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Turkey-Day Contribution...19.41lb Split Bird & 19.38lb Smithfield Whole Ham: Q-view

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by forluvofsmoke, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey everyone!!! Are you having a great smoke for the holiday today? Hope so, I started in the middle of the night so my monster ham & bird would be safe & sound today.

    I decided to go all natural with the ham, being such fine eating with a reduced-salt cure, I figured why mess with a good thing...275*, a wet chamber, hickory smoke and about 12 hours later @ 160*, we had the ham for lunch. I could have pulled the ham @ 148* around 9 hours in, but we were'nt ready for lunch...I figured a wet chamber would keep it nice and moist, and it did.  I'm not sure that I've ever double-smoked a cured/smoked ham before, but it sure didn't hurt this one by hitting it with more smoke...great flavor.

    The turkey was thawing in my small fridge for over 5 days, and when I got home from work late lastnight (11:30 pm), it was still about 60% frozen. I wanted to do a brine cure with TQ for 24-36 hours, but other issues to attend to. I thought an injected brine/cure would be the way to go, until I found my bird was still frozen. I decided to split down the center so I could remove the giblets and get it finished thawed in salted water. A couple hours later, things were getting dicey for time so I just tossed 'em in under the ham without any treatment...naked as a bird...heh-heh. Well, maybe next T-Day my plans will come together for a nice long brine/cure, but this straight smoked bird was still very good...needed just a touch of salt, and the smoke was perfect. There was one large chunk about 2 hours old still in the smoke tray, so the bird got kissed for about 4 hours by the hickory.

    About 9 hours for the ham, and 7 hours with the bird...drippings from the the ham are kissing the turkey halves nicely...nothing tastes quite like pork enhanced poultry:


    The neck is underneath the bird...it'll go into gravy later tonight for the oven roasted bird with stuffing, mashed taters, veggies, pies...yeah, over 33lbs of bird today:






    The neck after about 10 hours in, just above the water pan for a lower temp smoke and steaming, goes into a steamer for a fall of the bone treatment for chopping into the upcoming graving:


    The larger of the two halves...no rub, injection, brine or basting (well, other than the ham drippings...LOL!!!):


    Between 6 and 7 'oclock, you'll notice the little white (un-popped) button timer...I pulled these @ 167-169*...I'm not a big fan of dry poultry:


    My Wife's stuffed bird is still in the "O" for dinner later, but my contribution for lunch, snacks, leftovers for ham & turkey sandwiches, ham & bean soup and turkey & rice soup wll last for days. I'll be freezing a bunch of it as well, I sure, so this smoke will last for months.

    Smoke on, my friends, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  2. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So, there's the answer for smoking larger birds (minus all the brine prep and other essential steps).  We're having Thanksgiving this weekend, due to the fact that our guests couldn't get here because of all the snow that kept the roads unsafe to drive.  And our weather this last week is heading your way.  Lucky you guys.

    A question about your brine technique.  You mention a 24-36 hour brine.  Not wanting to cause a controversey, I'm here to learn.  I've seen elsewhere that others recommend not brining over 12 hours.  Is this more a case of they don't see a need to brine longer than that, or what. 
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Dave,

    The split birds come through the 40-140* temp in fine shape. Without a brine cure on this one, I wouldn't have risked it as a whole bird for sure, so that's why I spilt it. I even considered quartering it up, as this works so great for whole chickens by allowing you to remove each type of meat when it's done to safe temps without overcooking the breast meat, which is usually the case for me, depending on what orientation (can butt roasting or laying flat) I use for cooking.

    I had intended on at least 24 hours in the solution with this turkey, but that's with TQ instead of straight salt in the spice solution. I wanted a partially to fully cured turkey to smoke. Thinking back on it now, if a fully cured turkey were smoked, the internal temp/time issues would go away, just like with the cured ham. The texture of the meat would be greatly effected, not being a fall apart tenderness, but holding together more like a ham does while still having a tender chew. I did a large batch of TQ brine/cured chix wings last week, and the texture was not like a typical wing...much more chew, but still tender. A nice twist to a classic favorite for sure.

    I don't do a lot of salt brining (I use TQ for brine/cure much more often than straight salt brines), but I think if you brine for excessive periods wouldn't hurt anything with a proper salt concentration, and of course storage temps during the brine. The salt will eventually reach an equilibrium between the brine solution and the interior of the meat, and at this stage, any longer time in the brine will not change the product. At some point, with excessive amounts of time in a brine, spoilage will begin, but this would possibly be several weeks or longer.

    Hope that helps distinguish the differences in time frames and methods for you. Tender Quick is a meat cure which has many uses, and it's the only meat cure I have any experience with. Add a bit of thought and you can get pretty creative with it.

    Have a great smoke and a great weekend with your family/friends. And, remember, the day that we celebrate a holiday isn't as important as the celebration itself...taking the time to do it is what matters. We've had plenty of late or early holiday get-togethers in the past, and they're just as enjoyable.

  4. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yep, know all about the altered celebrations vs observed days.  Being retired military, we've seen more than our fair share.  To all currently serving, what's important about this is that when you're with your loved ones, then you celebrate.  There's many of us who've been where you are now (not the country, but the situation), we know it's tough, but we also know there will be a joyous moment when you return to your loved ones.  Then you'll know the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
  5. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Great looking bird and ham.  It wasn't to long ago nobody brined.  So you were "old school" for the day.  Glad things worked out.
  6. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    Before I did any smoking, we were buying double smoked Hams for Christmas & Easter for about 20 years.

    Cost a little more, but unbelievably good tasting.

    Think I might try it myself this year.


  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    not sure what brands of hams are available in your area, but the Smithfield hams my wife's been grabbing lately are a reduced salt cure, with some corn syrup (if I remember correctly), along with the usual additives. The salt content seems perfect for oven roasting or double-smoking...we were eating this hot and cold, and in scalloped potatoes/ham tonight and salt was never an issue. Price here for this one I just smoked was $1.29/lb...can't go wrong there for a whole bone-in ham with this good of quality.

    I don't think I've ever had a double-smoked ham 'til now...never bought one that I know of, but, yeah, you're right about the flavor...rediculously delicious, moist and tender!!! Now, that I've tried it once, I'll be back for more!

    I think a double-smoked ham should definitely go on your must do list...enjoy, brother smoker!
    Thanks, yeah, the brining is something I do on accasion, but mostly with pieces and not whole birds. Brine/cured meats are more where my experience is at...curing gives you tons of time to get temps up in the meat if it could become an issue. It changes the texture of the meat to a more firm bite, but still in keeping with tenderness. I really wanted to get that from this turkey smoke, but it was still a very good eating bird. My wife has been bragging it up to everyone, saying it tastes like butter and melts in your mouth just like it, too. I wouldn't have described it quite that way myself, but it was very tender, moist and flavorful...staying on top of the temps and pulling it before getting too far along helped a lot, I'm sure. I wouldn't have thought it would be that good with just smoke and no injection, brine, cure or dry rub, but it was sought after when the oven roasted bird came out...I had it stashed in my Q-fridge, already wrapped up, or the "O" bird wouldn't have gotten eaten, I suspect.

    I guess that's what happens when the family likes the smoke, but it's also a good example of what can happen when using the KISS method, and getting better than expected results.

  8. Eric, loved this posting!  Thanks for the tip on Tender Quick, will have to try that (that'd make a turkey breast a no-brainer, if I can't screw up the time/temp combination! [​IMG]).

    Happy Holidays to all,