1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Turkey Brining and Smoking

By smokinhusker, Nov 19, 2012 | |
  1. The question "What's a good turkey brine and technique" was asked on here. Chef JimmyJ provided the following simple and concise instructions.

    Controlling the salt in brine is important. I have used many different formulations and found my salt sensitive family will tolerate a brine with no more than 1/2C Kosher Salt or 1/4C Table or Fine Sea Salt per Gallon of water in my brine. I have used the one below for over twenty years at home and in several Restaurants and have never gotten a Salty Turkey complaint. As far as salty skin goes, a rinse or 15 minute soak in fresh water helps....AND...Please don't use ANY Commercially made Rub on that Turkey! They are loaded with Salt and are the #1 reason people complain their Brined Turkey and Skin are too Salty. Make your own Rub and leave the Salt out.

    If your Smoker will not get up to 325*F you will never get crispy skin on a smoked bird of any kind...This is not the end of the wonderful world of Crispy Turkey Skin! All you need to do is make sure you give the bird a 12-24 hour rest on a rack over a drip pan in the Refer for the skin to dry. The Drying time will give a Crispier Skin and better Color, it's a good idea. If you are in a hurry, 60 minutes in front of a Fan will help get it done but you should smoke at the 325 temp or for guys that can't get their smoker that high the bird should be no bigger than 14Lb.

    In general the Breast will hit 165*F and the Thighs will be 175*F about the same time, specially if you don't Truss or tie the Legs together.Next Smoke the Turkey at whatever temp below 300*F your smoker will do. When the Internal Temp of the Turkey hits 150*F place the bird in a Pre-heated 425*F oven until the final IT of 165*F is hit and give the bird a rest on the counter, No Foil, while you finish making Gravy, etc. Yes this is an extra step and you need to time things so all the sides are out of the oven but this is a lot better than giving up the best part of any bird...Nice Brown Crispy Skin!

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-1/2 Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Starting two days out...

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well and rub on Oil or Butter coated Chicken.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.

    You can also mix the rub with Bacon Grease or Butter and rub it on and under the skin...

    Share This Article


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. omegadog12
  2. hb99
    I know this comment is over 1 year late, but I remember hearing/reading about reducing saltiness in soup by adding a potato to the liquid for 20 minutes then discard. Apparently, a potato absorbs salt.

    I wonder if soaking a turkey with a potato for 20 minutes after the brining woud have a similar effect?
  3. sa-steve
    Here is a link to understand what goes on with the muscle meat and the salt solution.
    As to James Parker question, thawing is best under refrigeration, Depends on weight as time. You can cook frozen, Texas A and M did a study on thawed vs unthawed roasting of inside rounds and briskets. About 18% more weight loss when cooking from frozen state. Cooking in a masterbult or other depends upon temperature. They should have a chart per pound/hours. There is a post about smoking a bird. I think it was done by Chef Jimmie.
    Good recipes.....thanks
  4. capnbo
    I read on another site that is the bird is "flavor enhanced" or self baisting, it will be too salty?
  5. djandelizabeth
    About how long should a 12lb. turkey take in an electric smoker (Masterbuilt) and what is the recommended smoker temperature?
  6. james parker
    Ok, I am smoking 2 Turkey breast and a small ham. I have had them in the freezer and took them out today (Monday). Are there any tips on how to thaw them out quickly? I want to have them ready to start cooking by Wednesday so they will be ready for Thursday.
  7. txkbaldlaw
    Would it make sense to soak in plain water for a bit, and let some of the pre-salted solution leach out, then start with the brine?
  8. txkbaldlaw
    Thanks for a great post.

    I have a quick question. Because I live out in the hinterlands, it's extremely difficult to obtain a fresh turkey from my local grocery store. All the ones they have come pre-soaked in a salt solution. I believe this year's specimen is around 15% or so.

    What can I do to keep it from getting too salty if I want to brine to get additional flavors into the meat? I've run into this problem before.
  9. gregrph
    I have a question about the rinse after the brine. We have well water and our water system does not get out all of the iron, hence the water is not very drinkable. Leaves a metalic iron taste in the mouth. I Did brine a small (5-6lb) turkey breast a few weeks ago and rinsed with a little bit of clean water from our reverse osmosis tank. I don't think I rinsed all of the salt off because the turkey was on the salty side. Nice smoke flavor but I think it would have been better with further rinseing. I did not want to use up all of our good water. It takes quite a while for more water to be made! What is the recommended rinsing time after the brine and has anyone used well water to rinse with and does it affect the outcome? Thanks! Greg