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5 Turkeys for Thanksgiving, Any Tips or Tricks?

iowa josh83

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I've been asked to cook 5 Turkey's for my wife's family Thanksgiving. There a bunch of us and we all love our turkey.

I plan to use my tried and true Turkey brine (which I can't find the recipie for at this moment) that has orange juice and cranberry juice in it. Has turned out some nice birds for me in the past. I also like to cook my birds breast down and then I insert 1-2 sticks of butter into the breast cavity. Been doing it this way for several years and man is it good!

So, what wood should I smoke these birds with? I have plenty of apple and hickory but thought there might be a different flavor I could hit with, any suggestions???

If I can remember to take pictures I'll do a Q-view post while I'm cooking.

Thanks guys!

-Josh
 

GaryHibbert

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Hey Josh

When you say you put a couple of sticks of butter in the breast cavity, do you mean that literally--as in just put them in 

gary
 

iowa josh83

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Hey Gary,

I unwrap the sticks and place them in the cavity. Since the bird is breast down I usually have to prop the tail of the bird on something to keep the butter from running right back out of the cavity. The butter sits in there and cooks it way into the breast meat keeping it extra moist!

-Josh
 

bkleinsmid

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Morning Josh........I like the butter trick.......will give it a try.

Your wood should be perfect. I use oak (because that's what I have) and apple or peach.

Would you mind posting that brine recipe when you find it? I like the fruit juice idea.....

Thanks,

Brad
 

foamheart

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"Kitchen Bouquet" rub the skin down before smoking. This is what they look like.



That is kitchen bouquet, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Sorry, the wood is pecan.
 
Last edited:

cappyr

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Well it's time for me to playfully disagree
 FOAM!!!  ya ole coot!! Kitchen bouquette is a cheat!  We call it Cajun shoe polish.  ya ever taste that stuff as in on ya finger????? Folks who use kitchen bouquette are painting their birds and hiding the fact that their smoke didn t do a good job..  So there!


I do mine upside down, cream those 2 sticks of butter and blend in Cajun spice diced onion, garlic.  I lay a split link of Cajun sausage down in the body cavity and put the compound butter on top of it.  A good prop to keep it level is a wadded up ball of tin foil or a smashed beer can they are adjustable.  Oh and I use pecan too usually the shells.  Cause I aint cutting ma trees.  Also oak sweet gum ro what ever else is lying around.  Just remember ya smoker needs to be well ventilated its very easy to over smoke birds.  Then they get acrid and creo-soty..
 

foamheart

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I will refer you to the topic. "Any Tips or Tricks?"

You're cooking five and for the in-laws...... I would not be taking any chances. Besides other than insuring the color it does not impart anything bad? You can't taste it on the turkey. Yes, we always called it make-up, but I like my women better painted up a little too.

If I hadn't told you, would you know I had used it? No way.
 

GaryHibbert

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Hey Josh

That sounds great, but I'm going to have to use it on a chicken.  When it comes to turkey, Linda has her cajun/acadian/french canadian meat stuffing inside the bird.  No room for butter.  Love it--so I can live without the butter

Gary
 

GaryHibbert

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Jees Foam

That is one beautiful bird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You can't believe just how jealous I  am,  I am, I am.

Gary
 

GaryHibbert

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if I'm cooking for my inlaws, strycnyne (spelling) is a major ingrediant.  Sorry Just saying

Gary
 

iowa josh83

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In the past, my birds have come out similar in color without using any Kitchen Bouquet. Back in my chef days, we used that stuff just to darken our beef gravy.
 

iowa josh83

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Well it looks like its going to only be 4 birds now. Mother in law is going to cook one in the oven so she can make gravy from the drippings.

I'm pretty sure I can cook 4 birds in my fridge smoker. 2 on the top shelf and one each on the shelves below that. Shouldn't have an issue. I'll start them in the middle of the night so it should have plenty of time. I'd rather have to hold them for a couple of hours than have them not done in time.

Its not uncommon to have 60-70 people at the in-law's Thanksgiving dinner. And we usually do lunch and dinner with the left overs so 5 turkeys is probably necessary.

-Josh
 

redwood carlos

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Originally Posted by Iowa Josh83  

Its not uncommon to have 60-70 people at the in-law's Thanksgiving dinner. And we usually do lunch and dinner with the left overs so 5 turkeys is probably necessary.

-Josh
I love that. I thought my family had some big gatherings with 30+. Sounds like a good time.

Best of luck with your cook.
 

iowa josh83

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Well, I could not find my recipe so this is primarily from memory but its pretty close. I’d suggest buying an extra can of each juice just in case you have to increase the amounts.
  • 2 cans frozen cranberry juice concentrate
  • 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 can of cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup Kosher or coarse salt (not rock)
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed to minced
  • 3 tsp thyme
  • 3 tsp rosemary
  • 4-6 bay leaves
  • Enough water to cover the bird (start with ½ gal. or so).
  • 1 Turkey size oven roasting bag
I like to sauté my garlic, thyme, & rosemary in a little olive oil first. I think it helps release the flavors.

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. I used to heat the mixture but I’ve found that it is not necessary. If you keep mixing the salt will dissolve.

To save the amount of brine it takes to cover the bird I use the oven roasting bags to brine the turkeys. Place turkey in bag and poor brine over the bird. You should only have to fill the big about ½ way with brine. Then cinch the bag up and as you do the level of the brine should cover the top of the turkey. Place in fridge or cooler with ice. Brine for 24hrs or so.

NOTE: If I need to add more than a gal of water I add an extra can of cranberry juice concentrate.

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oldschoolbbq

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I would watch my smoke color, you may end-up with Blac skin instead of Mahogany if you let the smoke get white for a bit of time.
 Hope not , but stuff happens.
 

iowa josh83

Smoke Blower
127
14
Joined Mar 22, 2011
What would cause the black skin or white smoke? Type of wood? Hickory or Apple?

Never really had an issue with it before.
 

asfastasitgets

Smoke Blower
77
13
Joined Jun 27, 2013
Any wood will give too dark of a color if you don't manage your airflow properly (causes the smoke to get too thick, or white, which causes creosote buildup {black exterior, bitter taste}).

I put my butter under the skin, seasoned, and put a pan under the turkey to catch the drippings. I got well over a cup and a half out of mine, way more than I needed to make gravy with. :)
 

iowa josh83

Smoke Blower
127
14
Joined Mar 22, 2011
 
I put my butter under the skin, seasoned, and put a pan under the turkey to catch the drippings. I got well over a cup and a half out of mine, way more than I needed to make gravy with. :)
Does the gravy turn out really smokey? That has always been my concern.
 

oldschoolbbq

Legendary Pitmaster
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If your skin has a black or real dark color, you have had white smoke running through the smoker and out the stack. This wil cause a blackening of the skin caused by Creosote , a bitter flavor will accumulate on the skin and any other part that is exposed.

 You could cook the birds the day before and about 4am take and place two and the last one in the oven to heat for lunch.Leave one and the leftovers for snacking during the afternoon to the evening. During the day cook the 5th one for a supper meal.

Just an idea and will keep the guest checking the bird during the afternoon until 6pm or 7pm.

Use a probe to check for the temps. during the cooking , the evening meal won't be as spicy and you'll hgave minimal or no indigestion during the night.

Just a sugestion , what ever you do , have fun and...
 

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