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Smoking a turkey for the first time

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Cooking a turkey for the first time. My question: do I have to brine the turkey or can I just smoke it as it is? The family is not big on flavors for the turkey, just want the original smoked taste.

post #2 of 14

Brining helps keep the bird juicy. You don't have to add a lot of flavoring to the brine. You can do just a simple mix of salt, sugar, and water if you want.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. Should I use equal parts salt and sugar, or cut back on the salt. High blood pressure is a factor and I don't want it too salty for taste. Also, is 12 hours long enough for a 13# turkey to brine?

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. Should I use equal parts salt and sugar, or cut back on the salt. High blood pressure is a factor and I don't want it too salty for taste. Also, is 12 hours long enough for a 13# turkey to brine?

post #5 of 14
post #6 of 14

Howdee KD, justa suggestion or a request. Please take a moment and go into your profile and let everyone know where you hang your hat. It can male a big difference in the answers given to question. Pikes Peak, Alaska, and Florida would all have to temper considerations to fit their paticular geography/weather. Altitude and weather being just two considerations.

 

Thank you sir

 

Oh and remember to enjoy the smoke.

post #7 of 14

 Hi kdcaleb2. 12 hours is plenty of time. I usually go with equal parts salt and sugar but about half of the recommended amounts. (blood pressure issues). So about 1/2 cup salt/sugar per gallon of water. It helps to moisten the meat but does not make it too salty. Let us know how it turns out.

 

   Mike

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info!!! Will definitely brine for tender and juicy turkey!!!

post #9 of 14

  Be sure to smoke to internal temps rather than time so as not to overcook/ dry out the meat!:biggrin:

 

   Mike

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdcaleb2 View Post
 

Thank you for the info!!! Will definitely brine for tender and juicy turkey!!!


Brining isn't needed for a juicy bird. You can smoke a bird without brining it and it will come out just as moist. With that said I brine almost all of my turkeys, but only to enhance the flavor profile. If you are going to brine make sure to buy a non-injected, free range or organic turkey that hasn't been enhanced.

 

The old methods of low and slow smoking could lead to a dried out bird, just as easy to do in the oven. I prefer to smoke my turkeys in a smoker that is above 300º, preferably 325º. You get plenty of smoke flavor, the skin crisps up and it doesn't take all day! Last years 16# bird was done in 5 hours. You want to cook to an IT of 165º in the thigh. When its done pull the bird place in a foil pan and cover with foil. Let it sit for 45min-1hour then break it down and serve.

post #11 of 14

I have cooked hundreds of turkeys and aint never brined anything.  I am very traditionalist and that aint a tradition down here in Cajun country.  Here's  a good way.  take ya turkey and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels then rub it with soft butter inside and out.  Rub on ya favorite seasonings, then inject with ya favorite marinate injection sauce there are tons of different ones and most come with lil injection serenges included.  Let it sit over night at room temp if possible or park it in da fridge.  When smoking I have a pan of water underneath the bird and fire off side.  On a slow year I cook maybe 10 turkeys and smoke half of them.  When working for the mens group at church I usually help fry 200 in one weekend.  Not one single one is brined or for that matter Dry.:biggrin:

post #12 of 14

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

 

This should be enough for a 10-12 pound bird.  If not, just double it.  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.

 

I season mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning.  Don't forget to season it inside the cavity.  For a whole bird, putting celery stalks and a cut up potato in the cavity will help keep the bird moist.

 

Use apple wood or another fruit wood to keep the bird from getting a harsh or bitter smoke flavor.  Use less than you would for brisket or pork, and you will end up with a delicate smoke flavor.

 

I also spray my bird with a 50-50 mixture of bourbon and apple juice every hour.  Cook at 275-300 for approximately 40 minutes per pound.  Use a meat thermometer for the last hour.  Whe you hit 165 degrees internal temperature, pull it off and wrap it in foil and a towel and put it back in the cooler for an hour to rest.  This is what you get:

 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 14

<Chuckles>

 

Can ya tell there is much discussion upon the right and wrong ways to cook a fowl?

 

You don't have to do anything but smoke it, everyone will give you what they like thier turkey like. There is no wrong way.

 

My suggestion is you do at least a smoked chicken or two, then ask your questions about what you see and what you are trying to achieve.

 

If you want simple, try simple. Low and slow then try it. You have easily enough time for 2 or 3 smokes before the turkey. Use it, besides getting a great chance to hone your skills, hopefully you'll get some happy faces in the process.

 

Take notes so you know exactly what you did and did not do. what you did and did not like, what you are going to change next time.

post #14 of 14
Great stuff.
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