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May's Annual Picnic

pops6927

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The precursor to this thread is the one I posted a few days ago - "Party Cheese!"

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/261483/party-cheese

The first step in my prep is to get the cheese mellowing.  We purchased the cheese and turkeys the same day; Tuesday, April 18th.  Wednesday the 19th I smoked the cheese while waiting for the turkeys to thaw in the fridge, and they were done by Saturday, the 22nd.  We bought the turkeys at WinCo in Fort Worth.  We'd had them before at our Christmas party and they were delicious!


So today I brought them out from the fridge (rolled them out, actually), took them out of their nets and wrappers, removed the leg holders, cut off the tails, took out the necks from the inner cavities and removed the giblets from the neck are, trimming all fat and cutting off the neck skins.  Put the parts'n'pieces in a big dutch oven and added water, simmering them on the stove.  

Processed:


Sanitized my big bucket and put in the fridge:


Added the turkeys:


Started filling with Lo-Salt Curing Brine:  (Notice the top turkey is breast side down to maximize the curing opportunity)


It took 8 gallons of brine to fill it, the top turkey floating and held down with a heavy plate:


Put to bed until Smoking Day, Saturday, May 13th (Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day).

No need to do anything more than keep the fridge running; no stirring, no handling, no moving, just let the magic happen!

Of course I include my Pop's Curing Brine recipes:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/pops6927s-curing-brines-regular-and-lo-salt
[h1]Pops6927's Curing Brines - Regular and Lo-Salt[/h1]

By: Pops6927

Posted 10/27/14 • Last updated 10/27/14 • 2,383 views • 1 comment

These are my Curing brines for pork, beef (corned and dried), poultry, and so on.

Regular Curing Brine:

1 gallon of clean water

1 cup plain, regular non-iodized table salt

1 cup sugar or sucrolose

1 cup brown sugar or sucrolose equiv.

1 tablespoon of Cure#1

Lo-Salt Curing Brine:

1 gallon of clean water

½ cup plain, regular non-iodized rable salt

½ cup sugar or sucrolose 

½ cup brown sugar or sucrolose equiv.

1 tablespoon of Cure #1

mix in food-safe container, stir until clear.

Add meat.  Do not add different species of meats, but you can add pieces of the same species.

Refrigerate 1 to 21 days, depending on thickness of meat. 

Up to 2 inches, 1-10 days.

2 - 4 inches, 5 - 15 days, may require injecting to cure from the inside-out as well as from the outside-in.

4 inches and larger.  15 - 21 days, requires injecting.

Injecting - use a Morton's injection 4 oz. manual injection pump with the Broadcast needle.



or equivalent.

Brine can become frothy (ropy).  It has both salt and sugar in it.  It also is inputting curing ingredients into the meat and oozing out blood and plasma.  Just dump the brine and make up fresh and continue curing should that happen.  Make sure you keep it at 38° - 40°.  

Weigh down meat into curing brine with half-filled ziploc bags of water on top.

No further mixing or stirring required, let it cure until done.  Meats will come out of the brine wish a distinct grayish look.  This is normal.

Cure #1:

I use this as reference:


Computing equivalency, for 100 gallons of curing brine, you add 24 lbs. of curing salt to 100 gallons of water and mix.

That is .24 lbs, or 3.84 oz. of curing salt to 1 gallon of water maximum.

My recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of curing salt to 1 gallon of water.  A level tablespoon is .88 of an ounce.  Heaping is approx. 1 ounce.  Either is fine.  Neither comes close to the maximum amount allowed, but just enough to do the job.  Curing at Maximum, plus with injection, requires 48 hours of cure time maximum.  This process uses less than one third the curing salt and a longer curing time to tenderize and flavor the meat.

You must cover the product until it floats off the bottom of the container, then weight it down to stay submersed in the brine, leaving no area to be exposed to air.  You must keep at 38° to 40° until curing time is over.  Remove from brine, put or hang in smokehouse or smoker.  I personally go from refrigeration to heat with no wait time myself.  There is different thoughts, whether to allow a pellicle to form or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellicle_(cooking)

A pellicle is mainly, to my knowledge, allowed to form on fish prior to smoking.  We were only 30 miles from Salmon River in Pulaski, NY, a very well known salmon run.  We had many bring us their salmon to process and usually allowed a pellicle to form  But, pork and beef are not tender like fish.

