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How To Cure And Smoke A Turkey

biteme7951

Smoking Fanatic
427
63
Joined Mar 21, 2010
Love your tutorial Pops! (and your brine too!)

Lately I have gone to slicing down the back and de-boning the bird except for the wing, leg, and thighbones. I inject the thighs and drumsticks and cure for about a week. Then into a mesh bag wrapping the skin around the breast meat so nothing is exposed. It is about the size of a rotisserie chicken when done but a solid hunk of meat. The carcass is thrown in a pot with veggies for a nice stock for future use.

I have learned so much from you in all your posts and thank you and wish you well!

Barry.
 

Keezy

Newbie
14
3
Joined Jul 23, 2018
I don't have a fridge big enough for a 5 gallon bucket. If I split a turkey in half and cure it in a big ziploc bag, and I wont be able to observe the bubbles, how often should I just go ahead and change out the brine? Weekly?
 

jrauch

Newbie
2
0
Joined Nov 9, 2018
If I smoke at 225 how long should I expect a 13 lb bird to take? 30 min per lb was what I read but I would think it would be faster than that.

Also I dry brined mine, any suggestions on an injection for it? Or would that not be necessary? I did the dry brine last year with no injection and it turned out great but I’m always open to try new methods.
 

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,676
488
Joined Nov 16, 2016
I don't have a fridge big enough for a 5 gallon bucket. If I split a turkey in half and cure it in a big ziploc bag, and I wont be able to observe the bubbles, how often should I just go ahead and change out the brine? Weekly?
I think if your fridge is cold enough (<40F) you will not need to change the brine unless you are curing a long time. Also, the ziploc would inflate so I think you could tell if it was going bad. I like to inject to ensure penetration and this also speeds the process considerably.
 

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,676
488
Joined Nov 16, 2016
If I smoke at 225 how long should I expect a 13 lb bird to take? 30 min per lb was what I read but I would think it would be faster than that.

Also I dry brined mine, any suggestions on an injection for it? Or would that not be necessary? I did the dry brine last year with no injection and it turned out great but I’m always open to try new methods.
I've never had much luck estimating times. So many factors, smoker type, temps, wind, whole bird, spatch, etc. Best plan is to get the bird on very early or even overnight as most smokes are longer than many suspect. Pull at proper IT.

Pops Brine (I prefer the LS) is best solo and no need for rub or anything else. A cured brine like this is very rich as it is.
 

AllenRR

Fire Starter
62
9
Joined Mar 12, 2018
This is a great article. The details..
I don't brine, but I think it will become the norm now. I did a bone in turkey breast yesterday. Smoked it 2 hrs @225 with pecan chucks. Then I popped into an oven bag, placed that on the unheated side of the gas grill (preheated to ~375) and finished it there. I have a 5 burner grill. It bakes quite well with the 2 left burners off. The breast turned out real juicy and with a nice broth. I will definitely try your process on the next one. I get a lot of time off during the holidays. That would be a perfect time to practice your process.
 

Keezy

Newbie
14
3
Joined Jul 23, 2018
Thanks Zwiller.

I’ve always just dropped a fresh turkey on the smoker, this will be my first try at curing a turkey. Do people that do a lot of these think the white meat or dark meat is better?
 

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,676
488
Joined Nov 16, 2016
Tried alot of things in the past and had decent results but no WOW. Few years ago I started searching smoked turkey and kept seeing "Pop's Brine". Honestly, I thought the curing business was weird, like alchemy. Anyway, I tried it once and WOW. Very classic flavor.

I think you will find more people like cured dark meat over white. I do and I am a breast guy when oven roasted. Like I said in my previous post, it's very rich. Too rich for TG dinner. It is THE ultimate snack or hor d'ourve though.
 
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