Turkey Question: Brining vs. Injecting?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by seenred, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I am planning to smoke a turkey before Thanksgiving. There is much written in these forums about brining poultry, and I have brined chicken myself with good results. I have found less info about injecting birds before smoking. For those of you have have tried either or both methods, don't they basically accomplish the same purpose, which is to infuse moisture and flavor into the bird? If one were to brine a bird, would it add any benefit to inject it as well, or would that be overkill? I guess I'm asking everyone's opinion about either/both methods, and compare the results you get.
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think I'm like you too with this one. I have brined chicken and I have injected a turkey but it was before frying not smoking. So I think just mix your spices in your brine and you should be alright because I to will be smoking a turkey and fring a turkey also. I will inject the fring bird and brine the smoking bird.[​IMG]
    How's that for an answer.
  3. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have done both, and I prefer to brine. I think it makes for a more uniform flavor. I have not done it, but I would think that doing both would be a bit overkill. Just my 2 cents worth.
  4. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I brine poultry. The injector is for smoked butt and other, solid meats that won't pick up as much benefit from brining - or if I want to inject a particular flavor (such as apple cider or bourbon) that is cost-prohibitive.

    Imagine using three gallons of bourbon to immerse a chunk of meat... EEK
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I too have tried both brining and injecting and I prefer brining but thats just my opinion.
  6. pepeskitty

    pepeskitty Smoking Fanatic

    I am glad you asked this question, I too am planning to smoke my first turkey for Thanksgiving. I have done the injected deep fried bird but hadn't really thought about how to do the smoked bird yet. I think I will brine it though. Thanks for raising this question to get me thinking about it. Let us know what you decide and how that works out for you with some Qview.[​IMG]
  7. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    I think the answer you're looking for depends a little on technique. For example, I brine my birds because it's too damn easy [​IMG]

    Mix the brine, place the bird, remove the next day, rinse well and then smoke.

    The couple of times I've tried injecting, I didn't do it very well...there were large "pockets" of flavor in some places - and no flavor in others. Therefore, I choose to brine.
  8. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Would travcomans poultry brine work well for turkeys? I would think so! I think I will take that route. Could someome explain the brining time, smoke time, smoke temp and internal meat temp for the turkey smoking process? It would be greatly apprieciated!
  9. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Tip's brine works very well on turkey. I brine overnight usually 8-10 hours. I like to smoke all poultry at high temps 275-325 to get a crispy skin. Personally I like to smoke them with either apple or cherry. I smoke them to 170 internal measured in the thigh and the breast. Usually a 13-15 lb bird takes about 3-4 hours at 325 give or take a bit. Once done I tent foil the bird for about 15 minutes then carve it
  10. evo 9 guy

    evo 9 guy Smoke Blower

    I personally only do brines for poultry, but I have a friend (meljobin) who has injected his chickens and came out great. Just have to watch the 40-140 temp zone no that you have pierced the meat before cooking.
  11. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    This is easily really if you don't over think it. Injections are used on thick pieces of meat that would take too long for the brine to penetrate the center. By the time the center was brined, the outer portion would be salty and the texture would be changed.

    A turkey, while big, has a deep cavity. You can inject it if you are pressed for time, but you'll get a better result if you just brine it. Besides, it's kind of hard to get herbs into a injection, yet with brine, you can toss in rosemary, basil, thyme, etc.

    Jeff actually answers this questions and others about smoking turkeys right here... http://www.smoking-meat.com/smoking-turkey.html
  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  13. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yeah, this was my thinking too. Brine it is! 'Preciate everyone's thoughts on this.
  14. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I meant to include the recipe from this site in my post, guess I had a brain fart and forgot.

    2 Gal Water
    2 Cups Kosher Salt
    3 Cups Sugar
    1/4 Cup Zatarains Liquid Crab Boil
    4 TBS Black Pepper
    1 TBS Dried Rosemary
    1 TBS Thyme
    1/4 Cup Molasses
    1/4 Cup White Wine (not Cooking Wine)
    1/4 Cup Worcestershire

    This is for a 12# turkey, but will work for chicken as well. Unless your smoking 12# of chicken, simply reduce the recipe accordingly. One thing I did different, was I reduced the salt by half and it still came out fantastic. Thats the nice thing about poultry, it is probably the only meat that takes a brine well.
  15. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    If ya want to kick that up a notch, substitute fresh herbs for the dried. Most grocers sell them in the produce section close to salad bags. They even have one with Rosemary, basil and thyme in it and it's called a poultry pack. Trust me, your nose and palate will know the difference.

    If I was going to reduce the salt, I would also reduce the sugar. 3 cups to offset only one cup of salt is kind of high in my opinion.
  16. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    On a turkey ya can actually do both. Brine it an inject it then smoke it. Makes fer a tastey bird.

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
    1 ½ Gal Water
    ½ C Salt - Kosher
    ½ C Dark Brown Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    2 tsp Celery Seed

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
    ½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
    2 C Apple Cider
  17. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When we deep fry a turkey we usually inject it with Cajun Injector Marinade... I like the Hot & Spicy and the wife likes the Roasted Garlic & Herb...
  18. meljobin

    meljobin Newbie

    I have only injected a couple chickens on one ocasion and that was because it was a bit of a last minute smoke and the chickens didnt hardly get to brin (they where frozen still) I am going to try to do a practise turkey this weekend and I plan on brineing and injecting the breast meat as I tend to feel that they have less flavor as it is. Il let you know how it comes out. Still very new to the smoking thing and just trying to experiment BEFORE thanksgiving.

    on a side note any one do honey glazes on turkeys? And if so do you have a recipe?
  19. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    50% honey - 50% melted non salted butter. Brush on soon as that bird comes outa the smoker an let sit fer 15-30 minutes. Easy an tastey. Use it all the time.
  20. i like to do both injection gets the brine in next to the bone for a deep cure

    and the soaking brine takes care of the out side of the bird.

    just like doing a combination cure on a Ham it cuts the time in half

    just my 2 sense

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