See you May 13th, Smoking Day!
 
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b-one

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Your party pics never fail,I'll be back for more action!
 

crankybuzzard

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I'll watch this one for sure.  Always love to see your smokes and posts!
 

pops6927

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Smoking them Saturday morning, May 13th (Mothers Day is Sunday, May 14th)..  Will post photos!  Going to do more on sacking them in stockinettes, tying them with square knots, hanging them in the smokehouse, starting the propane, using the AMPS for that wonderful corn cob flavor, as well as the wood smoke too!

The Square Knot:

 

pops6927

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Oh what a beautiful day for Smoking!  Low 60's this morning, a high in the 80's by afternoon.  Here in Texas, that's sweater weather!

Pulled the turkeys from the brine, put in buckets, and rolled them into the kitchen on my portable butcher block cart:


Cleaned the sink and put the first one in it to sack.  Gathered up the stockinette (just like gathering a stocking to put on your leg) :


Positioned it at the neck of the turkey and carefully pulled it up over the turkey, working it from every side until I got it up and around it:


Now, comes the tying.  I want to hang the turkey in the smokehouse, breast facing me.  So, I stretch out the stockinette on both sides and tie the start of a square knot:



Then I tie it up with a full square knot:


Then,I add an extra tie,making it a double square knot, and slip a hook through it:


Completed double square knot with hook!  But, why the square knot, you ask?

A square knot tightens unto itself and will not loosen like a regular knot.  A double square knot reinforces that tightening.  The LAST thing you want to happen is a hot turkey slipping off the hook because the knot loosened, crashing into the greasy drip pans, then you have to fish it out, re-tye it securely so it doesn't happen again, and re-hang it when it is hot and the smokehouse is congesting you with smoke roiling out.  A simple thing, but not when it fails!

Then did the second turkey:


Now, this turkey I will do the opposite way, so it hangs 90° from the first.  Tie it vertically vs. horizontally.  Why?  So it hangs sideways instead of facing me.

The third turkey I will tie so it will face me, tying the knot horizontally like the first.  Why?

I will not have enough room on one smoke stick so all 3 of the turkeys hang facing me, so if I hang the 1st and 3rd facing me and the middle one sideways, I will create enough room.  Why?  You cannot have the items touching each other, there has to be sufficient space separating them or you will have white spots where the smoke cannot reach.


Hanging them into the smokehouse:


They don't hang perfectly straight, but you can still see the middle one hanging sideways, taking up less room so all three can hang without touching.

Turn on the propane and fire it up, with wood chunks to smoulder


Next, fill up a bucket with 2 scoops (8 oz cupfuls) of corn cob pellets and one cup of Maple pellets and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, then put in AMPS 5 x 8 tray and light:


I hold the butane torch on it until 1" of the pellets are fiery hot and burning, then let the flame go out by itself so they are smouldering very well:


then put them into the mailbox to smoke, cutting off the bottom smokehouse vent so fresh air is drawn in through the vent hole in the mailbox to keep the smouldering happening, then exiting the top outflow vent:


It will settle down to a thin blue smoke in a few minutes!

Next will be the 3 pm temp check!  Just let the magic happen!
 

pops6927

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3 pm temperature check:



Humming right along!  Target is 160°

Nice color developing - probably 2-3 more hours, but sometimes they, like any meats, will stall.


The stockinette is doing wonderfully!  Those are 20 lb. turkeys each - 60 lbs. of cured and smoked goodness!

Todd Johnson's A-Maze-N pellet tray (www.amazenproducts.com) is INVALUABLE to this process!

One thing specifically I'd like to point out.    Why?  Well, like everything in life, you get distracted.  I am not real consistent on feeding wood chunks into the cast-iron fry pan, but when I do go out and check the smokehouse, I continually see nice, blue smoke rolling out the output vent.  And I know it is not from the frypan, it is from the AMNPS tray doing it's thing, and basking the product in corn cob/maple pellet smoke!  It continuously is providing sweet, wonderful smoky goodness with no necessary intervention on my part - it just rolls along!  And, the tray will produce over 8 - 10 hours of continuous smoke and fills the smokehouse, no problem!  Todd's invention is, well, A-MAZE-ING!
 
