This project all started when my daughter, who teaches pre-school asked if I could smoke some turkey for the schools thanksgiving feast that they have every year. I naturally said yes....then I asked how much do they need and she said they usually do 4 12Lb birds. OH CRAP!!! because all I have at home is a Bradley which I have done 2 10LBer's in before (no easy task), and my Big Block GOSM is at the cottage 200 miles north!!! I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would have to make a trip north to get my GOSM when I was at Sam's Club and saw the MES 40 for $298.......PROBLEM SOLVED!!! I have heard about how everybody here has good luck with them and loaded one up. I started a brine with the following thinking I would need about 6 gallons of brine. I used tenderquik to do a Cure-brine just for some insurance because I was cooking for so many strangers, I could have used salt instead and you can too.
Thanks to Pineywoods for helping me Figure out how to do the Q-View!!!
Into the Big stock pot went:
2 Gal Water
2-½ C Tenderquik
3 C Brown Sugar
6 bay leaves
The following I added but did not measure...use your imagination:
Old Bay Seasoning
Brought to a boil and simmered 10 minutes
I then put the pot in a sink full of cold water and changed the water every 10 minutes till the brine was room temp. I then filled the rest of the pot with water and Ice and set aside.
On to the turkeys....4 12-14lb birds Could only find 6% enhanced but gave them a cold water bath changing the water 3 times to get rid of some of the Mc-nasties they put in it.
I put the birds in food safe bags and set in coolers and added brine. There were some cubes that did not melt so I fished them out before putting on birds.
Took all air out of bags, sealed with tie-wraps and set a bag of ice on top of each to rest for 24 hrs
My first issue came when I realized that the shelf configuration in the MES 40 will not allow 4 turkeys to fit inside. I had to get creative with some S-hooks to lower the top rack so all would fit.
The MES 40 all set up and seasoned...ready to go. I put it in my garage next to a window with a fan in it to take all the smoke right outside. Have used this with my Bradley and it works well. Yes, yes I know the instructions say not to run it indoors but I figure if I can use an electric stove in the house I can use a smoker too! I think they say no because of the smoke and CO produced from the smoke... but the fan takes care of that and you hardly know it's in there
Quick rinse on the Birds and in they go. I did not add anything else besides the brine because I was cooking for a bunch of picky preschools and their picky parents so I wanted to keep it simple. Smoker was preheated to 275 degrees. I put some of the brine in the water pan to give some seasoning as it cooked. Loaded the birds at 1AM so I could target them being done by 10AM when I had to leave for the event. I left the timers in the birds to see what they would do and wrapped the birds in cheesecloth to hold them together. ( I didn't have Bags like I usually put them in.)
I fired up one end of the AMNS loaded with apple dust and set it on the lower rails in the MES (Thanks Todd, this thing really IS AMAZING!!!)
Checked the birds at 4AM and they were already at 140 degrees! didn't want them to get done too early so I dropped the smoker temp to 225 degrees. The AMNS was about 1/2 way burnt so I went back to bed.
6AM and the birds are around 155 and there is still dust in the AMNS
Gee...I hope they turn out moist. (taken thru the window in door)
9:30AM the birds hit 165 degrees...Perfect! I unloaded them and put 2 birds per full serving tray and put them in a hot-box for transport to the church where they were setting up for the event. I called by daughter who was already there (10 minutes away) and asked if they had an empty oven. She said that they had one so I told her to set it at 350 degrees so I could crisp up the skin and I would be right there.
30 minutes in the oven and all the little timers were popped up and skin was crispy.
Pay no attention to the tray on the left...Somebody decided I needed help and oven roasted one at home....nobody touched it! (heh, heh, heh) mine are the 2 trays on the right.
COOOOME AAAAAAND GEEEEEET IIIIIIIT!!!!!!!
ME WANT TURKEY!!!
I gotta tell you I was a little apprehensive about putting 50lbs of meat in a smoker I had never used....but all turned out great and everyone enjoyed it. I would not hesitate to do it again. I REALLY like this smoker and the remote that came with it is awesome! I have since done Dried Beef and CSR's in it and I've only had it a couple of weeks. I snuck it in the house while the wife was out of town and when she asked "what's up with the new smoker???" I said that I did that to save $100 in gas money and to have an extra 8 hours to spend in quality time wit you my dear!!! (I don't think she was impressed but I still got the smoker!!!!
Thanks for looking!