smoking my first turkey - brine ideas?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by thatguy23, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. thatguy23

    thatguy23 Newbie

    Hi folks!  Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I'm finishing my first season with a great Bradley electric that my wife bought me for Christmas.  I've got a small bird that I'm going to smoke (as well as one I'm going to oven bake) and I have a few questions.

    My dad used to smoke a fair bit of fish and he used a brine that was apple juice based.  I was thinking of using about a gallon (4 litres actually) of apple juice, a half cup of brown sugar and a cup of salt.  I don't think I'll need much more liquid as it's not a big bird.  Do you think the juice is a good idea or will I wreck my bird?

    I also wanted to include a little Morton's salt in the brine as I was banking on the curing salts adding a little of that delicious bacon type flavour (tried this with ribs and got some nice reddish meat).  Not sure how much to include though... or maybe I can incorporate a little into a rub for the bird post-brine.

    I was thinking 4 hours of smoke and an internal temperature of 165.  Sound good?  
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The brine that I use quite a bit is apple juice, I also add six squeezed oranges, peppercorns whole cloves and whole garlic cloves. Salt and sugar ratios are close to what you listed.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  4. thatguy23

    thatguy23 Newbie

    Thanks a lot guys... I'm going to try the apple juice and see what sort of results I get.  I've brined turkey before and got great results, but my instructions were very clear about thoroughly rinsing the turkey before cooking.  Do you recommend a rinse before it goes on the smoker?  I might try throwing a few other spices right in the brine, although I've read various sources that seem to indicate there is very little contributed in terms of flavour.  I'm going to give it a go...,
  5. psycho dad

    psycho dad Smoke Blower

    yes, rinse the brine off, its salty.

    Be sure to let us know how the apple juice works out!

    I normally just go with equal parts sugar and salt, whole allspice and bay leaves.
  6. thatguy23

    thatguy23 Newbie

    Well.... I finished the bird this evening.  I was VERY happy with how it turned out, although it was about 9 or so hours in the smoker and seemed to get stuck around 150 IT.  I popped it into a 275 oven for 15 mins to get it up to 165 in the thigh... a bit of a pain but not really a big deal I guess.  It tastes sooooooo good.  I will be doing this again next year for sure, and any time turkeys happen to go on sale.

    My brine turned out to be:

    4 litres of apple juice

    1/2 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup salt

    1 TBS Morton's Tender Quick

    Garlic cloves, peppercorns, some sage and thyme and various other herbs left over from a dry brine of another turkey I was working on

    I'd really like to try the orange that dirt sailor recommended.  Interesting thing is that the Morton's gives it a bit of red colouration and adds a nice cured taste, which was what I was hoping for.  I will add a little more next time and will brine for longer.  I guess that 16 hours is pretty close to 24 though, but maybe 8 more hours would really take it over the edge!  The meat is tender and sweet from the juice and the sugar.  I just wish I could have got the temp a little higher in my Bradley, but as I am quickly discovering, this seems to be a common issue.  

    Regardless, the bird is carved and ready to serve tomorrow alongside my dry brined bird that I'll pop in the oven.

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement!
  7. lazykitty

    lazykitty Fire Starter

    Do you have any pictures to share?  [​IMG]

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