Remember to enjoy that smoke!
A brine without salt really isn't a brine at all. To really brine something salt must be added to the water. When I do brine I use other ingredients besides salt but since I have had such luck with the salt overnight I honestly haven't used a brine in while.
The salt help the poultry draw in moisture (kind of like reverse osmosis). When you just add salt to the skin at let it rest you get the benefit of a moister product without the meat taking on too much water which takes away some flavor IMO. When you wash the salt off there isn't too much salt flavor left on the meat.
Hope this helps!
you can use any type of wood for smoke flavor that you like or a combo of a couple...just remember some of them have a stronger smoke flavor than others....but a lot of it will be up to you and your family for what smoke flavor they like the best
I did a 7.5 pound bone-in turkey breast today, as a test run for Thanksgiving. I'm using a WSM. Just couldn't resist bragging, but it came out perfectly.
Here's what I did, step by step.
First, I brined the breast overnight. My poultry brine is:
2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 lemons, quartered and squeezed
2 oranges, quartered and squeezed
6 long sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large bunch fresh sage
I mix it up in a small cooler and then put the frozen turkey in. With the cooler closed. it will stay chilled all night, but the turkey will be defrosted by morning.
Pull the turkey out and rinse it off. Then coat it in olive oil, put in in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. This will thicken up the olive oil so the seasoning sticks to the skin.
Salt and pepper the inside of the bird, then, here's a trick to keep it moist. Soak a clean dishtowel in water and stick it into the cavity.
This works with a bird that is split down the back, because the dishtowel will get above boiling and the water and turkey juices will steam the meat. I would not recommend doing this in a bird with a closed cavity, because the temperature will only get to about 165 degrees, and it might cause bacteria to form. In a closed cavity, I use celery, onion and a cut up potato to keep the meat moist.
I dress the turkey with salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning. I smoke poultry with apple or other fruit wood, to avoid the bitterness. Don't use a lot. I used a dry terra cotta planter tray in my diffuser, with no liquid. This allows the skin to crisp while the dishtowel keeps the meat moist.
I smoked the bird at 275 degrees for 40 minutes per pound. Every hour, I sprayed it with a 50-50 mixture of bourbon and apple juice. For the last hour, I tracked IT with a meat thermometer, and when it hit 165 degrees, I wrapped it in foil and a towel and put it back in the cooler for an hour.
This may be the best bird I've ever done. It was moist and flavorful, with just the right amount of smoke. Look how juicy.