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Thanksgiving Turkeys - Cured and Smoked

pops6927

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This year I'm doing 3 cured and smoked 15 lb'rs for Thanksgiving - one for each son, plus one for my chiropractor, Dr. Chris Michlin in Fort Worth.  I bought the turkeys on Saturday, Oct. 29th and put them in the refrigerator to thaw out for several days.  On Friday, Nov. 4th, I brought them into the kitchen, unwrapped them, removed the pop-up thermometer, the neck from the main cavity and the giblets from the neck cavity, then put them in my big curing bucket (no.2 designation for food-safe product).  I made up 2 - 4 gallon buckets of my Lo-Salt curing brine, rolled them out to the back fridge and filled up the bucket, total 8 gallons of curing brine.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/pops6927s-curing-brines-regular-and-lo-salt

This year I did something a little different.  Instead of 2 - 1 gallon ziploc bags half-filled with water to weigh the turkeys down so they will stay submerged, I simply used two heavy dinner plates on top of them.  Worked perfect!


Kept them down into the curing brine with no problem.

Now, today, November 20th, I took off the plates and lifted each turkey out of the curing brine (of course, with my right, non-affected hand) and put into individual small buckets and rolled them into the kitchen:


Then, I used 3 lengths of pre-cut and sewn stockinette - 36" (from Butcher-Packer)


Although they are used for hams and the like, they can be used for poultry, or anything else you wish to put in your smoker/smokehouse.

I roll down the stockinette just like a lady puts on her hose (antiquated, talk to your mom, lol) and bring up over the turkey:



Then bring the ends together like two pieces of string and tie a SQUARE KNOT on the end.  This is important, as the entire weight of the turkey will be dependent on this knot, and a square knot won't slip and allow the turkey to fall. Also known as a Reef Knot.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reef_knot

Then slip a ham hook through the knot and hang them into the smokehouse.




I DO NOT dry the inside nor the outside of the birds, just sack'em and hang'em then start the propane and toss in some wood chunks and let'er rip!


The smoke will adhere just fine to the birds (as further photos will prove).  The idea of 'drying' and forming a 'pellicle' is for fish, which is delicate and a short smoke and usually very wet, so for that it is necessary, but not for hams or bacons or turkeys or chickens, etc.

I started the fire up at 7:30 am, we'll see how they progress!

It was 55° F at 7:30am when I started the smokehouse.  I just checked it at 8:30am and the wood chunks mostly were charred out, so I added 3 more pieces, and the smokehouse was up to 208° F,

I will add a few chunks into the pan every 30-45 minutes until done and will start temp checks at 3:00pm.  Bought a new instant read thermometer from Amazon:


Low-end model but it worked wonderfully on a beef roast for dinner a few nights ago!

Photo at 12 noon - as you can see, they are taking the smoke well!


3pm temp check, in the breast - 133°


In the thigh, 139°


Be done probably around 6pm, normal.

(Changed the 'done' time to 6pm, they finished up great!  On the 20+ lb'rs, it would have taken to 8pm)

Brought them in and unsacked them, put them in buckets and took them to the back fridge to cool!  



Lots of good eating right there!  Fully cooked, juicy, and ohhh what an aroma!
 
Last edited:

SmokinAl

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Looks great Pops!

I really like the idea of smoking them in the stockinette.

Al
 

Bearcarver

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Great Start as always, Pops!!!


Be Back (Many times):



Bear
 

dirtsailor2003

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Off to a great start!

I have three of those instant read therms and they all work great.
 

whistech

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Pops, those turkeys look delicious!      I would love to dig into some of the dark meat and I bet the white meat is great also.    Great job and thank you for sharing your cure recipe so many years ago.    I use it all the time.    When you say you used the low sodium curing recipe, is that using 1/3 cup of salt per gallon of water?    Again, the turkey looks great and someone is in for a real treat.
 

pops6927

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Pops, those turkeys look delicious!      I would love to dig into some of the dark meat and I bet the white meat is great also.    Great job and thank you for sharing your cure recipe so many years ago.    I use it all the time.    When you say you used the low sodium curing recipe, is that using 1/3 cup of salt per gallon of water?    Again, the turkey looks great and someone is in for a real treat.
My lo-salt is ½ cup salt, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp Cure#1 into 1 gallon of water:

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/pops6927s-curing-brines-regular-and-lo-salt

Also see my Party and Picnic threads in my Signature line, too!
 
Last edited:

zwiller

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Timely thread.  As usual your pics look fantastic!  Glad to see you are at again.  Thank you for sharing all of your experience and knowledge.  I absolutely love the old school no BS approach.  The lo salt brine/cure is phenomenal. 

I am not kidding but I gotta LOT of questions I'd like to ask you but will try and keep them to a minimum. 

1.  First the big one;  Why do you like lower temps?  You and some of my books advocate this (Marianski 170F).  He actually has a 2-3 hour 130F phase drying phase.  I care less about skin since my smoked birds are delicacies meant for snacking/appetizers and not for dinner.  I assume more smoke flavor.

2. Why the stockinette?  Just curious if it does more than keep the wings from drying out?  Once again Marianski says to use them too. 

3. Of course, what wood?  Looks dark and rich.  Maybe mesquite since you in TX. 

I am kinda torn from a spatchcocked high temp (new school) to netted lower temp (old school).  Never went that low before.  Once again, my goal is not a dinner bird but the kind of bird sliced up cold and served with beer near the poker table. 
 

pops6927

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1.  First the big one;  Why do you like lower temps?  You and some of my books advocate this (Marianski 170F).  He actually has a 2-3 hour 130F phase drying phase.  I care less about skin since my smoked birds are delicacies meant for snacking/appetizers and not for dinner.  I assume more smoke flavor.

2. Why the stockinette?  Just curious if it does more than keep the wings from drying out?  Once again Marianski says to use them too. 

3. Of course, what wood?  Looks dark and rich.  Maybe mesquite since you in TX. 

I am kinda torn from a spatchcocked high temp (new school) to netted lower temp (old school).  Never went that low before.  Once again, my goal is not a dinner bird but the kind of bird sliced up cold and served with beer near the poker table. 
1)  I keep the smokehouse at around 225° - 245°.  More than enough to cook the bird or pork or beef, etc., but not enough to dry it out.

2)  The stockinette gives conformity to the bird and a nice pebble-grain finish to the skin.  You either have to hang the meat or lay it on a rack.  I prefer the advantage a smokehouse gives vs. a smoker,  the ability to hang the meat.  Just like http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/134891/spare-ribs-ala-belly-style

3)  I use either hickory or mesquite or a combination of both for hot smoking.  On cold smoking in the Amazen unit, I use a combination of Pitmaster's blend and corn cob pellets for cheese and vegetables (Portabella mushrooms, cold-smoked, are the BOMB!)
 

zwiller

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Thanks Pops!
  1. Your temps are higher than I thought, I like those temps too.      
  2. Gonna try and hang mine too even tho in a gasser.  Trying to get 2 birds in there.
  3. That corn cob mix sounds incredible.  THANKS.  What temps are you on that?  Is that like, light up the tube and that’s it?
 

smokingsixx

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Looking absolutely wonderful!!! [emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]129411[/emoji][emoji]9989[/emoji]
 

b-one

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Great looking birds! I really like the look from the stockinette.
 

disco

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I always learn stuff from your posts, Pops! Points

Disco
 

redheelerdog

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Great post pops, I love the stockinette idea. Keep up the good work and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
 

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