A Couple Turkey Questions

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by uberhack, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. uberhack

    uberhack Fire Starter

    First, I want to thank you guys for all of your help so far in my smoking adventures. Everything I've done has been great and my wife loves you all :)

    Here we go. I'm pre-smoking up an 8 lb turkey breast tomorrow. It's about half thawed (been in the fridge since Sunday, weird huh?). I went ahead and put it in the brine anyways. Do you guys think it will finish thawing by morning?
    Second, do you think I could shove a beer can in there? I know it works on a grill, but does it work in the smoker?

    Finally, damn it's cold out there. Is it ok wrap my Smokey Mt gasser with an old moving blanket?

    Thanks in advance. You guys rock.
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I would pull the bird from the brine and run it under cold water in a clean sink to defrost it then into the brine but thats just my opinion. The beer can will work with smoking. The blanket may work if it doesn't catch on fire many people use a welding blanket to wrap the smoker
  3. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Gonna take that meat ferever ta thaw out in a brine, pull it out like Jerry says, place under cool movin water then rebrine. After the brine rinse, sprinkle with yer rub an smoke it. Ya can use a beer can, but ya really don't need it with a brine.

    Movin blanket, it might work but I'd be watchin it real carefull. Maybe some fiberglass insulation then the blanket over it. Just be carefull not ta get any glass fibers onta yer bird.
  4. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Times New I2][font=Verdana,Arial,Times New I2][/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Times New I2]By putting a frozen breast in the brine, it is actually making it colder...Remember when you make homemade ice cream? You add Salt to the ice to make it cold enough to freeze the mixture. [/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Times New I2]A water/ ice mixture gets colder when salt is added because as ice molecules melt they absorb energy from the mixture by causing the water molecules to slow down...This results in a mixture that actually gets colder than ice by itself.[/font]

    Pull the bird, make sure it is thawed and then back in the brine.

    Good luck on your smoke!
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just like the rest of them have said - a frozen turkey and brine is not your friend - make sure it thaws first so you can cook it when you need

    Keep an eye on that wrap to make sure you dont catch fire
  6. uberhack

    uberhack Fire Starter

    Got it. Pulled and thawed. It was only a quarter frozen, so it was an easy finish.

    Next question. Since I'm precooking, should I under cook a bit so it can finish on reheat or go the full 160 deg?
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would do like Jerry said and thaw it under some cool water. Then brine away and smoke it as usual. You should be fine and I would wrap the smoker in old blankets like you asked just keep an eye on them for fire.
  8. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I fully cook mine, then just reheat. When reheatin is when ya watch temps real carefull cause ya don't wan't no more cookin, ya just wan't it ta be warm. Turkey (whole) I reheat in a 325° - 350° oven till it hits bout 150° in the breast an then pull it, it'll coast up another 5° - 10° on it's own. I put the bird in a roaster pan on a rack an add a bit a water er apple cider to the pan to help keep it moist.
  9. uberhack

    uberhack Fire Starter

    Thanks for all of the great help you guys it came out fantastic. Things were so crazy I only had a chance to snap one shot of Tommy Turkey. Cheers!
  10. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    This is an interesting question. I'm not sure it is as simple as this, but then I'm not sure I fully understand either.
    Adding salt to ice will lower the temp but it will also melt the ice.
    However, the ice in a turkey is locked up somewhat inside muscle cells and tissue which slow the diffusion of salt, so both effects may be dampened some.

    At any rate, if the melting ice (turkey) lowers the brine temp, just set the brine bucket on the counter and/or start with room-temp brine. (but keep an eye on the brine to make sure it doesn't get or stay over 40 degrees)

    Cooks Illustrated did some testing of smaller meat pieces. Not sure why whole birds were not mentioned though.

  11. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When I did the turkey from hell, 28 lb brined and stuffed, I did the a 48 hour brine in ice chest, and the turkey still was about 25%+ frozen on one side when it went into the brine. When I removed from the brine the bird was completely thawed, and that water was ice cold, lots of ice still in the brine. I ended up doing a 5+ hour smoke getting the temp to 140º then moved the bird to the oven to finish.

    Rem. the brine process pulls water into the meat cells, water that IS NOT frozen, thus it should also defrost as or at least have a trade off that will still allow the meat to be brined and thawed completely.

    Note I am only relating this for a turkey that is almost completely thawed at least up to 30 %. Which can easily be overcome in a 24+ hour brine. A larger turkey say frozen 50% may require a brine longer than 48 hours and result in a meat that has too much salt. Turkey breasts would naturally only require 5-8 hours of brining and thus the time necessary to achieve complete thaw and time to benefit from the brine may not be enough.

    Brine should be kept at temperatures below 40º and carefully monitored.

    This is only opinion and it is highly recommended that anyone seeking to resolve the above issue should search the internet for appropriate and USDA approved methods and info.
  12. daddyzaring

    daddyzaring Smoking Fanatic

    I am sure you have already done this and all, but I was curious as to your first post. You said you were doing a Turkey "Breast," how would you do that with a beer can? Don't you need the whole bird?

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