Is there any point to brining a Kosher turkey?

The other thread about brining reminded me of a question I’ve been wondering about. I’ve heard a lot of good things about brined turkey, and would love to try it one day. But then I realized, since we always buy Kosher turkey, it’s already soaked & salted for kosher reasons. Is that the same as brining? Would brining it again do anything?

Cook’s Illustrated says not to. Somebody else in another thread said they do it all the time.

I have had brined and unbrined kosher turkeys, and it does make a difference. We do cut down on the salt in the brine.

I haven’t had a brined non-kosher turkey- I started keeping kosher before brining turkeys was a big thing.

A Kosher Turkey is essentially just a brined Turkey. However it is just brined in salt and cold water. Most popular brine recipes add flavor with stock and spices so, there might be a valid reason to re-brine the bird if you want to incorporate additional flavors. If your favored brining method is just salt water, then you could buy a Kosher Turkey and save yourself the time and trouble, but if you like to add additional flavors in there you’ll want to brine it a second time. You can’t increase the amount of salt in the bird, so you won’t hurt anything, but if you aren’t buying Kosher for religious reasons and intend to brine yourself anyways, save teh coin and buy a regular one.

I wonder…

My only experience with attempting to brine a kosher turkey didn’t have the same flavor that my brined fresh turkeys do. I wonder if doing a freshwater (no salt) soak FIRST, and then a brine would pull out that salt in the koshering, so that osmosis will work in my favor for the brine. After all, it’s mostly the salt water moving into the tissues, right? The rest of the flavor is just along for the ride. If the bird has already absorbed all the salt it will, then the rest of the flavor is just sitting there in the brine bucket.

Hmmm…I may try this with a kosher chicken and see what happens.

Why does kosher require the turkey to be brined (and not other meats)? Is kosher chicken also brined?

For a meat to be kosher, it must be koshered, or kashered, and that means removing all the blood (and other undesirable stuff) from it. This can be done either by rinsing and salting (this is what we mean when we say it’s essentially been brined) or by roasting. While you can do this yourself, the vast majority of meat sold as kosher has already been kashered, and usually by the salt process.

As to why, it’s because that’s what the Jewish dietary laws require. Some people will tell you it’s because the laws were developed when careful handling of food was important to prevent food poisoning, y’know, in the desert before refrigeration, and others will tell you it’s because that’s what G-d told the Jews to do.

And yes, kosher chicken is (almost always) treated with the same water and salt process that kosher turkeys are. Makes for a really tasty, juicy bird.

Is there no other method (in this modern day and age of technology) to get all the blood out of the flesh?. Is beef, or any other meat, also “brined”? Fish?. I remember eating at friend’s houses where they are very stricly kosher and I don’t remember food tasting brined (braces himself for the onslaught of people who will say that if you brine something right, it doesn’t have to taste brined, and that that is not a bad thing)

ETA: And shouldn’t this cleaning be more like a rinse than a soak? Brining takes some time to have its desired effect. More than I think should be needed for cleaning purposes. Right?

Maybe, I’m not sure. But since most people rather like the texture and taste the process brings to the table, I doubt there’s been a lot of push for an alternative. It’s not exactly a community known for their quick embrace of new ways, y’know?

If one has a medical reason why kosher meat would endanger the health or life (say, a metabolic problem with sodium), a conversation with the local Rabbi is in order. My understanding is that a Jewish person is REQUIRED to break the rules if it will save a life. Of course, I’m sure there are vegetarians who keep kosher, so this may simply mean eating a kosher vegetarian diet, not chowing down on ham. (Unless you’re starving, then even that is allowable.)

Here’s the best description of the process I’ve found:

from this site.

An hour long salt “marinade” is more than enough time to get the salt into the tissues.
IANAJewish person, I just like kosher meat because it’s generally of a higher quality and I like what the process does to the taste and texture of the beast.

It is soaked and salted, yes.

No. Fish is treated rather differently than meat from land animals in the kosher rules. Whether a fish is kosher doesn’t depend on how it was killed or what was done with the meat afterward, as it would with beef or poultry- it only depends on the species of fish (some species are kosher, some are not). Another difference between fish and meat from land animals in the kosher rules is that fish does not count as meat- it’s parve, which means it contains neither milk nor meat. You could have a fish dish with a sauce that contained dairy products, which you couldn’t have with beef or chicken.

Yes, that is correct.

Correct again. If you’re a strict vegetarian (no meat, poultry, or fish of any kind, including no chicken stock or other meat byproducts like that), you’re probably keeping kosher without even knowing it (except during Passover, when the kosher rules are different). You wouldn’t even need the two sets of dishes that are typical of kosher homes in this case- the two sets are to keep milk and meat separated, and if you don’t eat any meat, you don’t need that. This is what some people do who keep kosher but live somewhere where it isn’t easy to get kosher meat.

3 for 3. If you’re starving, and the only food available is ham (or, in a slightly more realistic scenario, insects), you are required to eat it.

oh. It is a lot more than brined, then. It is actually salted, then washed clean. Thanks for both detailed responses.