Lower salt brine. Your thoughts and input Please

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by sprky, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi every one,

    I am seeking your input and advice here, and welcome any and all thoughts/ advice.

    After trying many types of brine I thought I had found the perfect one. Due to low salt diets I need to lower the salt in my brine.  The bird is brined for 24- 36 hours then injected, and smoked. Here is the normal brine and injection.

    POLTRY Brine


    1 1/2 Gallon Apple Juice
    1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
    3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

    1/2 Cup Morton’s Tender Quick
    1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
    1 Tbsp Onion Powder
    1 Tbsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    1 Tbsp Celery Seed
    1 Tbsp Pickling Spice (ground)

    1 tsp Ground Cloves

    1 Package Zesty Italian Dressing mix

    1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

    1/2 tsp Morton’s Tender Quick

    1 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)

    1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
    1 1/2 tsp Celery Seed

    1 1/2 tsp Pickling spice

    1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
    4 Tbsp melted non salted Butter
    2 C Apple Cider         

    Here are my thoughts and questions;

    If I replace the 1/2 cup of Morton’s Tender Quick with 1 1/2 Tbsp of DQ cure #1, in the brine, I will lower the salt. Is this correct?

    Since there is 1/2 tsp Morton’s Tender Quick in the injection, how much DQ cure#1 do I add, or is it even needed?

    By replacing the Morton’s Tender Quick with DQ cure #1, are there any other changes I need to do to the brine? I am thinking I will need to increase the sugar since there is sugar in the Morton’s tender Quick.

    Can I substitute Splenda brown sugar for the dark brown sugar and obtain the same flavor?

    Pop’s injects the brine mixture before brining.  I would like to try this out. However I am stumped on how to do this with the injection I use.

    I am only able to obtain enhanced turkeys here. Fresh non enhanced turkeys are cost prohibitive they are wanting $2.50 + per pound. No way can I afford $50.00 + a bird.

    Pop’s brines turkeys for several days. Can I safely brine them for the longer time and not have a salt lick/ over salty bird? I have not had a problem with a salty bird on the 36 hour soak, I have even gone over the 36 hours somewhat. 
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    SmokinAl gave you 100% correct info!   The bird will only absorb to the density of the salt concentration; that is why you have to "freshen" a TQ meat and don't with a Cure No. 1 meat, the salt concentration is lower and you can limit the salt you add.  Be sure to let us know how it came out and post lots of Qview!  You know we all love to drool!
  4. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you Al and Pops for your replies, your input is extremely valuable to me
    This brings a few more questions/ thoughts to mind. Sorry for all the questions I just want to make sure I understand every thing correctly, and get the best results possible.

    1. When I use my injection I am injecting roughly 18 OZ. Is that about, the right amount of brine to inject for a 20+ pound bird?

    2. If the 18 OZ is not the right amount how much do I inject?

    3. Could I combine the required amount of brine with the injection and inject and brine? 

    4. Would this produce the same results as brining and then injecting?

    What I'm thinking here is if I am able to inject prior to brining the injection will distribute better thew-out the bird. 

    5. If I combined the injection with the brine omitting the butter, would the flavor be the same or close to brining then injecting?

    6. Which will produce the best results?

        A. brine then inject

        B. inject brine and brine

        C. inject brine and brine then inject

    7. How long do you recommend I brine for?
  5. owlcreeksmoker4

    owlcreeksmoker4 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    excellent advice once again!
  6. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Answer B. You want to inject the brine into the bird into the breast and the thigh, the thickest parts of the bird, don't need to inject the wings or drumsticks or back, they will cure easily by themselves.  You inject your brine and let the meat cure.  Your bird will plump up where you don't want to go any further for fear of rupturing the meat and it will just start leaking out as much as you're putting in; you will know when to stop.  A 5% maximum pump would be approx. 1 lb. on a 20 lb. bird, so between 16 - 18 oz is fine.  (With a ham you want to do about a 10% pump, but you have a lot more mass to consider, and a lot less bone).  Then, taking it out of the brine, dry it off, then inject your flavor marinade all over, cooking with redistribute it for you as your juices flow; if you inject your flavor marinade prior to brining, the brining will dilute it.  I would let it brine for at least 5 days with that big of a bird; make sure you keep it immersed in the brine (put a half-full ziploc bag of water on top) and keep it constantly below 40° in the fridge.
  7. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops and Al

    I now have all my thoughts and questions answered. I will be getting the birds today so I can get them thawed to brine on Monday. I will inject 5% brine and soak for 5 days. Then inject again and smoke. Thanks again for all your help.

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