Smoked Turkey for Lunch meat (brine vs. cure)

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by maplemountain q, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. I'm preparing to smoke some turkey breasts to be sliced and used as the main course in sammiches.  I've smoked plenty of yard bird and it has turned out great using what I refer to as a standard poultry brine (salt, water, sugar, poultry spices, garlic, etc.).  I plan to use this brine for one set of breasts and also want to try Jeff's cranberry brine on the other.  I plan on using a simple pepper rub on one and a smokey apple rub on the cranberry-brined portion.

    All this brings me to my question in regards to turkey for lunch meat - is there a true gain in taste/flavor to use a brine vs. a cure?  I can't seem to find any discernible differences other than adding pink salt to the brine.  Seems as though all recipes require an IT of 160 as well.  Any thoughts for or against using a brine vs. a cure?

    Happy Monday!
  2. The flavor is very much different....turkey cured with pink salt will have a ham-like flavor.
    One isn't necessarily better than the other, they're just different.
    It's a matter of personal'll just have to give both a try and see what you prefer

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use cure when doing a low and slow with any food that might be chancy.

    The local rage here is hot and fast birds, I've tried, it its good but I still prefer low and slow, The meat seems to have a different texture which I really notice especially when slicing for sandwich. Remember you don't have to cure for weeks, it can be a short cure. I have done thighs in a maple cure then smoked that were out of this world. You never tasted the cure. The richness of the flavor of the clear liquid in the thighs was completely over the top. Low and slow is the way to go in my book, and cure helps me feel better about using in with some meats.

    It's just a different salt to use as a dehydration medium.

    Ask a simple question your get 100 different answers, none are wrong, just everyone has picked the way they like. I normally brine, but sometimes I get a wild hair and cure. Both are great.
  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've noticed the biggest difference in the dark meat. It really does have a hammy flavor/texture when cured. The white meat still tastes like turkey, just stays moister and has a slightly different texture.
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think I get what you mean here Foam, but just to be clear for folks who might not be familiar, pink salt (CURE) is in no way interchangeable with any other type of salt. Dehydration is only part of the process. It's the nitrite and/or nitrate that does the "curing". It's also these ingredients that make it potentially hazardous if used in any way other than the prescribed amounts and methods.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Of course, that is why its colored no mistaking what it is.
  7. I think this time around I'm going to go the brine route, not looking for a hammy turkey sammy!  

    In regards to the cure, can any brine be morphed into a cure if I use the recommended amount of pink salt per volume of liquid in the brine?
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    YES...A simple and straight forward method is adding flavorful Herbs and Spices, Etc., to Pops Brine. Or follow and Known Good recipe from a recognized knowledgable source. If in doubt, post the recipe and we can review it for accuracy...JJ

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