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1st Cornish Hen,, Turkey next

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,, sorry I havent been on much,, work is crazy.


Wife wanted me to try some Cornish hens,, so we picked up (2) 1.2#.  I also plan on trying my first smoked turkey so I mixed up 2 gallons of brine. I put them each in seperate containers ofc.


2 gallons of water

2 cups of Kosher salt

1 can of orange juice concentrate

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tbs of majorham

1 tbs of oregano

1 tbs of sage

1 tbs of onion powder

1 tbs of garlic powder

1tbs of red pepper flakes.


I brined the hens for 2.5 hours, let sit out for 30 mins after patting dry, then rubbed with some more savory herbs, no butter or oil used.  I preheated the old MES to 225 and used oak n cherry pellets in AMNPS.  I bumped it up later to 305 after about an hour or so.  I pulled when it hit IT of 172.  Smoke ring is there, smoke flavor was awesome,, meat very juicy but skin was rubbery.  QView also shows a double baked tater and wifes new recepie for stuffing.  It uses Texas Garlic toast,, she baked them to a crisp and made her stuffing,, adding some browned sweet Italian sausage,, plus the normal stuff,, onions, mushrooms and herbs :)  Stuffing was a little wet but had some great flavor,, next time she will increase cook time by about 20mins to see if it dries out more.


Cornish hens.JPG


Now for the Turkey,, I need some advice.  I dont want rubbery skin :)  Also, just to throw added twist in.  Wife is going to put a 12# on the horizontal rotisserie.  Do you think I should brine that one too ?  My 10.2# Turkey has brined for 30 hours and is now sitting waiting for your inputs, I will put in fridge before I go to work :)  How do I fix the skin.  I should say that my old MES will hit 350 easily,, it has a huge element in it.  I plan on mixing up some herb butter for under skin and over skin,, over skin mix maybe to have a little oil mixed in,, I have to use corn oil,, some relatives dont like the olive oil taste ?  I will use 1 part mesquite, 1 part cherry and 2 parts of maple pellets,, I have just enough left to do this  bird,, then need to order more :)  Maverick is working like a charm so I can get any required temps pretty much on the money and my mods to MES make for some great air flow.  Not sure if I will start this cooking Wednesday night or Thursday morning,   I have more time on Wednesday and can baby it through cooking process if needed.  It will be going in a foil pan,, so hopefully I will get some drippings from it, if it doesnt all boil away.  Turkey pan on middle shelf as top shelf doesnt give me enough room.  Will put original water/chip tray in bottom shelf and have AMNPS on that. And outside temp is supposed to be around 45f.  I should be good to go on cooking process but getting that perfect skin is going to be a challenge.


Turkey brine.JPG




Thoughts on maybe my turkey turning out better then the wifes on rotisserie ?  Hard to beat the crispy skin from that though :)


I hope everyone can enjoy the holiday, and as a vet,, lets be thankful for what we have.  Enjoy life to the fullest and always appreciate your family.  Thank you all for the help you have given and I am sure,, for the future help you will give in my new found hobby.


post #2 of 10

Welcome back,

 I would brine both birds, As for crispy skin,the MES digital maxed out will be close to 275. not near enough heat for crispy skin.

Not sure what the max temp is for the analog models?  i have an oil less fryer that i toss the birds in to finish or you can do it in the oven.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

My old analog hits 300 easily with just 1 beer :0  It will go to 350 I am sure.  When I was seasoning it a couple years ago,, it hit 475 according to the standard temp gauge on door.  I am headed out to work but I did give the bird a nice irish butter rub down,, on outside,, will sprinkle some herbs on and do a butter rub under skin when I get back.  then let is sit some more.  I plan on putting it in smoker around 3pm or so on Wednesday,, so next couple days are all about getting skin ready to be crispy and adding some flavor.


Edited by LarryM - 11/21/11 at 8:42am
post #4 of 10

My smoker will only go to 275F.  So, I usually put the bird in a hot oven, 350F to 375F, for the last hour.  That gets it nice and crisp.  Good luck.  Looking forward to the pictures!

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

okay,, here is a QView of my old analog.  From what I have heard,, it is much better setup then the newer ones and trust me,, it will get hot ,, very hot :)  My mod was to drill a 2" hole in the top and a 1" in the lower left side,, I then used 2 standard plumbing elbows.  This give me more then enough airflow.  But, I should note that even before mods,, the element in this thing will hit 300+ easy.



post #6 of 10

Looks delicious Larry!

post #7 of 10

I would brine both of them also.


Smoke 325º - 350º it should help crisp the skin.


If they come at as good as the game hens you'll be fine.



post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Ack,, seems I am a day ahead of myself,, damn change too night shifts at work have my scheduled screwed up.  Its only Tuesday and bird has been sitting out in fridge all night.  I am going to try prolonging the drying process.  I mixed up my herb butter, with some oil and gave it another good thick massage.  I will say that the skin didnt seperate all that easily so I didnt get under it,, was afraid to try to cut with a knife.  This was a local fresh turkey, unfrozen so label states,, no injection of salts or liquids.  It still wont go in smoker till tomorrow but it is a cold fridge,, spare that I keep  just for sodas n water,, and of course beer when wife lets me load it up :)  temp should be fine,,showing 43.6 right now, hope though that meat wont dry out too much till tomorrow afternoon.  I should have left in brine for another day but its too late now.  I wonder if skin will absorb much from another night sitting there,, with all that butter n herbs,, should be mighty tasty once I get MES hot enough for crispy skin :)



post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Sorry again :)  its crazy here.  Lil Qview included.


I did finish my turkey for Thanksgiving,, skin wasnt crispy enough for everyone so wife's rotiserrie version won our little competition.  I will say,, it has great smoke flavor though and am going too put leftovers into a soup :)  Now after Thanksgiving is done,, I have been told to smoke some lamb for daughter :)


I mixed up a simple brine,, 1 gallon water, 1 cup Kosher salt.  Then I put on stove to cook,, added some parsley, marjorham, oregano, sage, bout a cup of brown sugar and some diced onions.  Brought it too a boil,, then back to a slow simmer.  After about 2 hours, I moved it too sink and surrounded with cold water to bring temp down,, then I put the lamb in the bowl and will drown it overnight or longer.  Daughter is very picky,, she wants it brown on outside but crying blood on the inside :)  What a smile that brings to me,, no overcooking,, no extra spices,, just red meat and dribbling juices from mouth when eating :)  Yeehaw :)

Turkey,, then Lamb Qview,, before cooking ofc.








Guess you cant see the brine much,, but with all the above ingredients,, should be ready to play after 24 hours swimming :)



post #10 of 10
Turkey Looks Great icon14.gif
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