Noob question...

Discussion in 'Curing' started by dreegle1, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Having decided to cure and smoke a turkey (which I have never done before), using Pops recipe for the cure (  ), I have, what is probably the most basic question imaginable. Whilst curing, should the curing bird be in the fridge? I imagine that it should be kept cold, to reduce the production of microbes...but I also imagine that a slightly warmer environment may accelerate the curing process. I am only using a very small 3 kg turkey (about 7lbs), and think that about 4 1/2 to 5 days should be adequate time for the bird to cure properly. I am also not quite sure how long to  smoke the bird...I am thinking around the 10 hour mark...Can anyone point out if I am on the wrong track, please? 
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Definitely hold it refrigerated at all times...most will say 36-38* being the ideal range. 38* giving a little swing away from the danger zone while still being about the warmest temp for a faster cure. 36* will slow the curing process slightly, but give a bit better assurance against rising to above 40* with fridge door openings, etc. Ideally, a dedicated meat fridge is a great way to go, like the compact 4.2 cu ft I have, which I can dial in to whatever I want to run it at, and monitor the temp with a digital therm for fridges that has a remote display (these are about 10 - 12 bucks at the right store). Being a dedicated fridge means it doesn't get opened by anyone except me, and only when I want to check on something or add more meat, remove what's ready to smoke, etc.

    Happy curing!!!

  3. smokinal

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

    Sounds like Eric has you covered! Good luck!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The time saved curing at the warmer temp is not worth the risk to yourself and loved ones...I have had food poisoning and 7 days living in the Bathroom is NO FUN!...JJ
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now 10 hours is a longtime. I would think that 2-3 is more like it. I did 5 birds this year and they were all around 14lbs (smallest I could find) and I smoked then at 285° and they went for 3-31/2 hours. Now as for your keeping your bird cold while you brine. Yes you do need to keep the bird atleast at 40° or less. I'm lucky and have an extra frig but anyway that you can keep the bird cold, do it
  6. Ok, Thanks. Below 4 degrees C (40f), sounds right...and a minimum internal temperature of at least 82 C (180f), for at least an hour) should take care of all those nasty microorganisms (although I will be aiming for 285f mark

    Unfortunately I don't have a second fridge, so it looks like I am going to have to make a space at the back. I am thinking that I will be able to brine the bird in 4 litres (about a gallon?) IF I pop it in a bag, and seal it. This should save a bit of space in the fridge (lol...two things to hit the Mrs up for, for my birthday...a woodchipper and a vac packer)...Anyway, my plan is: 1 week before christmas, get my "ornamental" plum cuttings on to soak, and the turkey to thaw. 5 days before christmas, put the turkey in to brine/cure. Christmas day, spend several hours cursing and swearing at the manufacturers of my gas smoker, because even though I haven't opened it yet, I will place money that the assembly instructions are in a language, previously unknown to man, followed by the maiden smoking of a turkey :D That's the plan...I will start a new thread, in the smoking forum, and update it as[​IMG]  it happens . Wish me luck,
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    165* is the USDA minimum recommended temp for poultry. For cured poultry, 170* would be plenty safe, IMO. I go to 168-170* in the breasts, and 170-172 in the thighs. The thigh can show red near the bone @ 165*, so a bit higher temp makes that go away. Too high of temps translates into overcooked and dry meat. Those pop-out thermometers they stick in a bird? All they're good for is to tell you that the bird is overcooked.

    I would plan on starting you thaw a bit earlier, though. I've had 8lb pork butts take 4-5 days in the fridge, and a 7lb locally grown fresh/frozen chicken take 5 days, all in the fridge. You could do a water bath thaw for a couple hours to start, but you need to be sure there are no holes in the packaging which could allow water to leak inside (water could allow harmful micro-organisms into the equation).

    Good luck with the new smoker assembly and seasoning...say, out of curiosity, what did you end up buying? I'm sure someone can help you with getting it up and running if they're familiar with the model. Some of them do have rather vague instructions and poor diagrams, and some are quite good...maybe your's will lean more towards the latter.

    Good luck! You'll do fine, just don't hesitate to pop up an SOS if all hell breaks loose on ya! Ha-ha!!!


    EDIT: having trouble posting tonight and I wanted to clarify that the temps I stated for what I use are for fresh poultry, not cured.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  8. >>Good luck with the new smoker assembly and seasoning...say, out of curiosity, what did you end up buying?

    I ended up getting a cheap upright smoker from an ALDI store, it is their brand, but for $200, how can you go wrong? (yes I know, for $200 they can go wrong in a million ways...but it has a 12 month guarantee :D, ), still, It beats the 1/2 a 44 gallon aviation oil drum I used to use for smoking...and if it comes to a crunch, and I have trouble getting the unit assembled, there is always the mig welder in the shed...That should hold it together..

    It seems strange that the USDA give a minimum temperature, but no minimum time of exposure to that temperature, I was basically running off work practice i/e my knife is sterilised after a 2 second dip in 82 C (about 180 f)...I am curing the bird, specifically for the purpose that I can semi cold smoke it i/e it might spend a little while in foil in the oven, just to make sure no nasties remain...although, after curing (using pops recipe I should be able to do just about any temperature....But I am pretty much gonna follow Pops (  ) recipe, times temperatures etc, ... I got my hands on some DQ cure from my local butcher, but I have to wait until mid January before the distributor comes back to this part of the middle of nowhere, to get a decent quantity...So much to do...soon....Patience now, frantic later :)
  9. The minimum temperature, he is referencing is Internal Temp. Usally measured at the thickest part of the thigh Your cooking temp of your smoker will determine how long the bird takes to reach that I/T.
  10. josecgomez

    josecgomez Newbie

    I accidentally left my ham out of the fridge for 7 hours 2 days into a Wet Cure 1 cup salt, 4 tsp Insta Cure 1 etc. I put it back in the fridge, is it spoiled? Should I throw it out? I started a different thread but this thread is somewhat related and I hoping someone subscribed can give me a pointer

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

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