Smoking Turkey

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ISUTex

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May 25, 2012
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What’s the consensus on how long to brine? I’ve seen everything from a half day to several days. We get one of those fancy turkeys from Whole Foods so I don’t know if it will come brined or not.

Throw it in the brine after dinner. Take it out after breakfast.
 

nwiafan

Active Member
Dec 22, 2008
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Hawarden

Follow this and you will not be disappointed. Make sure you make the gravy as shown, it's amazing. We've followed this for the last several years and it has always turned out amazing.

Be careful brining a turkey that has already been packaged in a salt/brine solution (most frozen turkeys are done this way). You will overload the salt intake especially if you rub with a commercial rub that already contains salt.
 
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MLawrence

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Jan 21, 2010
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How do you brine several days when it's only recommended to leave in the refrigerator for 1-2 days? Or are you just a rebel like that?
Just use Prague Powder #1, and boom brining (and curing) for days! Just be sure to wash it off.
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

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SuperFanatic
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Feb 10, 2007
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How do you brine several days when it's only recommended to leave in the refrigerator for 1-2 days? Or are you just a rebel like that?

I'm planning on spatchcocking for the first time ever, and smoking on the Pit Boss. Will brine the day before smoking.
You have to remember that those guidelines are trying to be as safe as possible. I've bought chicken that was bad well before the date on the package.
 

cyphoon

Active Member
Sep 8, 2011
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The Turkey I bought says it has an 8% solution of water, salt, and spices. I'm assuming this means I don't have to brine it?
Correct! Do not brine a "self basting" turkey that has already been injected with a salt solution. It will end up over the top salty. If you want to brine yourself, look for "natural turkey" that has not been injected.

2nd tip: turkey and chicken don't have the tough fibers that brisket, ribs, and pork butt have. They are already tender and don't benefit from hours and hours of "low and slow" smoking. I roast all of my poultry at 300 to 350 degrees. All the smoke injection happens when the meat is cold. After that, you are just looking to get it to temp without a lot of drawn out fan fare.

I have seen some people claim that low and slow smoking of poultry is dangerous because the meat spends too much time at incubator like temps that foster bacterial growth. Not sure I buy this when you are going to eventually have the breast at 160 degrees or more, and the thighs even higher.

H
 

CYdTracked

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Mar 23, 2006
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Good to know to check the packaging to see if it already has been "brined" or not too, something I did not think of. I have an offset charcoal smoker that I'm guessing even if I get the fire blazing hot I will be lucky to maintain a consistent temp over 250 in cooler weather so definitely going to be a low and slow smoke.

I just replaced my side box this summer after it had started to rust out at the mounts which was a fun experience as I had to use a disc grinder to grind off the rusted bolts that I could not remove. Next time its gets in bad shape like that I am just going to replace the entire smoker as the one regret I have is not buying a higher quality smoker with some thicker steel as mine probably leaks out too much heat. I know that the pellet smokers are the "in thing" right now because you can just set the temp and leave it alone but I am old school and feel if you want the best flavor you have to go charcoal and wood chunks for your fire.

Recent came across the Man Fire Food show on TV https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/man-fire-food and find some of the smoking methods and custom smokers some of the places the host visits very interesting. Some of the methods and contraptions featured on the show are time consuming but the finished product looks amazing.
 

GoCy

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Apr 11, 2006
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I have smoked 2 turkeys, and have been disappointed with the amount of smoke flavor. This time I am considering removing the skin before smoking. Anyone do this, and does it dry the turkey out?
 

dmclone

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Oct 20, 2006
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I have smoked 2 turkeys, and have been disappointed with the amount of smoke flavor. This time I am considering removing the skin before smoking. Anyone do this, and does it dry the turkey out?
Yes, I removed the skin. No problem with it being dry since I both brined and wrapped it. With that said, still didn't get a TON of smoke flavor from it.
 

Cy Hard

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Jan 5, 2008
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I typically use apple wood. I always get plenty of smoke flavor with other meats. That is what makes me think the skin is blocking the smoke flavor from the meat.
Are you getting a wooden spoon under the skin to loosen it off the meat? Do that and season under the skin and you’ll get the flavor you want I think.
 
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cycloner29

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Dec 17, 2008
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Probably will do a vegetable stock brine as the stock will have enough salt in it and add some brown sugar to it. Will stuff the cavity with celery, onion, rosemary, sage and thyme. Will add poultry seasoning to butter to put under the skin and rub on the outside. Something new I’m trying.