Help with smoked turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bobdog46, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Hey guys and gals, I need help with smoking a turkey.  I have made and smoked all kinds of sausage from wild game but have never done a turkey.  Since it will most likely be in the danger zone for temperature, does a cure need to be used? What is the curing process for lets say a 12 lb turkey? Any advice will be appreciated.


  2. smokinal

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

    For a 12 lb turkey you will get thru the danger zone OK. 12 lbs. is about the limit. If you smoke a larger bird you need to spatchcock it. Most of us smoke poultry at a little higher temp. (275-300) so you get a crispy skin. Personally I like to do beer can turkey. They always come out moist & tender.
  3. What is spatchcock ? Is that a curing process?
  4. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Spatchcock is where you cut out the back bone of the bird and then lay it on the grate open with the breast facing up. It cooks the bird faster. I do a bunch of turkeys every Thanksgiving for the guys at work and they love them. I brine them for 12-24 hours and then smoke them at 250-300 until they are done. Like Al said 12 lbs is a good bird to work with. I have done bigger ones but you have to watch what you are doing to make sure it gets out of the danger zone. Do a search for poultry brine and you will find a tone of them. Good luck.
  6. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Cured turkey is pretty good stuff. I use Pops' recipe with a little less salt and add celery, onion, and garlic powder to the brine.

    Tip's Slaughterhouse Brine is also an excellent brine to use but is not for curing.

    Good luck!
  7. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  8. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There are two processes:

    Brining:   Brining is soaking the bird in some kind of liquid to add moisture and flavorings to the meat; it usually is salt-based, but almost any kind of brining can be used.

    Curing:  Curing is adding a nitrite to the brine that physically changes the meat into a cured product having that 'hammy' flavor.  

    I do a cured brine turkey.  The original recipe is 1 gal. water, 1 cup non-iodized salt, 1 cup white granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 rounded tablespoon of Cure #1 (I get mine from Butcher and Packer, known as DQ Cure no. 1).  Use enough to cover the turkey in a large bucket or vessel, usually 1-2 gallons of mix, let soak 3 days or so in the fridge, keep it weighted down with a partially full ziploc bag of water.  Remove, pat dry, smoke and cook to 155°-160° internal.  It will have a ham-like flavor, a delicasy!  Also, by being cured, it eliminates the 40° - 140° in 4 hours rule.  

    After two strokes I've had to modify my original recipe to a lo-salt/lo-sugar formula.  I substitute Splenda® and Brown Sugar with Splenda® for the sugar and brown sugar 1:1.  I reduce the salt from 1 cup to as low as ¼ cup and use sea salt rather than non-iodized regular salt.  The nitrite is already a much lower percentage than what is allowed at maximum:  1 oz. vs. 2.4 oz / gallon of water.

    Enjoy your experimenting but keep detailed and accurate logs to reflect back on; there are even some log programs on here to help!  Enjoy!  There will be mistakes, but the worst results give the best answers!  And darn, you just gotta try again, lol!
  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I did a cured turkey last year and it was my best one yet. I also like to add citrus to the brine, lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange. I squeeze the juice out of them and add juice and rind. Awesome. [​IMG]
  11. smokinal

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

    I have never used cure in a turkey brine, but I think this will be one thing I will do for sure. How does it affect the flavor? I know curing pork makes it hammy, but what flavor do you get with cured turkey?
  12. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    It does make it a little hammy, look for smokey turkey wings at the store that will let you know without curing a whole bird. 
  13. smokinal

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

    OK thanks Meat!
  14. pdx210

    pdx210 Fire Starter

    as others have said brine the Turkey !

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