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Mr. T's Dry Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mr t 59874, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thought I would throw my two cents in on dry brining poultry and didn't want to thread jack Mules thread. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/153418/mules-first-dry-brined-turkey

    Thanks to dls1 for eventually convincing me into trying a dry brined turkey.  I didn't decide to do it until later, so only brined for one day instead of three.   The following is how what turned out to be a wonderful turkey was done.

    Thanksgiving Turkey

    I used a 13.3 # Butterball frozen turkey.  Began thawing in cooler Friday.  It was already brined so I did not brine any further other than the dry. Tuesday I removed the giblets, wish bone and wing tips, wiped with a very damp paper towel then drizzled as much kosher salt that would stick all over the bird.  It was then placed on a rack within a pan and placed back into the cooler, untrussed ( I normally truss all my poultry).  Wednesday after about 24 hours I put it in my Amerique at 225° with 2 oz. alder chunks.  After 1/2 hour of heavy smoke the temp was turned down to 140°.   Removed the bird after 1 hour of smoke and let cool down outside until steam ceased about 20 minutes, outside temp was 28° then placed it back into the cooler on a rack in order for it to air dry more.

    Thursday  what was now a redish color bird was brought in for cooking prep.  I simply melted a 1/4 # of unsalted butter and injected most of it into the breast without puncturing the skin.  Then the remainder of butter was rubbed on the outside.  Aromatics consisting of orange onion and apple were placed loosely in the cavity then I foiled the ends of the legs and the wing tips. It was then placed on a V adjustable rack and then placed in a preheated 325° kitchen oven middle rack with a pan 3" below the bird.  After 1 hour the foil was removed from the legs and wing tips.  After 3 hours and 15 minutes the temp in the breast was 160° and the thighs were 165°.  I then double foiled it in heavy duty foil and placed it in a small roaster oven set at 150°.  After 1.5 hours it was removed and allowed to rest unfoiled for 20 minutes prior to carving.   

    The bird was a beautiful mahogany color and to my surprise very juicy.  It had just the right amount of smoke and was served with an optional very thin gravy that was prepared Wednesday, our guest were still raving about it Saturday.

    Will I do it again?  Most certainly will.  Am now anxious to try it on a chicken.

    Sorry no pics, just too busy.

  2. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    NO PICS???.....was hoping to see that beautiful mahogany bird....LOL Oh well.....maybe the chicken will have pics. Glad you had a terrific holiday. I've been gone for a few days here for a break but have 2 birds in the freezer for another day and Safeway has butts in the bag for .99 a pound starting today so I see more sausage & PP in my future. Curious if the Kosher salt was washed off before it hit the smoker??......Willie
  3. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Will take pics of a chicken.  Thanks for the Safeway tip, will be going to town tomorrow, will check them out.

    No need to rinse as there was no residue on the outside and the skin was quite dry.  If you want to ad spices to the outside, be quick or make a compound butter as it solidifies fast after hitting the cold bird.

  4. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds great, Tom. Glad everything worked for you.

    If you're going to salt a chicken, I find that 24 hours works well for one that's around 3 lbs. Also, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt works for the exterior surface with a little left over for the cavity.
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Yeah where's that beautiful bird?

    I wonder how a fresh non-commercially injected bird would do?
  6. rshermaniv

    rshermaniv Newbie

    Your turkey already came brined from the store or you bought it and then brined it.  I'm new to the whole smoking process and it seems like brining is involved in alot of it but not quite sure what ingredients make the best brine or for how long it should be brined.
  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    It did, thanks so much for the tip.  It was a pleasant change from the usual wet brined bird.  For some reason, I knew that if you used it, it had to be good.

    Thanks for the chicken tip also.

    That beautiful bird is now in the septic tank.

    Well there are a couple things to try.  One not brined at all and the other wet then dry brined.  I wanted to try the dry brine to see how it effected the skin.  The skin was edible, but most at the table discarded it. Might do the comparison on a couple yard birds.

  8. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    All frozen Butterball turkeys are brined, only the fresh ones are not.  You will find many different recipes when it comes to brining and times in doing it.  We are each responsible for what we turn out so, I recommend doing some research and use a commercial brine recipe until you understand the importance of doing it correctly and not try to take shortcuts. This is especially important if you are considering curing your product.

    Experience will be your best teacher as each of us has a different taste.  Learn to take good notes as they will be invaluable in the future.

  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    No Pics???

    I read the whole post very carefully, and the whole time I'm thinking about sneaking a peek at the pics below, before I finish reading, but I used some self-discipline, figuring it will be worth the wait------------------Then Blah---Nothing------No Pics !!!

    Sounds Awesome---I love Mahogany colored Meat !!!

  10. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    No pics....  [​IMG][​IMG]  [​IMG][​IMG]   holy cow, what ever happened to imagination? LOL

    Just putting the test on you Bear, discipline = military training.  Didn't mean to disappoint, but you had warning at the end of the thread.

  11. suie

    suie Meat Mopper

    This sounds great! Smoke and bake definitely sounds like the way to go. Thanks to you and dls1 for posting about this!

    I really wish you had taken a picture, though! [​IMG]
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I was just curious, not sure what type of bird David (mule) used. If it was fresh and not commercially brined that  might be why his dried out so bad.
  13. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Suie, your welcome.  The reason for no pics is, it was not intended to be a thread until Mule made his dry rub thread.   Yes smoke and bake would definitely be worth a try if you are unable to get your smoker above 300° and are looking for a more crispy skin.  This is similar to finishing poultry on a grill in order to crisp the skin.  In this case I wanted to use a heavy smoke for one hour and allow it to equalize for a whole day before baking, worked very well.

  14. Forgive my ignorance, but does one rinse the salt off before smoking?  Or is leaving it on part of the process of dry brining?  I bought a 20 pounder on an after Thanksgiving sale so I might try this for Christmas.
  15. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    As it was a breast, I was thinking it was frozen in which case most likely enhanced. [​IMG]

  16. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Mr Dirt,

    Mine did not have any excess salt on it so I did not rinse.  Rinsing would dampen the skin, not what you want prior to smoking.  If there had been excess salt on the surface, I would have simply rubbed or brushed it off and not disturb the pellicle.

  17. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Dirt - FWIW, the turkey that I dry brined/salted was a fresh non-enhanced bird from a local producer. Everyone thought is was moist and flavorful.
  18. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Willie, picked up two yesterday and saved more than enough to get a 30 pack.

  19. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LOL>....way to go
  20. Tom,

    I've been thinking about the whole dry brining process.  I understand that a wet brine in done to enhance the moisture of the meat through osmosis.  What does dry brining offer for poultry? Is it similar to dry aging steaks in that it helps concentrate the flavor?

    BTW - Thanks again for everything, it was very nice to visit with you and Carol this weekend.