The turkey is a great bird to start to learn to fabricate with since it is
large enough to handle and because of its size it is forgiving if you slip with
the knife as well as being cheap during the holidays. I mean for five to
six dollars you can get a 14 pound bird that will yield about 9 pounds of meat
and skin. Don't stop with the Turkey after you master this bird, chickens
and ducks are next, then move on to the final Game Hens. Once you start
doing a cured poultry smoke you will never look at a appetizer layout the same.
We start with the back of the turkey and split it on each side of the back
bone. Do not cut into the bone, but do begin in one direction to remove
the meat from the bone while allowing it to stay hooked to the hide of the
turkey. While this takes some time as you get used to where the bones are
in the bird you will get faster. The great part is all the fowl are the
same in bone structure so as you master the turkey you will be gaining the
skills to do smaller fowl.
You are going to come to the breast and wing bone joint and the thigh joint
in the back. Remove the meat around these areas until you can see the
joint socket. Then with your boning knife release the joint by severing
the tendons and allow the wing bones and thigh bones to stay intact we will
remove them after the main carcass bones are removed.
Next we are going to remove the thigh and wing bones. I leave the leg
bone and the final flight bone in place as I think it makes the product look
more appealing in display.
Find the wing bone and scrape down along it toward the second flight bone.
When you get to the joint, cut the tendon and remove the bone. Be careful
in this area as it is the easiest place to cut the skin while working the bone
Next onto the thigh bone. Scrape the meat down to thigh leg bone joint
and cut the tendon and remove the thigh bone. You can then proceed all the
way to the end of the leg, but I don't as I really thing the leg bone helps the
end product look better on presentation.
Finally the bird is boned out and you are going to reform the bird into a
turkey like shape. The tie it up loosely to prepare to put it in the
Next after tying and forming we add the bird to the pickle bag so it can get the
48 hours of honey maple cure.
After the pickling is done in 48 hours for this 10 pound product. We
remove and drain, then wrap in cheese cloth. Those of you that use net
bags can just bag it. I like the cheese cloth because while I am wrapping
I can add shape to the product. Drain the pickle bag, layout the cheese
cloth and begin to wrap up the bird for the trip to the smoker.
Begin the wrapping process while working to keep the turkey shape by pushing
meat in the proper direction to give the bird shape.
Once the shape is in place
it is time to tie it up and take it to the chamber. When I designed the
last reverse I had a special door put in the chimney section. Took a while
to get the math correct so it did not turn into a giant creosote generator, but
I finally got the size shape and height to work and not get a temperature
gradient that would form the nasties. It is on the backside of the smoker.
Opened it has really good room in it, and a bar up top near the damper allows me
to hang stuff in it.
Hang the bird in it and start the magic.
This product requires heavy smoke for the beginning then down to the TBS.
Laying it down for the outer coating. Temperature of the stack is most
important at this point, you need smoke, not creosote, to make that happen you
need to ensure you do not create a cooling tower in your smoking stack section.
Control of both the damper and the draft are required to pull this off
The bird starts to take on the color we are love and cannot wait to taste.
This leads to removal, when pulling these birds you have to remove the cheese
cloth prior to cooling.
I actually did not use this one in the picture, it was so pretty my wife wanted
it for the teachers Christmas party, so I made a second one out of a 10 pound
bird. This one had a better shape. I will have pictures of it
tomorrow since it is going to the party.
This is the original in its plastic vacuum bag.