20lb Turkey - and a Buttermilk Brine...need some advice

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jrapps, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. jrapps

    jrapps Newbie

    Hi all,

    So I volunteered to do a Smoked Christmas Feast this year...a Turkey and a Ham (good thing I treated myself to a second smoker this year!) and looking for some advice on the Turkey here...

    Unfortunately I did not do all the shopping and I was given a 20lb Turkey to smoke...here was my plan and hoping you could all chime in with some suggestions.

    The Turkey is thawing now and I was going to use the Buttermilk Brine from the Newsletter but after reading some posts about safely smoking a 20lb bird, I also want to add 1 oz Tenderquick per Gallon of Brine to help cure the meat and protect against the danger zone.


    1 - Will combining the Buttermilk Brine and Curing with Tenderquick be good/bad for the flavor?

    2 - How long should I brine for? I was planning on 24 hours for the Tenderquick to work but wasn't sure if that was too long for the Buttermilk.

    Going to use the GOSM Big Block for the Turkey (saving the new MES for the Ham) and probably going to crank it to 300 or higher for safety. I have a Turkey stand (similar to a beer can holder for a Turkey)..or should I just do Breast up? I suppose I could spatchcock but I've never tried that before...

    Any other thoughts or suggestions are all welcome.

  2. Spatchcocking would take away the danger zone worries. Soaking in buttermilk for 24 hours is OK. I don't know about the buttermilk and TQ combo. Someone should be along that knows pretty soon. I wouldn't think it would be a problem but I ain't no chemistry whiz.
  3. jrapps

    jrapps Newbie

    So it turns out that I can't even find Tender Quick in my area! So I guess that option is out...and I will likely have to Spatchcock. I guess there's a first time for everything.
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Spatchcock will work fine!
  5. jrapps

    jrapps Newbie

    Anyone know how many min/pound to estimate for a Spatchcock Turkey?
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    At 300-325*F you will be looking at 20 minutes a pound... At this temp you will not need to Spatchcock, you can use your stand and get to temp safely...Good Luck...JJ
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I love using buttermilk to brine pork chops and chicken parts. What I find works real well is to mix a bowl of buttermilk with Tony Chacharros Creole seasoning - just keep adding Tony C's till you get a good taste (add, stir, taste, add, stir, taste.... repeat). For a turkey you would want probably about 2 gallons or so of buttermilk.
  8. I brined my turkey this xmas in a gallon of buttermilk and a gallon of cranberry juice along with 2 cups of Kosher salt of course.  In there for 12 hours and it was the best turkey ever.

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