First Turkey have some questions

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by anstissk, May 22, 2011.

  1. Hey all, been smoking a lot of pork and now im wanting to venture into poultury.  We raise turkeys so we got em big, we have em cut in half when we butcher them so half a turkey is about 17-19 lbs.  I have a few questions, one, why do people tend to smoke chicken at a higher temperature and not turkey? Two, whats a good basic brine i can use and maybe add on to it eventually? And three, whats the best wood and temperature for turkey?  As soon as i smoke my first turkey which will hopefully be this weekend i will be sure to post Qview.  Thank you for looking.
  2. ,Hi,

    I have been smoking from 75 to 100 lb of turkey per year for the past 25 years.  I use a sweet brine 1/2 salt and 1/2 sugar.  I make the brine strong enough to float a small raw potatoe.  I usually add 2 tbs of onion powder and 1 tsp of ground sage per gallon of brine.   I break down the turkey into wings, legs (drumstick & thigh together), and breast (broken into right and left sides).  The breast portions are encased in elastic mest.  Then, the legs and breasts are pumped with brine (wings are thin enough that they don't need pumping) and the meat immersed in brine in a refrigerator for 48 hours.  I don't use nitrates because nitrates/nitrites were historicaly used to prevent trichinosis in pork.  If I want the final product to have a pink colour I add 1 tsp of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) per 10 lb of product.  After 48 hours I rinse the pieces to remove the surface salt, hang in my smoker with the vents open until the product is dry, cold smoke at 100 degrees for at least four hours, and then raise the temperature 10 degrees per hour, while continuing a light smoke, until the interior temperature of the thickest piece is 155 degrees.
  3. smokinal

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

    If it isn't cured how can you safely cold smoke it for four hours? Is this a salt cure?
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can't.

    That would actually be at least 10 hours below 140˚, because your smoker temp would go from 100˚ to 150˚ in another 5 hours (10˚ per hour), and the meat would still be below 140˚ at that point. You would be relying on a very high amount of salt. Salt is not considered a cure. I have no idea how you would get rid of all of that huge amount of salt flavor that you would be using to try to keep it from spoiling.

    Also nitrates/nitrites are used to prevent spoilage & botulism----Not to kill trichinosis. That would be freezing and/or cooking.

  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That makes three of us questioning this. It flys in the face of everything we know about food safety. I would not follow this method until we get a whole lot more information.  


    Sorry your thread got a little hijacked but it is important that the posts here dont get folks sick.

    Here is a brine that a lot of us use around here with great success

    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

    Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
    8 oz Apple Cider
    6 oz Water
    4 oz Whiskey
    2 oz Cider Vinegar

  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Personally I smoke all my poultry at high temps so I get the nice crispy skin. With birds that size I would highly suggest the higher temps to get them through the danger zone in time to meet safety standards. If you really wanted to you could turn the smoker back down to the 225 degree area once you got the bird above 135 internal temp. The recipes Scarbelly posted are very good. Good luck with the smoke and be sure to post some Qview
  7. that looks like a good brine.  Thanks, so for my other question, why do people tend to smoke turkey cooler and slower than chicken?
  8. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Tips Brine is great, That's what i use,With some added ingredients ofcourse.

    I personally smoke my turkeys around 325º it makes for a nice color, and crisp skin.And as Piney said, You want to get threw the D-zone.

    You can low & slow a turkey but it has to be (cured) Not try'in to confuse you,Just try'in to help.
  9. rstr hunter

    rstr hunter Smoking Fanatic

    When I do my turkeys I look for 10-12 lb'ers as I want them to get through the danger zone in time.  The bigger the piece of meat the longer it takes.  If your half turkey weighs 17-19 lb you will likely still have a tough time getting through the danger zone in less than 4 hours.  Would definately do a hotter cook early on until you are through 140 degrees.  If that doesn't work, maybe think about using cure #1 in your brine according to specs.  That will cure your meat and allow you more time to get through the danger zone.  I'm sure there are others who will chime in shortly to help with amounts of cure #1 to use per gallon of brine.  I personally leave mine in brine for 5 days as well.  I think it cuts down some of the injecting and spreads the flavor through the meat better.  Just my 2 cents.  Good luck and make sure to post pics.   
  10. Thank you, that does make a lot more sense to me now, obviously bigger the bird the harder to get through the danger zone.  I will keep that in mind.  Now if i made the slaughterhouse brine up and did that for 24 hours is that long enough? How long does it actually take for the process to take place?
  11. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I brine my turkeys for atleast 5 days, As long as their kept at 40º
  12. rstr hunter

    rstr hunter Smoking Fanatic

    I did one after three days this winter and another that had been brined for 5 days at the same time.  Only injected with butter to keep moist.  I could tell the difference.  The 5 day one turned out awesome the 3 day one was dry and not as flavorful.  I probably will never try to go less than 5 days again.  If I did I'd make sure I got a good injection of brine to try to make up the difference. 
  13. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The amount of time in the brine is directly related to the amount of salt in the brine recipe. The more salt the less time in the brine. The Slaughter House brine recipe doesn't have that high of a salt content and therefore can stay in the brine for awhile. Personally I brine poultry 12-24 hours in that one but going longer would be fine if you wanted to

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