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First Turkey have some questions

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey all, been smoking a lot of pork and now im wanting to venture into poultury.  We raise turkeys so we got em big, we have em cut in half when we butcher them so half a turkey is about 17-19 lbs.  I have a few questions, one, why do people tend to smoke chicken at a higher temperature and not turkey? Two, whats a good basic brine i can use and maybe add on to it eventually? And three, whats the best wood and temperature for turkey?  As soon as i smoke my first turkey which will hopefully be this weekend i will be sure to post Qview.  Thank you for looking.

post #2 of 13

,Hi,

 

I have been smoking from 75 to 100 lb of turkey per year for the past 25 years.  I use a sweet brine 1/2 salt and 1/2 sugar.  I make the brine strong enough to float a small raw potatoe.  I usually add 2 tbs of onion powder and 1 tsp of ground sage per gallon of brine.   I break down the turkey into wings, legs (drumstick & thigh together), and breast (broken into right and left sides).  The breast portions are encased in elastic mest.  Then, the legs and breasts are pumped with brine (wings are thin enough that they don't need pumping) and the meat immersed in brine in a refrigerator for 48 hours.  I don't use nitrates because nitrates/nitrites were historicaly used to prevent trichinosis in pork.  If I want the final product to have a pink colour I add 1 tsp of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) per 10 lb of product.  After 48 hours I rinse the pieces to remove the surface salt, hang in my smoker with the vents open until the product is dry, cold smoke at 100 degrees for at least four hours, and then raise the temperature 10 degrees per hour, while continuing a light smoke, until the interior temperature of the thickest piece is 155 degrees.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHunter View Post

,Hi,

 

I have been smoking from 75 to 100 lb of turkey per year for the past 25 years.  I use a sweet brine 1/2 salt and 1/2 sugar.  I make the brine strong enough to float a small raw potatoe.  I usually add 2 tbs of onion powder and 1 tsp of ground sage per gallon of brine.   I break down the turkey into wings, legs (drumstick & thigh together), and breast (broken into right and left sides).  The breast portions are encased in elastic mest.  Then, the legs and breasts are pumped with brine (wings are thin enough that they don't need pumping) and the meat immersed in brine in a refrigerator for 48 hours.  I don't use nitrates because nitrates/nitrites were historicaly used to prevent trichinosis in pork.  If I want the final product to have a pink colour I add 1 tsp of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) per 10 lb of product.  After 48 hours I rinse the pieces to remove the surface salt, hang in my smoker with the vents open until the product is dry, cold smoke at 100 degrees for at least four hours, and then raise the temperature 10 degrees per hour, while continuing a light smoke, until the interior temperature of the thickest piece is 155 degrees.



If it isn't cured how can you safely cold smoke it for four hours? Is this a salt cure?

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinAl View Post

If it isn't cured how can you safely cold smoke it for four hours? Is this a salt cure?


You can't.

That would actually be at least 10 hours below 140˚, because your smoker temp would go from 100˚ to 150˚ in another 5 hours (10˚ per hour), and the meat would still be below 140˚ at that point. You would be relying on a very high amount of salt. Salt is not considered a cure. I have no idea how you would get rid of all of that huge amount of salt flavor that you would be using to try to keep it from spoiling.

Also nitrates/nitrites are used to prevent spoilage & botulism----Not to kill trichinosis. That would be freezing and/or cooking.

 

Bear

 

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcarver View Post




You can't.

That would actually be at least 10 hours below 140˚, because your smoker temp would go from 100˚ to 150˚ in another 5 hours (10˚ per hour), and the meat would still be below 140˚ at that point. You would be relying on a very high amount of salt. Salt is not considered a cure. I have no idea how you would get rid of all of that huge amount of salt flavor that you would be using to try to keep it from spoiling.

Also nitrates/nitrites are used to prevent spoilage & botulism----Not to kill trichinosis. That would be freezing and/or cooking.

 

Bear

 



That makes three of us questioning this. It flys in the face of everything we know about food safety. I would not follow this method until we get a whole lot more information.  

 

ANSTISSK

Sorry your thread got a little hijacked but it is important that the posts here dont get folks sick.

