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Smoked turkey. Finally!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by pushok2018, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. pushok2018

    pushok2018 Fire Starter

    Finally got an approval from the wife to smoke turkey. Not for T-day dinner table (she oven-cooked her own turkey for the event) but for just occasional cooking. I never done this before and really wanted to try. OK, let’s start:

    November 21st, one day prior T-day I went to my local supermarket and was able to pick up a 23# bird which was only available at that time. I asked meat department person if they have anything smaller but she said this only one left till tomorrow. I grabbed the bird and when I got back home left it in the fridge to thaw. It took until Monday (almost a week) to completely thaw the bird. Following Monday I placed it into large bucket filled with Pop’s brine I prepared one day prior and cooled in the fridge for 24 hours. Almost forgot: yes, I injected the bird with 10% of brine.

    As soon as I have only two and a half hours between when I coming home from work and going to bad (long commute) I had no other option then keep my bird in the brine for 72 hours. Yes, I know this is not a best solution (I went through a lot of post on how to brine/cook turkey: it could become mushy)) but I did not have any other choice. So, after three days in the brine, on Thursday I took turkey from the brine, cut it into two halves (otherwise it would not fit in smoker), pat it dry with paper towels and placed uncovered back in the fridge to dry a little, until tomorrow. I am sorry – I don’t have any picks from this process because it was little messy.

    Got back home from work on Friday, set Auber temp controller at 275F and turned my 30# TSM smoker on. When temp reached 200F – placed both halves on two rack in the smoker as well as my AMNPS with a mix of oak and cherry pellets. ThermoPro TP20 probe was placed in the breast of the bird.

    It took almost 4 and a half hours until temp in the breast reached 159F. I know, many on this forum recommend 155F but I just wanted to cook turkey a little longer – just in case. At 159F I pulled both halves out, covered with foil and towels and let it sit on the counter to let it cook a little longer, to make sure it’s cooked everywhere… In about two hours I uncovered the turkey, let it cool and placed it in the fridge overnight.

    Saturday morning and it’s a moment of truth: I sliced peace of breast and it was delicious!!! Even after sitting in the fridge overnight it was juicy. I was afraid it will be over salted because of three days in the brine and a possibility that this turkey was injected with whatever salty solution prior I bought it. I never knew about this possibility until found this information on this forum but it was too late to change saltiness of the brine – the bird was in the brine already. The turkey was salty and sweet just enough.

    I have one issue though: when I separated legs and thighs I found that they are not cooked completely close to their joints. I am planning to finish them in sous vide with temp set to 165F for not longer then 1 or 1 ½ hours. I am not sure that this method is the best one and need your opinion on this. Any advise will be much appreciated.


    Attached Files:

  2. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Looks real good....nice job!!
  3. pushok2018

    pushok2018 Fire Starter

    Thank you, sauced!
  4. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    You are welcome! I don't have a sous vide, I just cook/smoke the turkey till the thigh meat hits at least 165.
    You can also spatchcock it, cut out the backbone and flatten the turkey out. It will cook a bit quicker and more evenly.
  5. pushok2018

    pushok2018 Fire Starter

    "You can also spatchcock it, cut out the backbone and flatten the turkey out" - this almost exactly what I did - I cut it into two halves. I think I had to check the temp in thigh also bit I checked it in breast only. Any way, the turkey was delicious with a good and pleasant smoke flavor. Everyone liked it a lot.
    Thank you, sauced.
  6. Scott Eisenbraun

    Scott Eisenbraun Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful colored bird! Are you sure that it's not cooked through? It is common to have some redness around joints. (Especially if cured) Go ahead a SV and let us know if the redness disappeared.
  7. pushok2018

    pushok2018 Fire Starter

    Thank you, Scott! No further SV required any longer - that bird is gone completely!:)
    Yes, like I said it was in brine for 72 hours with Pop's brine so it was cured and I think this was a false alarm on my part: like you said it was a little red (not bloody) in joins, that's all....