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Turkey brine

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I swear I have to re-learn brining every time I do it and I never fully understand it.

For Thanksgiving I brined 2 turkeys, both 12 pounders, and both following Jeff's smoked maple turkey recipe.

I smoked one, and fried the other one. They were both probably the best turkeys I've ever done.

I did brine then a little longer than suggested though. I think I went 36 or 48 hours.

I don't believe it's possible to have a turkey too most or too flavorful, so I might be different than most in that regard.

So for Christmas I'm doing 2 more, 1 fried and 1 smoked.

I decided to somewhat follow that recipe for smoked maple turkey again, but with a few minor changes.

I do my brining in 5 gallon buckets. And following his directions last time made it really hard to keep the turkeys submerged in the solution. It'd probably work better in a bag, but my buckets are so much easier I decided to make it work.

So I put 1.5 gallons of water in the bucket, 1 cup of kosher salt, 1 cup of dark brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of Jeff's rub. I mixed that real good so it was all dissolved, then I put a 12 pound turkey in, and put a small mixing bowl in top of it to hold it down in the solution. I then dumped a 10 pound bag of ice in the bucket to keep it cold and put the lid on it. I then took the bucket and sat it in a cooler, and dumped 3 bags of ice in the cooler. Then I put the cooler on my patio table outside. After that, I did all of it again, 1 to be smoked and 1 fried.

I'm going to cook them on Christmas Eve, so they'll be in the brine for about 55 or so hours.

Do you guys think I need more salt or sugar? I'm still not totally understanding the relationship of salt to sugar to water that makes brine work.
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
I put another cup of kosher salt, another cup of dark brown sugar, and another tablespoon of Jeff's rub in each one. That way it won't be too watery as the ice melts.

It will stay they easy for the remaining 17 or 18 hours till I smoke the one, and 24 to 30 hours til I fry the other.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Well it worked. The smoked turkey was the best one I've ever done. The fried turkey sat in the brine an extra 9 hours or so, and it was the best fried turkey I've ever done.

There was still plenty of ice in each bucket, and the coolers were still totally full of ice.

When I put the turkey on the smoker it was only 29.something degrees in the breast. The smoker stayed around 240 to 245 degrees, with a couple of short drops to around 220. It cooked for around 7 hours and was not in the "danger zone" for 4 hours.

Hopefully next year I can I look back in this and know what I'm doing.
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