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crankybuzzard

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Looking good!

I love smoking birds in the ham bags. Makes for a very colorful and extremely presentable bird.
 

pops6927

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All finished!  Pulled them at 160° internal, unsacked them and put in buckets, then took them out to the back fridge to cool until Monday, to start processing them!


Of course, moving them to unsack them, the wings shuffled, plus the legs widened, all showing white spots where the smoke didn't adhere.  But, no problem, most the skin will be removed anyways - the breasts and thighs.  The wings and drums will still retain the skin which will still have a nice smoky color! 

On to the processing!
 

crankybuzzard

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Good looking birds!

White spots? Those are tan lines!
 

b-one

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Toss some skin under the broiler!:drool Great looking birds!
 

pops6927

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PROCESSING!

This week is to start processing the three turkeys.  The first step is to SECTION the turkeys - did one today and took photos:

REMOVE THE WINGS


Pull out the wing and cut under it near where it is attached:

Pop the bone from the socket and remove.


The Leg/Thigh:

Cut through the membrane, pulling the leg outward until you can pop the leg from the hip socket:

Then remove.


The Breasts:

First, let's get a visual of what we need to do - removing the breasts from the breast bone:


That is what you must envision when removing the breast meat from the carcass - cutting straight down the breast bone until the ribcage starts flaring away.


Not trying to get the cart ahead of the horse, but this is the finished carcass on my turkey.  Very little meat left.

Removing the breast meat from one side:


The primary thing is not to separate the breast meat from the breast tender (like a chicken tender), which I did not, so I can slice it as an entire half.

In slicing, it will separate anyways, but it just causes you double the work slicing the primary breast meat and the tender separately.  Of course there is some trimming off the carcass you can do (especially as I am no longer accurate like I used to be).
 

pops6927

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A photo fo the primary breast meat and the breast tender partially separating, held apart my my knife:


Of course, I can and have sliced them separately, but it is just easier to leave them together and slice them all at once.  They will naturally separate once sliced, no way to keep them together, but when slicing the breasts on the slicer I just put the slices all in a big foil pan with a pair of tongs - serve yourself!
 

dirtsailor2003

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Wow!

As usual, looks great! I'd for very you points on multiple posts in this thread, but SMF won't let me!

You are all going to eat well, and your group will appreciate every bit of it!

Point!
 

pops6927

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Last night I processed the drums/thighs and wings, no photos.  Split the drumstick from the thigh, boned out the thighs and skinned them, then cut them up into cubed pieces, too greasy to handle my camera, unfortunately.  Just had to stick with it until they were processed.  Then split the wingette from the drumette and removed the wing tips.  Safely bagged up the three carcasses to give to a friend for his smoked turkey soup!

All that's left is to skin and slice the breasts today, plus cube up the mellowed smoked cheddar, then off to the picnic tomorrow, rain or shine (we have a covered enclosure this year!).  

Have to stop at Guitar Center first to drop off my ukulele and get it re-stringed backwards into a left-handed instrument.  Been trying to learn how to play it right-handed (left, stroke-affected fingers forming the chord positions), but I have a neuroma on my third finger, impeding it and causing it not to stretch or curl sufficiently to form the cords properly.  It is from both the strokes and from pulling the knife for 40 years, limited finger fluidity.  Formerly my 'weaker' right hand is now my primary hand and can flex easier than my left, so I will just invert the chord positions and re-learn to play with my right-fingered left positioned hands.  Simple.  Adapt and overcome!  If i could re-teach myself how to type 5 times, I can do this, no problem!  $10,000 to fix the neuroma with months of recovery, or $20 to get the uke restrung backwards and start re-learning as soon as I get it back..... what would you do?  I normally would do it myself (played guitars for 40 years), but can no longer have competence trying to do it myself - a lot easier to let someone else do it for me!
 

ab canuck

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Birds look great, Should be a very happy crowd for this one. Great thread and information, Always good reads and tips, points , Hope your ukuele is back in your hands soon, 
 

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