Cured and smoked turkey.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mdboatbum, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Heading to the in-laws' for Thanksgiving, and they've decided we're going to the country club. He's 95 and we're not allowed to discuss her age, so I can't blame them.

    I can't have Thanksgiving without leftovers, so I'm bringing the mini and a 15 pound turkey that's being cured as we speak. Also gonna make a couple pies, some cranberry sauce and a vat of stuffing tomorrow.

    The brine:

    2 gallons water.

    2 cups brown sugar.

    1 cup salt.

    2 cans apple juice concentrate

    4TB pink salt. (Cure #1)

    I went light on the salt as I'll liberally salt it when it goes in the smoker and I don't want it overly salty. I went heavy on the cure as I'll be only able to brine it for 48-60 hours

    Plan to smoke over a combo of Apple and Pecan.

    Pics to follow!! Stay tuned.
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am tuned in.

    Cant wait.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, I am watching.......[​IMG]
  4.  I'll pull up a chair.

  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No updates yet, though I did make the cranberry sauce last night. It gelled like I knew what I was doing!!! Now all I have to worry about is whether or not it'll come out of the mold.

    This is my take on an Alton Brown recipe. He used orange and cranberry juice, but I forgot to buy orange juice.

    2 packages fresh cranberries (24oz total)

    1.5 cups honey

    3/4 cup cranberry juice

    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1/8 tsp nutmeg

    dash salt

    Add everything except the cranberries to a pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Use a bigger pot than you think you'll need, as it WILL foam up and make a mess of your stove.

    Once you've achieved a boil, add the cranberries.

    Bring back to a boil and lower heat to just maintain a simmer.

    Simmer for 13 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    GO NO LONGER!!! If you let it cook too long the pectin will break down and it won't set.

    CAREFULLY spoon into a mold or whatever you have on hand and let set for 8 hours.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  6. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    I'm in on this, looks interesting
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    <passes everyone waiting a nice warmed mug of apple liquor with some brown sugar and cinnamon  >
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  8. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you're pouring… I'm drinking.  Umm AND watching.  
  9. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well I came down with a nasty cold, so sent the wife off to the in-laws on her own. The turkey will have to wait 'til Sunday when she gets back. I'll take it out of the brine tomorrow morning and let it dry in the fridge 'til Sunday morning when it'll go in the smoker. Sorry for the delay. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!
  10. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That sucks to have a cold over thanksgiving.

    Hope it passes quick.
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hope ya feel better man.......
  12. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am suffering from the drip too. Commiserations my friend. I look forward to the bird on your recovery.

  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Check with the corpsman, they have shots for that.

    LOL.. I just can't stop myself sometimes....

    Well you get to feeling better too. That gumbo will fix ya right up.
  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm sure MD and I are grateful for that advice, Foamheart. However, I have passed gumbo and have moved on to rum. Any navy guy will tell you it doesn't cure you but it strengthens the constitution. So MD, sip some rum and feel better.

  15. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well we're almost there. Had to forego the smoker as the wife stayed another day at her parents and I was on my own. Didn't really feel like sitting in the park for 5 hours by myself. Turkey's at about 163˚, stuffing and cranberries are made, potatoes are ready to be boiled, Brussels sprouts are on deck. Wife's going through some fairly Amish heavy country, so will stop for a pie or 2 on her way. She should be home about 7. Was supposed to be here at noon. Actually was supposed to be here yesterday afternoon.  Whaddaya gonna do?

    Pics to come, I promise.
  16. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ok, here are a few pictures and a postmortem.

    First, the pictures:

    Went pretty simple. Olive oil and salt on the skin, and stuffed the cavity with rosemary and thyme.

    I make cranberry sauce every year, and no one ever eats much of it. I don't even like it, but it just has to be there.

    This one was stubbornly clinging to the mold for all it's worth. Took a hot water bath and a blowtorch to convince it to come out.

    Not my best effort appearance wise. I wasn't feeling well and basically just threw it in the oven without taking

    the appropriate steps to avoid charred extremities and blotchy skin. Skin was tender enough though. Ended up taking just under 5 hours at 350˚

    This year is going on the books as kind of an off year. Wasn't much fun with not being able to go out of town with the wife, and we also had a friend pass away on Thanksgiving night. I didn't know him very well, but my wife and several of our "gang" had known him for 20+ years and were quite fond of him, so it was a pretty somber time.

    My first cured turkey was definitely a learning experience. The flavor didn't really "pop", despite the initial injection, brine, and another injection with creole butter just before going in the oven. I think my cutting back on the salt in the brine was a mistake. Not smoking it was definitely a mistake as well, as the smoke flavor would have put it over the top. It wasn't really bland, just didn't stand out. It actually had more of a turkey flavor than anything, and well, turkey isn't all that exciting of a flavor in and of itself.

    The texture on the other hand, ROCKED. I will definitely be curing more turkeys in the future. Cured turkey is often described as "hammy", and while I wouldn't say that's completely inaccurate, I don't think it tells the whole story. The white meat definitely held more moisture and was firmer than usual. The dark meat is where it made the most difference. The usual heavy, greasy texture and flavor I associate with turkey dark meat is totally gone. (I should mention that I have a strong aversion to any sort of heavy, greasy flavor in any meat, ESPECIALLY turkey and ribs) It somehow tastes lighter and the texture is definitely more "hammy" than the white meat. You're still eating a turkey leg, it's just that it's SOOOOOOO much better than usual.

    So that's about it. Sorry for the longwinded post and for taking so long with the photos.

    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

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