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.

first turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by rem700phil222, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. rem700phil222

    rem700phil222 Newbie

    Hey guys I am looking to do 2 turkeys in the smoker. I have a 23 and a 21 pounder. I need a good brine recipe and some guidance on smokeing time and temps. I was looking to do an apple Turkey with apple juice instead of water in both brine and water pan along with apple wood chips. Thanks in advance
  2. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

  3. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Those birds are pretty big. You are going to want to make sure you bump up your temps a bit so get the bird out of the danger zone if 40-140 degrees internal temp within 4 hours. I am doing 9-10 birds tomorrow in the 13-15lb range so I am going to run at around 275 give or take but if I was doing one that big I would personally run it around 315 or so to keep them out of the danger zone. Good luck with your birds. Also like these other guys I would highly suggest brining and even injecting it to make sure your birds are nice and juicy and full of flavor.
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would recommand Tip's Slaughter House Brine and then I would spatchcock the birds too. Thats cutting th back bone out and lay the bird out flat. It will cook faster that way.you won't be in the 40-140 danger zone
  6. Hey rem700phil222,

    Using apple juice would be fine, but I would suggest that instead of simply using apple juice as a brine, you should consider injecting the turkeys with some form of a soluble seasoning.

    By injecting with a soluble seasoning, you will retain more moisture than by just simply brining the turkeys.  Many soluble seasonings also contain sodium phosphate.  Sodium Phosphate helps in retaining moisture because it binds moisture in the product, resulting in a juicier, moister and more tender product.

    We sell a variety of soluble seasonings, one in particular, that I would highly recommend, that is specifically formulated for injecting turkeys.

    Click here to view a variety of soluble seasonings (the soluble turkey seasoning is the 5th item on the page)

    As for a cook/smoke cycle, you can smoke it in a variety of manners.  According to FSIS and the USDA (known as Appendix A, click here for link), the danger zone is: "Dwell times of greater than 6 hours in the 50°F to 130°F range should be viewed as especially hazardous", so its a little bit different than the 40-140 mentioned.  Just be sure to hit the right internal temp for poultry of 165-170 degrees to be sure it is cooked and has reached lethality.  Also, remember that there is also a danger zone for cool down cycles.  According to FSIS and the USDA (known as Appendix B, click here for link) "During cooling, the product's maximum internal temperature should not remain between 130°F and 80°F for more than 1.5 hours nor between 80°F and 40°F for more than 5 hours."  The 'rules' do change for cured products, but I am guessing from the sound of things that you are not planning on using cure or sodium nitrite.

    Good luck with the turkeys, and I hope they turn out great!!!
  7. this temperature thing is starting to sound complicated. i know to thaw my turkey in the fridge. it is just over 9 pounds.  i want to smoke it on thurs afternoon, and i will  do a brine.  best i can tell, i need to thaw for about 2.5 days in the fridge.  then i want to brine for about maybe 8 hours or so in the fridge also. so i might should take it out of the freezer on sunday night, then on wed night put it in the brine in the fridge?   for smoking, keep the air temp about 275 or 250-300?  until the meat gets to about 165 and let it rest for 30-60 minutes.  wouldn't this keep it at a safe temp??

    i'm thinking a brine of apple juice, some of that cranberry-pomegranate juice, salt, allspice, peppercorns....smoking going to look for some apple wood...
  8. Thats pretty much the plan I followed just this morning. I have a 20 lber that I brined for 20 hrs and then did a rub and it went on the smoker at 2:30 A.M.  I figured 6;30 was my 4 hrs to hit 140 but didnt put the thermometer on it til 7 because the tank I hooked up was geting low and I wanted to preserve as much heat as I could at 250. Anyway at 7:00 A.M. I was reading an internal temp of 157 so I feel confident I hit the 4-140 goal. The tank is still putting out some gas so I give the bird a mop and closed the door. I have another partial tank ready to go if needed. This is the biggest bird Ive done so far in the last couple years and before I just made sure I got to that magical internal temp of at least 165. Good luck
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  9. thanks, you too!
  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't think you will have a problem thawing the turkey the last 20 hours or so in the brine,

    Your cooking plan sounds good also,  Since turkey, especially large turkeys, are difficult to get to safe internal temps (135) within 4 hours we normally use smaller turkeys when smoking.  We also like to run smoker temps in the 275 - 300 range for poultry.

    Good luck,  why not start a new thread for this turkey smoke?.  Forum members sometimes don't read the older posts.   Don't forget the Qview

  11. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is what I use and boy is it goooood

       Poultry Brine

    1 1/2 Gallon Apple Juice
    1/2 heaping Cup Kosher Salt (approximately 5 oz)
    3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

    1/2 Cup Morton’s Tender Quick or 1 1/2 Tbsp DQ cure #1
    1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
    1 Tbsp Onion Powder
    1 Tbsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    1 Tbsp Celery Seed
    1 Tbsp Pickling Spice (ground)

    1 tsp Ground Cloves


    1. Place all spices in spice grinder and grind fine.

    2. Place 6 cups of apple juice in a 4 quart sauce pan, add Salt, Sugar, Tender Quick, and spices heat and stir until completely dissolved.  

    3. Turn off heat, cover, and cool to room temp.  

    TIP do steps 1-3 ahead of time to allow chilling in refrigerator. 

    4. In a large stock pot, combine remaining apple juice with the concentrated brine.

    5. Wash turkey inside and out, making sure you have removed the innards, and tail.

    6. Place turkey in turkey roasting bag

    7. Place turkey in cooler large enough to hold turkey and pack ice around turkey roasting bag.

    8. Pore brine into turkey roasting bag.  Remove as much air as possible from turkey roasting bag and tie off.

    9. Let turkey soak for 24-36 hours. 

    10. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well inside and out

    11. Dry turkey with paper towels inside and out. 

    12. Inject turkey with poultry injection.   

    Poultry Injection

    1 Package Zesty Italian Dressing mix

    1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

    1 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)

    1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
    1 1/2 tsp Celery Seed

    1 1/2 tsp Pickling spice

    1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
    4 Tbsp melted non salted Butter
    2 C Apple Cider         


    1. Place all spices, dressing mix, and sugar in spice grinder and grind fine.

    2. Mix spices and Apple cider.

    3. Heat Apple cider spice mix in microwave for 1 min on high.

    4. Mix in melted butter.

    5. Inject turkey all over.