makes a huge difference in flavor and helps keep the white meat moist.

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Hosting 25 for T giving - I have one regular size oven- trying to decide between one 25lb turkey or 2 birds and try to cook one on my weber gas grill.

Any suggestions ?

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Me, I'd go for the two birds, two methods approach.  If I was going to take on the single bird, I'd break it down before cooking and start the legs/thighs to roast well ahead of the breast

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I'll do a test this weekend- I have a small weber gas grill with 2 burner options- front and/or back-

So indirect heat is out- I found an online recipe - might have been on Weber site- that suggests turning both burners to med/ low and check to maintain about 300 degrees- a bit concerned about constant heat.

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