Originally Posted by UF_Aero
This year I figured on passing on the brine and just doing an injection (Butterball butter creole injection marinade). Since in the past I've always purchased "unenhanced" birds and brined them myself, any thoughts on enhanced vs. unenhanced if I plan skip brining and just inject? Going to smoke about a 16lb bird on a 22.5 Weber kettle @ around 350.
I've brined enhanced birds before. I don't think you get as big a change with brining enhanced birds, but I also think that it does help some.
I've even brined AND injected!
I usually just inject with butter. Sometimes the butter is seasoned, sometimes not. I wouldn't inject with a lot of flavor AND brine though. Do one or the other unless your injection is pretty simple.
Here's my opinion on enhanced turkeys:
The "enhancement" is usually a salty brine solution that's added. The packaging may say "up to 8%" or "up to3.5%". So, there's a big variable as to how much they injected and of what.
Let's say that brining adds a total of 10% "enhancement". (I really have no idea how much brining adds, but let's say 10%). Brining works by equilibrium and osmosis. So if you start with a raw, fresh turkey with 0% enhancement and you brine you end up with 10% enhancement due to the brine.
IF, on the other hand, you start with a turkey that has been "enhanced with up to 5% salt solution" and you brine it for 18-24 hours, you'll end up with what? Yep....a 10% enhanced bird. Because the whole process of brining first extracts any salt in the meat (whether natural or previously enhanced) and THEN through equilibrium, the salt level equalizes between the brine and the meat, yielding flavorful turkey meat. I don't think that brining an enhanced bird makes the turkey way more overly salty. I think you don't get AS MUCH improvement by brining an enhanced bird, but you still get benefit. They say "up to 3%", so what actual percentage of the bird got "enhanced" Who knows?
Now.....these are just my thoughts on this. I really have no concrete evidence to defend this right now, other than what I've read and learned along the way. Someone could pop in here and tell me I'm off my rocker.
All I know is that I've brined enhanced and non-enhanced birds and they both turn about the same: AWESOME.