Discussion in 'Poultry' started by imindacrapper, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. imindacrapper

    imindacrapper Newbie

    I would like to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving but I dont have enough room in my fridge for overnite. I do have a cooler and It would take a couple of turkeys. If I mix my brine in a garbage bag and put the turkey in it and put it in the cooler with the cooler topped off with Ice, would this be okay?? If not ,what else are my options??
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wouldn't use a trash bag, they can leach out chemicals into your food you wouldn't want to consume.
    If your cooler is clean you could just put the meat in there to brine, though the coolers do contain BPAs they really won't come out of the plastic, especially if it is cold water.
    Some folks have put tem in 5 gallon buckets with ice and into a basement overnight but for safety reasons I'm personally not going to recommend that.
  3. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    as long as the cooler temp is below 40 degrees then you will be fine. I wouldnt use a trash bad either. Clean the cooler out good and just use that. Or is you have a big stock pot you can brine it in that and put the pot in the cooler with ice over night. Do you have a brine yet? If not this will be a good one http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...20&postcount=3
  4. imindacrapper

    imindacrapper Newbie

    Well, I live in Florida and don't have what your alluding to so maybe I'll just drown the turkey in brine inside my cooler and then top it off with ice??
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    First, let me say welcome to the forums. When you have a chance, drop by the Roll Call threads and introduce yourself & tell us a little about yourself. It'll give everone a chance to give you a proper welcome.

    I am with Fire it up, I wouldn't use a trash bag, but many members here, inluding myself, have brined in an ice chest. Its important that you have plenty of ice on hand. As your ice melts, you'll need to keep adding so that you can keep the temperature in a safe range.
  6. imindacrapper

    imindacrapper Newbie

    Thank you for your responses. nix to the trash bags. How about if I start the brine while its only half thawed?? That could help with the temp..
  7. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!
  8. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You could do that but the problem will be the salt. When you add salt to ice cold water it drops the temp even lower and this may prevent your bird from thawing all the way. And if its not thawed then your brine didnt penetrate all the way.
  9. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You want the meat fully thawed before going into the brine, otherwise it likely won't finish thawing and when frozen none of the brine solution will work its way in and out of the frozen parts.
    Long as you have a bag or two of ice you should be fine, just need to make sure the brine stays below 41 degrees.
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A suggestion...add ice IN A ZIPOCK. Otherwise your brine concentration dilutes as ice melts.
  11. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Didn't even think of that, good point!
  12. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Exactly correct...either add the ice in a ziplock bag to the brine in the cooler, or use one of the large zipper bags for the brine and bird and then add ice around that. I always use a cooler for brining birds, because I don't want that much liquid in my fridge to potentially spring a leak. Check out this thread and it shows the details of how I use my cooler to brine. I had an 11 lb bird, and used one of the Hefty 2.5 gallon zip top bags. They make large ones that are perfect for just this purpose...my grocery store had them in the baggie section.


    Also, make sure your bird is thawed...otherwise it won't take on the brine properly. As a side note, remove the innards too. You want the brine to fully fill the cavity.

    Good luck.
  13. Remember if you add ice you need to treat the ice like water because of melting. A gallon of water is equal to 8,34 pounds of ice.
  14. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I always brine my turkeys in an ice chest every year. I just thaw the bird first so I can wash out the excess ice and solution and get the gizzards out so the brine does its job. I brine chickens all year long like this also. Id use fresh turkeys but harder to find my way.
  15. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Some grocery stores have very large zip lock type bags that are big enough for a turkey to fit in. I used these last year to brine in and they worked pretty good then I just filled the ice chest with ice and it worked fine. Even in Florida [​IMG]
  16. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes nix the garabge bag idea and use some of these ideas that the people here have given to you. But if you would please stop by Roll Call and introduce yourself properly and we could give you the proper welcome we like to give new members.
  17. I bought an inexpensive cooler at Wally-World that I use only for cooking (brining poultry - resting briskets, etc.) - family knows HANDS OFF!

    It will hold a couple of 12 lb. Turks and when I brine I keep it in the garage ( don't want one of the 5 pups discovering the turkey! [​IMG])
  18. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    I go to the grocery store, ask the bakery dept for a empty frosting pail, they are food grade, 5 gallons and free. Clean out a little room in the fridge, garage one in my case, or put in a cooler full of ice water. Cheap and this keeps the bacteria out of the cooler
  19. I know you all are getting tired of hearing about spatchcocking but that really makes the bird take up alot less room. It also is easier to get to the inside of the bird to wash it, cooks faster, makes it easier to get the bird into one of those ziplock bags for brining, and for some smokers (mine included being an upright) allows you to cook two birds at the same time.
  20. Also, consider your local restaurant supply. They will have many sizes of food safe buckets and pails in all price ranges. I use a 5 gal pail and being in MI i can usually put the bird in my winterized travel trailer to brine over night.
    Never put your food in anything not approved for food. Nasty stuff in there![​IMG]

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