I have been brining turkeys now for several years and have been on the fence as to whether it made a big difference. Well after this turkey day fiasco I’m a total believer that it makes a huge deference, and actually saved the day. Here’s what transpired to make a believer out of me.
I put two 22 pound Jennie-o turkeys in honey apple brine to soak late Tuesday night. They came out of the brine around 8:30 am Thursday, washed, rinsed, dried and set out to come to room temp, while I got smoker ready. They went in the smoker between 9:30 am and 10:00 am. I expected to smoke them for 6-7 hours in the 275 - 300 degree range, as experience has taught me. All was going well, Family was arriving as expected around noon. Around 1:30 pm the Family and wife decided to go shopping and visit a family member who was in the hospital in another town. They left the kids with me since I was not able to go and needed to tend the smoker, and dinner wasn’t till around 6:30. The Kids were in the house goofing around having a good old time which was fine and good they wasn’t hurting anything . At 2:45 I was on my way back into the house after adding water and wood to the smoker when I heard a big crash, glass breaking, and bone chilling scream. I ran into the house and up stairs where I found my 8 year old niece with blood running down her arm. The younger kids had been jumping on the bed and she fell into the window. I grabbed a towel wiped away the blood and saw a large gash in her arm from the broken window. I wrapped her arm in several towels had my son hold presser on it grabbed extra towels loaded up 5 kids in car and headed to hospital which is 20 min away, as I knew it needed stitches. While driving to hospital I’m trying to reach 1 of the family members on cell and naturally no one is answering. We arrived at hospital and ER is naturally slow, only 1 nurse at front desk. The nurse got to us after she finished with the person she was talking to when we got there, which seemed like hours. After what seemed like 10 million questions ½ of which I didn’t know the answers to the nurse took us back to a room. The ER Doc came in, after what seemed like hours, and took a look at it and said that’s 1 nasty cut going to need stitches at a minimum. I need it cleaned up better before I can tell more. 2 nurses worked at cleaning it up so DR. could see what damage had been done. After they got it cleaned up he came back and looked it all over in and out, and said it does not look like there are any nerves or major veins cut so well just stitch it up, it’s not as bad as it first appeared. The DR deadened it and left, came back in a bought 15 min to check numbed it some more and left. After a bought 30 min he returned and started stitching. Just as he is a bought to start stitching my cell rings it’s my wife wanting to know where I’m at and what happened. I explained and told her to bring my niece’s parents to ER. They arrived at ER before they were done stitching her up. I explain what happened to my sister, and she is frantic, and wants to go back but they need the info I could not provide. It took 56 stitches to stitch her up 38 were outside. By the time we are all done it’s almost 6 pm, I asked if anyone had turned off the smoker and naturally no one had, I said I’ll bet we are not eating turkey tonight. When we got home I jump out and look at temp and temp in breast is 215 wayyyyyyyyyy over done. I’m ready to just pitch it and go to town and eat. Wife says just cut it up before we do that, to make sure, it may not be a total loss. I take 1 turkey in just knowing its shoe leather and cut a slice off. It’s dry but not shoe leather. I cut breast off and slice more, have others taste it, they all agree it’s editable; just add gravy and it will be fine. I cut both turkeys while others make gravy and instant potatoes no time for real taters. We finely sit down to eat at 7:30. If a turkey over cooked by 45 degrees can be eaten, and it may have been more I don’t know for sure as smoker temp was also down to 240. I’m a firm believer in brining as that has got to be the only reason we were able to eat it. Needless to say my turkey day was very stressful and nerve racking.