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Turkey questions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
So I smoked a turkey a couple weeks ago (practice for Thanksgiving) and I brined it for around 12 hours or so.

When I got done smoking the thing, it was so salty I couldn't even stand it.

Are you supposed to rinse it off or something after you brine it? Did I just use to much salt?

The recipe I followed was one I got from some site (could very well even be this site). The brine portion of it is as follows:
So my turkey was 12.5 pounds or so, and I smoked it to 162 degrees. But the dang thing was way too salty to eat.

Any tips? Or any good smoked turkey recipes? I think Im going to try again this weekend. I have to get this right before Thanksgiving.

Ironically, this is the same recipe that I followed last year and it was the best turkey I've ever had. So maybe I botched the salt measurement this time or something (I do a lot of eyeballing, maybe it's time to get a little more precise).

Oh yeah, and the way I brine is I put the turkey in a roasting bag, put the brine in there with it, close it with a zip tie, and put the whole bag in a cooler full of ice. Just in case that might be a factor...
post #2 of 11
are you sure it is not a CUP and instead of POUND. not sure what a cup of salt weighs and yes you should rinse well.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it's for sure a pound. But who knows, maybe the recipe was botched from the start? I don't have a lot of experience brining so I don't know if that is a lot or whatever...

Anyway, if you (or anyone) has a better brine, please post it. This is basically the only brine I have ever used (and that was only twice- once last Thanksgiving and once a couple weeks ago).

Also, to clarify, so you are supposed to rinse well after brining then? Because I didn't rinse at all after brining, that may be the problem right there.
post #4 of 11
You need to rinse it good after brining...

Also Kosher Salt and Table Salt do not measure the same...

If you used Uniodized Table Salt you would only use 1 cup not 1 1/2 cups as you would with Kosher Salt.

Here is a brining recipe for you...

Poultry Brine

This poultry brine works with the added power of pickling spices which increases the moisture in poultry with some great seasonings for more flavor.
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon

Dissolve salt and brown sugar in water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Allow to cool. Add vinegar and spices. Brine for 1 hour per pound. Thoroughly rinse all the brine from the turkey before cooking. Otherwise there will be a salty flavor to the turkey.
post #5 of 11
if you don't rinse there might be pockets of brine under the skin. as for a recipe i don't measure.....i go by taste. i make it like my pasta water, it should be about like the sea.
post #6 of 11
Here's mine if yer interested, a few folks round here like it:

Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
1 ½ Gal Water
½ C Salt - Kosher
½ C Dark Brown Sugar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
2 tsp Celery Seed

Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Celery Seed
2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
2 C Apple Cider

Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
8 oz Apple Cider
6 oz Water
4 oz Whiskey
2 oz Cider Vinegar
Rinse after the overnight brine, then let dry a bit an add yer favorite rub. This one ain't heavy on salt.
post #7 of 11
Pound of salt seems to be a little heavy. I have always rinsed then patted product dry after brinning.

Following is a brine that I have used very successfully more than once on turkeys (grilled and oven cooked) and scaled volume down for chicken (grilled). I am new to smoking, but not to cooking...I will be doing a turkey soon on the smoker and will use this brine.

8 cups apple cider
2/3 cups kosher salt
2/3 cups sugar
1 tbl crushed black peppercorns
1 tbl whole allspice crushed (I have subbed prepared at lower amount)
8 (1/8 inch thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 oranges quartered

~6 cups of ice

Boil all ingredients (except oranges) till sugar and salt is dissolved, cool completely...I normally add ice when I think it has cooled to insure temp is dropped to safe levels before introducing it to the bird.

Rinse bird, pat dry, Stuff cavity with orange quarters and then add brine. I have brined from 12 to 24 hours, occasionally turning.

Good luck, brinning is the way to go to help in getting a moist bird.
post #8 of 11
When smoking a turkey I assumed I would put it directly on the rack and place an aluminum pan on rack directly below to catch juices for gravy...or is better to smoke bird directly in pan? Doesn't smoking directly in a pan inhibit some of the smoke from reaching the meat?

Does gravy made with smoked bird drippings pick up a smokey flavor?
post #9 of 11
wow, a pound of salt? no wonder it was salty!

I use about a half cup per gallon of water. You might be able to get away with that much salt if you only brine it for an hour or so.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Tons of great info here. Thanks for all the help!
post #11 of 11
Did a Turkey breast last weekend. Since I can't fit an entire bucket in my fridge I used a 4 qt. stock pot. Brine consisted of 1/4 C Kosher salt, 1/4 C granulated sugar, 1/4 C Tuscan Herb seasoning from Costco, 2 Tbs. CPB - and for liquid I used 50% chicken broth to 50% water - just enough to fill the pot with the turkey breast in it. I think it ended up being 4 or 6 cups each on the water and chicken broth... not 100% sure though.

Dapped a bacon weave over the top and smoked it over mesquite.... was the best damn turkey I have ever had... my kids kept sneaking pieces of it.. lol.
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