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Brining Whole Turkey and Crowns

Asked by gilly. Answered on 20th December 2013

Full question

Hi, I'm planning a double roast for Christmas Lunch this year; turkey and a gammon joint. For practicality, a turkey crown would be better, leaving enough room in the oven for other things. Nigella's Spiced and Superjuicy Turkey brining recipe is a favourite of mine, but can I do the same thing with a turkey crown? Thanks very much for your help. Gilly, Truro.

Hello, I am making the Spiced and Superjuicy Turkey for Christmas dinner. I made it 2 weeks ago and it was delicious with no leftovers! For a big Chrismas dinner I will be making it the day before. How do I store it in the fridge and heat it up so it is still super juicy and moist? Thanks!

Our answer

As the cooking times for turkey crowns (the breast of the turkey, still on the bone) are much shorter than for whole turkeys then there is less risk of the meat drying out. However a crown will still benefit from a short soak in the brining mixture. We suggest that you make up a half quantity of the Spiced and Super Juicy Turkey brining mixture (from Christmas and on the Nigella website) and use this to soak the turkey for 6 hours only. You can do this the day before then pat the turkey dry and store it on the bottom shelf of the fridge, covered in clingfilm (Plastic wrap) or foil, until ready to cook.

Whilst the brining process for a turkey will produce moist meat when first cooked, all meats will tend to dry out once they are reheated. Also there are risks in cooking then cooling a large bird as it should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. We would suggest that you brinne the turkey overninght and cook it on Christmas day. If fridge space is short then is may be cold enough to put the turkey in a large saucepan and keep it in a cold garage or outside overnight (if outside then make sure that you take precautions so the the local wildlife can't get to the turkey). Otherwise you could put the tirkey and brine in a large cooler and add cold packs. Repalce the cold packs every 4 to 6 hours. However if you do this please make sure that all the equipment used in this process is thoroughly washed with hot water and dish soap, rinsed with hot water and dried properly before using again.

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