Here is a brine that a lot of us use around here with great success

 

 

Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
1 ½ Gal Water
½ C Salt - Kosher
½ C Dark Brown Sugar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp Celery Seed

Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Celery Seed
2 TBS melted Butter (non salted
2 C Apple Cider

Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
8 oz Apple Cider
6 oz Water
4 oz Whiskey
2 oz Cider Vinegar

 

 

post #6 of 13

Personally I smoke all my poultry at high temps so I get the nice crispy skin. With birds that size I would highly suggest the higher temps to get them through the danger zone in time to meet safety standards. If you really wanted to you could turn the smoker back down to the 225 degree area once you got the bird above 135 internal temp. The recipes Scarbelly posted are very good. Good luck with the smoke and be sure to post some Qview

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

that looks like a good brine.  Thanks, so for my other question, why do people tend to smoke turkey cooler and slower than chicken?

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by anstissk View Post

that looks like a good brine.  Thanks, so for my other question, why do people tend to smoke turkey cooler and slower than chicken?



Tips Brine is great, That's what i use,With some added ingredients ofcourse.

I personally smoke my turkeys around 325º it makes for a nice color, and crisp skin.And as Piney said, You want to get threw the D-zone.

You can low & slow a turkey but it has to be (cured) Not try'in to confuse you,Just try'in to help.

 

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by anstissk View Post

Hey all, been smoking a lot of pork and now im wanting to venture into poultury.  We raise turkeys so we got em big, we have em cut in half when we butcher them so half a turkey is about 17-19 lbs.  I have a few questions, one, why do people tend to smoke chicken at a higher temperature and not turkey? Two, whats a good basic brine i can use and maybe add on to it eventually? And three, whats the best wood and temperature for turkey?  As soon as i smoke my first turkey which will hopefully be this weekend i will be sure to post Qview.  Thank you for looking.



When I do my turkeys I look for 10-12 lb'ers as I want them to get through the danger zone in time.  The bigger the piece of meat the longer it takes.  If your half turkey weighs 17-19 lb you will likely still have a tough time getting through the danger zone in less than 4 hours.  Would definately do a hotter cook early on until you are through 140 degrees.  If that doesn't work, maybe think about using cure #1 in your brine according to specs.  That will cure your meat and allow you more time to get through the danger zone.  I'm sure there are others who will chime in shortly to help with amounts of cure #1 to use per gallon of brine.  I personally leave mine in brine for 5 days as well.  I think it cuts down some of the injecting and spreads the flavor through the meat better.  Just my 2 cents.  Good luck and make sure to post pics.   

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you, that does make a lot more sense to me now, obviously bigger the bird the harder to get through the danger zone.  I will keep that in mind.  Now if i made the slaughterhouse brine up and did that for 24 hours is that long enough? How long does it actually take for the process to take place?

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by anstissk View Post

Thank you, that does make a lot more sense to me now, obviously bigger the bird the harder to get through the danger zone.  I will keep that in mind.  Now if i made the slaughterhouse brine up and did that for 24 hours is that long enough? How long does it actually take for the process to take place?



I brine my turkeys for atleast 5 days, As long as their kept at 40º

 

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by anstissk View Post

Thank you, that does make a lot more sense to me now, obviously bigger the bird the harder to get through the danger zone.  I will keep that in mind.  Now if i made the slaughterhouse brine up and did that for 24 hours is that long enough? How long does it actually take for the process to take place?



I did one after three days this winter and another that had been brined for 5 days at the same time.  Only injected with butter to keep moist.  I could tell the difference.  The 5 day one turned out awesome the 3 day one was dry and not as flavorful.  I probably will never try to go less than 5 days again.  If I did I'd make sure I got a good injection of brine to try to make up the difference. 

 

post #13 of 13

The amount of time in the brine is directly related to the amount of salt in the brine recipe. The more salt the less time in the brine. The Slaughter House brine recipe doesn't have that high of a salt content and therefore can stay in the brine for awhile. Personally I brine poultry 12-24 hours in that one but going longer would be fine if you wanted to

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