Bad Luck with Thanksgiving Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by a216vcti, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Ugh. This is turning out horribly.  So.  I buy the turkey on Monday.  It's a farm fresh turkey, never frozen.  Immediately I stick it in my fridge.  Today sneaks up on me and I start reading on how to brine the turkey.  I decided to use the slaughterhouse brine since it works for everyone else.  I though I had every ingredient except the Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning so I think to myself, I can take the long way home around the Baltimore beltway and hit horrible traffic.  I manage to get to Wegmans in 35 minutes.  This a 15 minute trip from work.  Unfamiliar with Wegmans, I asked a number of employees for the seasoning.  Of course, none of them have ever heard of it.  They couldn't find it even though the product is on their website. Ok, back on the road through the same holiday traffic.  Another 25 minutes takes me to the Giant in Rosedale.  A little bit down the street from home. I search and the closest thing I could find was Zatarains.  So I say, it shouldn't be that bad.  I start looking for a line and every line is packed.  I get to an express line and wait as people get checked out. Finally one person in front of me and of course they got the wrong product so everyone had to wait until she got back. I saw what was happening so I got out of that line and moved to another line.  Lucky me picks a line with another issue. So after waiting for another 10 minutes and seeing people that were standing behind me being checked out, I give up and put the zatarains back on the shelf.  After that, I go home, drop off the girlfriend and pick up my car. Head back out to a grocery store right down the street and there lies the Tony Chachere's waiting the whole time.

    So I get home and realized I don't have anything large enough to hold my turkey while it's being brined. I run out to target looking for something large enough to hold my brine. More stressed workers give no help.  So I buy a turkey fry.  It has a 30qt pot.

    So I get it home, start with 4 cups of water in a small saucepan and add the salt, sugar, cajun seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder then start looking for celery seed.  Nope. None to be found.  So back out to the grocery store I go.  That's only a 5 minute trip.

    So I add the celery seed and a little bit of cayenne for some heat.  Bring the saucepan to a good simmer.  I start to get my 30qt stockpot to 3 gallons, just eyeballing. I figured 30qts is 7.5 gallons, if I needed 3 gallons, just fill it up less than half way.  So, I fill it up half way, add the saucepot and a bunch of ice to get the temp below 40. I pull the turkey out to get ready to add it to the stockpot, open it up and am overwhelmed with the stench of rotten fowl.  Yep. The turkey is spoiled.

    So i run out and buy a frozen turkey.  Drop it in the stockpot and submerge it by placing the small saucepan. 

    Questions, the new turkey that I bought is 16 lbs.  Is there any chance of it thawing by tomorrow morning?  Also, is the bring going to work?  IS there any safety issues that I should be worried about?

    I plan on smoking this tomorrow....if possible. 
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't Panic! Here is a thaw chart....and if the Bird is Enhanced you don't need to brine....Let us know what you got...JJ

    Begin Content Table
    In Cold Water
    Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
    4 to 12 pounds2 to 6 hours
    12 to 16 pounds6 to 8 hours
    16 to 20 pounds8 to 10 hours
    20 to 24 pounds10 to 12 hours

    end content table
    Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

    If you can set up a way to have a low continuous cold water can get some sleep too...JJ

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  3. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Listen to JJ. he knows his stuff....and by the way, the Zatarains is good,....thats what I use... It's like the "Slap Yo Momma" Louisiana seasoning...Very tasty. I got on in the smoker as we speak using that seasoning.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh man, that is definately not a great way to start your Turkey smoke!

    Other than that your spot on, just dumped my 21 lb. bird  into some Tips Slaughter house brine. I personally like to add 2 tsp of poultry seasoning to the brine, and replace half the water with chicken broth. I even went wild this year and tossed 4 apple cinnamon tea bags in for a little extra flavor.
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like we may be related. I went to the Giant down the street as I wanted a fresh bird and didn't want it hanging around for more than a day. Decided to wait out the crowds, so we went at 8pm tonight. 2 turkeys left, 1 is 23lbs in a leaky package. The other is 24 lbs. Not smoking it so not worried about the danger zone.

    I wish you the best, and on the bright side,  this will be one of those fun stories you'll be telling for the rest of your life.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hope it all ends well for you!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  7. I forgot to mention the part where I was sitting on my couch at 9:05 PM and realized I only have one bag of hickory.  I run out to the closest home depot and they closed at 9P.  I go to the walmart down the street and search the entire luck.  I finally give up and realized that I'm going to be baking a turkey in the oven tomorrow, and leave.  On the way out, I drive past a home depot that's located right across the street from Walmart and see some cars in the parking lot.  I drive over and look inside....THEY'RE STILL OPEN.  I bought three bags of Char-Broil Chunks. 

    Anyway.  I'm about to pull the turkey out of the brine.  Hopefully it's thawed.  I have a question about the thawing process you guys mentioned. My tapwater temp is 60 degrees according to my digital thermometer.  How would running it under cold water be safe for it?
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The temp of the turkey is what is important.  Even at 60 degrees the tap water will help defrost the frozen bird.   You keep changing the water so the bird isn't sitting in 32 degree water.
  9. Good Luck.  Make it a habit to keep cajun seasoning in the cupboard, it's good on anything, 'cept for maybe ice cream.
    smokerwannabe likes this.
  10. The "slap ya mama" seasoning is pretty good.   But being from south Louisiana I can tell you that the one seasoning you will find in every cajun house is Tony Chacheres!  Tony's is still the best!
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Here is the recipe for tony chachere's

    This is the recipe for Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning in the green can that most of us use.

    1-26oz box of salt

    1-1/2 oz fine ground black pepper

    2 oz cayanne pepper

    1 oz garlic powder

    1 oz chilli powder

    1 oz msg (accent)

    Mix well and use like salt.

     when it's salty enough, It's seasoned to perfection.

    This is from Mr. tony's cook book  from 1972
  12. drakethib

    drakethib Newbie

    Amen !
  13. bamafan

    bamafan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    After all you been thru, I'm sure the smoke gods will smile on you and you'll have a terrific bird that all your faimly will talk about. On containers for birds one thing I do is wrap them in bags with the brine and seal them off and toss in the cooler with ice. Works great if you have more than 1 bird and don''t have a extra fridge.
  14. I am so sorry to hear about your pain. Yeah, if your turkey is still frozen, the brine won't work, but it should be fine without brining. It's probably too late to say this for today, but yes, thawing it in cold water helps speed up the thawing drastically.

    This must be a good day for smoking because I put my 13 pound turkey on my Meadow Creek Smoker this morning at 4:30 thinking it might be done by noon, but the breast is already up to 160 and it's only 8:00 AM! Looks like we are ahead of schedule.  :)

    Anyway, I wish you the best and I hope it will work out great. Let us know.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  15. According to the Tony Chachere website, they don't use MSG.
  16. It was a good day.  I plopped a 16lbs. bird on at 8:45A and finished the bird in the oven at 3:00P.  The bird came out great!  I ended up moping the bird with a mix of chicken stock, galic powder and Tony Chachere's.  Ended up having to thaw the bird under running water. 

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