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newbie smoker

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi, im smoking a full bird for the first time this week.  Ive read just enough to scare me.  I bought a 16# bird and put it in the fridge (38 degrees) to thaw.  Started thawing Wed nov 14th, (5 days ago). I felt it this morning and it feels thawed.  I also didnt know it was already injected so now im worried about using a Brine because it may be too salty?  I wanted to start cooking it tomorrow night after brining it tonight.  Has it been thawing too long that its now bad and I need to throw it away and start over?  or can I actually wait till tomorrow afternoon to put it in the cooker?

post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 

I started thawing a 2nd 16# bird last night to use for turkey day, the first one was for a work potluck....and I hate to get anyone sick!

post #3 of 18
First things first....welcome to the forum. If you would swing by Role Call and tell us a little about yourself and receive a proper welcome.

Ok first bird... You should be fine since most of the time was frozen and you kept it in the fridge. When you take it out of the package rinse it off and let sit for a few minutes. Smell it and if it smells bad...well you got your answer. I would be pretty confident you will be ok. The only way it would be bad in my experience is if it was frozen bad, your only talking 6 days in the fridge and most was frozen.
I do not brine, but from what others have said brine away. You will only add flavor to your bird. If it was me and I was concerned about too much salt, just cut back a little in your brine. But I would just go for it and not cut back.

Second bird...... You may need to help it along. On Tuesday night if it is still frozen. Take it out of the package. Using cold running water remove the neck bone and gizzard package. Place the bird in a pan uncovered back into the fridge till time to brine on Wednesday night.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

ok, thanks so much!  I'll post pics of both the finished results! 

post #5 of 18
I've never done a bird before in a smoker but all that I have read here the last few days leads me to believe that most turkeys aren't injected very much. The bird I'm doing was listed as have a 4% solution injection so I went ahead and started a brine on it tonight. Going to brine it for 24 hours and then let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours and then inject it 24 hours before smoking. I trust it will turn out great. I do have a second bird I will cooking in a roaster.
post #6 of 18

Welcome to the forum.


Brining won't be a problem. I have done several birds (whole chickens and turkeys) and there should be no issue brining an enhanced bird. If you are nervous about it, cut back a little on the salt in the brine.


Tips for a successful bird: consistent temp, a good thermometer, and patience.

post #7 of 18

Hello and welcome! 


Here's some info that Chef Jimmy posted a few days ago and I made it into an article 


When you get a chance would you swing by Roll Call and introduce yourself so we can give you a proper SMF Welcome!

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Success! I don't know how to post pictures on here from my iPhone, but ill try to upload it later today from a computer! First bird took less than 4 hours, no brine and used a vertical stand. 2nd bird in brine now to cook tomorrow start at 8am!!! It went WAY faster than I thought! At 4 hours, temp in the breast was 178!! Scared me, but it's juicy even without brining!
post #9 of 18

That is awesome!!!!


Remember to give yourself a bit of a padding time for the cook. Everything cooks at it's own pace.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 




post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

i started brining my 2nd bird last night at 7pm, I did 2 gals water, 1 cup sea salt, 1.5 cup brown sugar, 4 tsp garlic powder, 4 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp old bay, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp black peppercorns.  Its in the fridge with a plate on top of it to keep it submerged.  I was planning on leaving it in there till I cook it starting tomorrow at that too long to leave it in the brine? Ive been reading around and im scared it will be ruined if I dont drive home right now and take it out! lol

post #12 of 18
I would give it 24hrs, then pull and let sit to let the skin dry out a bit....... No worries you should be fine.......
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

So glad this is here!  Last year's bird was so amazingly good, that I have been asked to follow the EXACT same recipe!  Cant wait!  Thanks all!  Happy early Thanksgiving!

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

so, i may have ruined my bird this year.  put it in the brine last night and it still had some ice crystals inside the cavity, so i think the bird was about 33-35 degrees.  I put it in brine and put it in the garage fridge.  when i woke up this morning to put it in the smoker, i found the fridge had stopped working last night.  I put the meat thermometer in the breast and it read 50 degrees.  its in the smoker now and im trying to get it to 140.00 as soon as possible.  Should i just throw this one away this year?!?!  I dont know how long the fridge was off.. :*(  HELP!

post #15 of 18
You have a difficult descission to make. I will give some info to help, but ultimately it is your call.

Yes food product like meats should be maintained below 40.
Things I would look at are. What time was it put in the fridge. Since it had ice crystals I would say it was close to the 32 range. I would look at what temp it was when you pulled it. Divide the temp difference by the amount of hours it was in the fridge. That will give you how much it raised temp per hour. At the point where it approximately crosses the 40 degree range is where the clock starts. If you have injected it then you have about 4hrs from that point to get over 140. If you have not injected it, you will have some wiggle room. I would go hot and fast to get over the 140 mark and then turn it down to finish cooking it.

Again it is ultimately your call on what you do.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

it went into the fridge/brine about 8am yesterday, it was 51 degrees at 7:30am this morning.  It was 8% pre injected.  I have it going hot and fast right now.  it is at 130 degrees now and its 9:25am.  So in the 11 hours it rose 19 degrees.  1.72 degrees per hour means it took about 5 hours if the fridge was off all night.  Not sure....

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

bad math, refigured at .86 per hour.  Gonna roll with it.  its at 145 and should be done in another hour or less.  i'll taste test it and that will give 2 hours before the family is ready to eat.  I figure if im sick in that 2 hours, i can save everybody else.  if not....lucky this year..



i know for sure....i'll be setting alarms next year to make sure this doesnt happen again!



Thank you guys!

post #18 of 18
Sounds like a plan.

I hope all worked out for you and the family.
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