[USA] Smoked Turkey Anyone?

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Post by laripu » Fri Nov 23, 2012 06:26

It's been quite some time since I've been here. But tonight I felt like bragging a bit, to people who will understand what I'm on about.

I brined a turkey a couple of days ago, hot-smoked it in the Big Green Egg today. It was amazing. Before putting the bird in the brine, I poked many jokes in it with a fork.

The brine was 1 gallon of water, two cups of sugar, 1.5 cups of kosher salt, and a whole slew of spices: garlic powder, pepper, chili powder, cumin, star anise, allspice, coriander seed.

Today I rinsed the brine off carefully, and let the bird soak a bit to get the salt out. I separated the skin from the body, and oiled the bird inside and out with spiced safflower oil. I cooked the bird at 350°F until the internal temperature was 170°. Hickory, mesquite and applewood chips provided the smoke. My wife had made cranberry sauce, stuffing, and carrots. The turkey was incredibly moist, with a nice pink smoke ring.

Homebrewed beer rounded out the meal, and for desert, some Maker's Mark and water.

Sandwiches tomorrow!

I hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
"Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen." - Heinrich Heine
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Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Nov 23, 2012 08:34

Laripu, thanks for letting us in on your project. It sounds like it really went well. There`s just not anything quite like brining eh? Our buddy in Hutchinson, Kansas (W1sby) has found the magic too. Alton Brown sure has an interesting recipe for spices in the brine.

Orf has asked:
for CW's 7up brine would I use the cure if I'm roasting not smoking the bird?
Orf, this method has three things going for it. First, the brining process is unique and incredibly moist in that salt entering the cells alters the protein structure. However, in turkey brined less than six hours, meat may be dry when cooked. In turkey brined more than 24 hours, the texture will become mushy as the salt begins to break down interior muscle fibers. Chickens and turkeys naturally contain some salt and lots or water, which coexist in a happy balance until we throw it off. Nature restores order (called "equilibrium") by moving water to the surface where it dissolves salt. Doesn`t this cause the meat to dry out? You bet it does! This is where correct "timing" comes in on our part. If we cook the bird that has been brined for merely three hours, the cooked product is drier than if we hadn`t salted it to begin with. However, if we cook the bird after six or more hours of brining, the results change entirely. By that point, the exterior salt had pulled so much water to the surface that the balance of the salt concentration had changed. To "restore equilibrium, the water simply changes directions, flowing back into the meat, but this time the salt "goes along for the ride" although it is dissolved. You may ask if other compounds or spices can be introduced into the meat by this method. The answer is yes, IF... the flavoring agent is water-soluble. These include sugars and salts, black and cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika. If the compound is `fat-soluble`, such as capsaicin in peppers, it won`t work.

Second, the 7-Up treatment gives the meat, not only added benefits to texture, but to flavor as well. This is due to a change in the sugars held by proteins. I authored a paper on the mechanics taking place some time ago regarding this process. It has been met with some controversy and I hesitate to publish it here due to some opposition. You`ll have to take my word for it pal, 7-Up or Sprite will kick your turkey`s butt all over the kitchen then right up on your dining room table! It is unique.

Third, think of what sodium nitrite does to pork. It changes it into the product we know as ham. Now, consider what it does to beef. We have dried beef and other products with wonderful flavors going on. When you change the structure of the proteins in fowl, it turns it into pink "manna from heaven"! The answer is yes, use Cure #1 and enjoy the very distinctly elevated flavor of cured turkey. However, remember the rules:
In products that are pumped and immersed, such as hams, poultry breasts, corned beef etc., the maximum in-going nitrite limit allowed by the F.S.I.S. is 200 ppm. This is accomplished by adding precisely 4.2 ounces of Cure #1 to 1 gallon of water. One gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs.
Note that 4.2 ounces of Cure #1 equal 120 grams (20 level teaspoons).

How much brine should you make? There`s a simple ol` timer`s adage that reads, "The amount of brine should equal about forty or fifty percent of the weight of the meat being cured". In other words, you don`t need a barrel-full of brining cure to baptize one duck! So simply use enough brine to equal one and a half times the duck`s weight. If you need a larger volume of brine for curing a larger piece of meat such as a turkey, ham, etc., multiply the formula by a common factor.

How much salinity is recommended? A BRINING solution is simply water with a specific amount of salt added to it to change the protein structure of meat. There is no "standard" strength, but some recommendations are made. Poultry brines seem to work best at about 20 degrees SAL. Red meats are usually brined in solutions much higher in saline concentration as high as 70 degrees SAL. Fish are sometimes brined for only an hour in a concentration of 80 degrees SAL.

A BRINE CURING solution has Cure #1 added to it for specific reasons. The sodium nitrite not only protects us from the effects of clostridium botulinum, it keeps the meat nice and red in color.

If a bird weighs more than three pounds, it should be PUMPED and BRINED to insure complete penetration and distribution before spoilage bacteria begin taking their toll. Ten to fifteen percent of the bird`s green weight is the amount of brine (in weight) to pump into the bird.

For poultry, the FSIS recommends a brining solution of 5.55% or 21degrees on the salinometer scale. This solution is made using 3/4 cup of salt added to a gallon of water. If you`re only making a quart of the stuff, just add 3 tablespoons of salt to a quart of water. This concentration is considered to be a "medium" concentration and it is very popular for poultry.

Rytek Kutas used a brine just a little stronger at 25 degrees SAL for poultry. This is a brine concentration of 6.5% and is made in larger volumes by adding 2 lbs. of salt to 5 gallons of water. He also added a pound of Cure #1 and 1.5 lbs. of powdered dextrose, making the brining solution a "curing solution". The saline concentration in this brine is considered to be "medium high".

To shorten the time of brining, some people have used a 40 degree SAL brine solution of a salt concentration of 10.71%. This is a "high" concentration for poultry and the time in the brine should be limited to a matter of hours rather than days.

Let us know how your turkey turns out! Yup, inquiring minds want to know! :roll:

Best Wishes,
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Sat Nov 24, 2012 06:17, edited 1 time in total.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by orf » Fri Nov 23, 2012 15:57

no cure brine this time. turkey didn't thaw in time and things went south from there.it's all good though thanks for the info .orf...
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Nov 23, 2012 17:01

When the bird has thawed enough to remove the giblet package and the neck it can go into the brine and supply its own ice for a while.
Ross- tightwad home cook
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