Some what of a long questions about turkey/brine and cure

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by grouse, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    I have been given 22-24 14lb turkeys.  I want to smoke them and finish them off. 

    Have enough room to hang all of them and smoke them.I can do them all at once, my smoker is large enough, or do them in batches as they thaw/brine/cure.   What i don't want to do is smoke them all in the same brine/cure. 

    so what are your favorite brines and cures?

    What are your smoke times?

    Favorite woods?

    do you do them whole or split them?

    My smoker is 3x3x8h. Amazn pellet fired by propane. 
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'd try 2-3 different brines, seasonings, dry rubs etc.... do a taste test... and then do more birds.... maybe 4 birds the first smoke... nothing worse than 18 turkeys you don't want to eat.... Be sure to use cure #1 if you are planning on smoking less than 225 ish degrees... don't want to grow any botulism in those birds...

  3. Youtube has plenty of recipes for brining a turkey as well as use your search engine to find some.  Using the search engine, a 1.5 million results are returned.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    How about a straight answer to your questions...

    Here is a Brine and Rub that is a Favorite with members of my Family. I like Apple and/or Hickory with Turkey. Pitmaster's Choice Pellets are great too. With 14Lb birds you can smoke them whole. Measure the Temp in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165° and 175°F respectively. 300-325°F is optimum and you can figure 20 minutes per pound. If you want more low and slow smoke at 250°F. The skin will not be crisp so when the IT is 145°F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425°F Oven to finish cooking to 165° and Crisp the Skin or crank the heat in the smoker to crisp the skin...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
    grouse likes this.
  5. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Thank you very much.  That is what i was hoping for.  Thank you for the help
  6. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Thank you for the outstanding recommendation.  Out of that 1.5 million recipes maybe 100 might after pages of searching apply to cold smoking and finishing.  1000 might be of dubious nature.  1000 will be from jerktards that know less about smoking than my arse hairs.   I do appreciate the thought of going back through googles search engine for the 30th time in the last few months.  I mean it may be slower than asking for help on a directly related sub forum of a directly related cold smoking forum.  But hey as the new guy what the phvck do i know?
  7. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Thanks Dave,  That is the plan,  It depends on how they thaw, I guess. I do plan on using pink salt 1 on them.  I will eventually finish them off in my traeger.  I have not been able to heat the smoke house to 225+ for any period of time.  I have a few things enroute that should change that. 

    That being said i have smoked a fair number of turkeys on the traeger, this is just my first time doing it via the cold smoke. 
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Chef and Dave for the ideas.  I've got a few in the freezer as well. Reinhard
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Grouse, I missed that you wanted to do some Cured and cold smoked. While I have never cold smoked poultry, this recipe from Viper, although hot smoked, is popular and you will find adding adding 1T Cure #1 per gallon of my brine will add some great flavor as well. Sounds like an interesting project...JJ

    SMOKED TURKEY LEGS close to Disney Style

    The brine:
    2 cups tender quick salt
    1 cups brown sugar
    2 tbsp. onion powder
    2 tbsp. garlic powder
    4 bay leaves
    2 gallons water
    6 turkey legs [totally submerged in brine]*
    Sweet paprika

    Mix all brine ingredients together in a non reactive container.
    Put the turkey legs in the brine and place the container in the
    refrigerator. Let stand for at least 48 hours.*

    Remove legs from the brine and wash with cold water to remove excess.
    Then soak in cold water 1 hour.
    Rub the legs with a small amount of sweet paprika. Put legs in
    smoker and set temperature for 225 degrees F. Smoke for at least
    five hours.Untill Internal temp is 165-170 degrees.

    *Large turkey legs will require 3 full days to be fully brined
    and flavored. Smoking time at 225 degrees F will be about
    6 1/2 hours.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I don't want to break the rules here but you should take a look at That guy has assembled the ultimate last word on turkey cooking, smoking, frying etc. I have use a few of his brines and they are always top notch. Hopefully this won't show up as a link and I won't get in trouble with the mods.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Grouse, there's been an increase of folks wanting the taste of Cedar Plank on their Birds ,and that can be accomplished by using Juniper Berries in your Brine.  As with any flavor profile you add to the Brine , It can be changed and manipulated ... I had thought of doing one similar to JJ's Recipe and adding a( tbls) of cracked berries to the mix , Should be interesting .[​IMG]

    grouse likes this.
  13. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    That i can do. the smoker is cedar, and i have plenty of berries.  I will give that a go.  I also plan on a orange terriyaki brine. 
    Thank you.  I plan on smoking them and then finishing them off till IT hits temp in my traeger. If my new propane burner comes, I will try and bump up the heat in the smoker which is my preference. After that i will part them out for my lunch meat and other bits for soups, stews, and just plain old dinner. 
    Thanks Dave i will give it another look.  I just finished cutting 20lbs of venison for my second batch of jerky. 
  14. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Well here is the result. Pre-smoke

    10lbs of venison pastrami
    20 brined/cured turkeys
    2 plain jane turkeys


    cold smoke over night
    Tomorrow hot smoke till done internal temperature

    then separate the thighs for soups, the legs and wings for taco's and enchiladas, breasts for lunch meats.

    the brines and cure was based off Chef's recommendation.  I did some adding and subtracting of flavors.   I basically did 2 of each brine, One with out apples and oranges and one with.  I also did two with the mortons tender quick recipe he recommended.

    We shall see how it goes.    
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cold smoking any meat, that does not have cure #1 in it, is a breeding ground for botulism.... I would not do that.... and I can't recommend it..... It is not safe.....

  16. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Dave. It is 30 degrees out. Ony the two plane jane do not have cure 1. The rest do. Tomorrow everything will be hot smoked
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I didn't realize your smoker was at 30 deg.... Sorry.....

  18. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    Heh, no problem.
  19. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    So it was along day yesterday. Got them all up to 140 right quick, and then did a slow rise up to 165. 

    In this pic you can see 22 smoked turkeys on the right, and about 20+ live ones at my deer feeder on the left. 

    I pulled the pastrami out last night. It was fantastic. Sorry no pics of that.

    I pulled one bird for the kids to see.  Then i gave them a few test slices.

  20. grouse

    grouse Fire Starter

    On the second day of Ur, I Turkimus Maximus,  Cemented my empire on the smoked remains of my foes.

    Breast meat for sandwiches

    Legs,Thighs, and wings for soups, tacos, enchiladas.


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