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Smokin' Okie thanx for your work in putting together the 101 recipes. Best advice you could get anywhere. I want to take a smoked turkey to the my inlaws for Thanksgiving (recieved my 009 3 weeks ago) and after reading Turkey 101 many times I took the advice offered and decided to try one out before treating the inlaws. I followed all of the info I could find on this forum about smoking a turkey and did one this weekend and my wife (a chef) said it's the best she's ever tasted. Using the recipe in Turkey 101 I brined a 12lb bird for 40 hours and smoked a little over 4 hours followed by 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven to crisp the skin and I will be doing exactly the same recipe for the inlaws in a few weeks.
This forum rocks!!
Mile High:

Did I read right. . . brined for 40 hours? Was this after first thawing the bird refrigerated for 2-3 days? Or did you use a fresh bird? I wonder if one could cut the brining to 12-24 hours without affecting the outcome much? Otherwise, this project almost takes a week.

Dr D
Thousand Oakie - Thanks for cooler with ice tip - that would free-up lots of refrigerator space!
I brine my birds in plastic bag put in a large pan/bowl (in case bag leaks) placed in refrigerator to keep temp below 40*. Yes it takes a bit of refrig planning, but you need to keep the bird cold somewhere anyways until smoking. The first time I only brined bird for 9+ hrs due to poor planning and it was just so-so, but now I do for 36 hrs and think it is great.
I use SmokingOkie's brine recipe except delete the All-Spice & course pepper, and instead add some Cookshack Spicy Chicken Rub to brine mixture. It disolves quick & easy and I don't have all that left-over pepper hiding in/on/around the turkey.
ok here goes nothing I am trying this from the turkey 101

"Don't question, just try this. Buy a medium sized bird, fresh, about 10 to 12 pounds. Follow the directions below for brining. Brine for 48 hours (keep it in the fridge to keep it cold). Take it out, put your favorite rub underneath the skin, inject if you want, rub the skin with butter (or oil). Place in a hot smoker, at least 250 degrees. About 2 hours into the smoke, rub more butter (or oil) on skin. Smoke until a temperature probe inserted in the breast registers 160 and the thigh registers 175 or so. It will be done in as little as 3 hours, or up to 5.""

One question Okie Do you use cheese cloth on this or just butter the skin ?

I will give you a report step by step

12.86 lbs turkey Was just put in the Brine ( Okie holiday brine ) and put in the frig
Originally posted by boznad:
One question Okie Do you use cheese cloth on this or just butter the skin ?

I will give you a report step by step

Not to sound too confident, but I'm sure you'll like it Big Grin

The cheese cloth is primarily there to give you a better looking turkey, sometimes with straight smoking you get a very dark bird.

I soak it in melted butter and put it on. Take it off towards the end (but you don't HAVE to) as I don't like to let the cloth stay on there so long it cements to the skin and it pulls the skin off when you finish it. Sometimes I'll just 'move' the cloth a little to keep it from sticking, but I just like playing with my food.
I am going to do 2 turkeys on Thanksgiving. One will be smoked in my CS and the other done on a Weber Kettle. I plan on brining the one to be smoked, and I'm considering brining the one on the Weber. I'm wondering if the grilled turkey will benefit from the brining, and if so, should it spend the same amount of time (48 hours) in the brine.

I appreciate your thoughts.

stupid question and first post- how do you get the breast at one temp and the dark meat at a higher temp? on the same bird that is still in the smoker?
2nd question- why only 12 lb turkey. I have one in now-model 55- and it would hold a much larger bird.
for thanksgiving going to do smokin's brine and directions. this is my practice turkey now cooking, wife got involved and I had to use a william sonoma brine. love my cookshack so far after about 6 wks.
see tukey 101 down in hints and tips

Pretty common and the main reason I brine mine. Because the turkey has both white and dark meats, it's very hard to get one done without affecting the other. Dark is done at 175, white is done at 160. See the issue? Brining helps the white meat from being over dry, while smoking until the dark meat hits 175. This is also a good reason for keeping the thighs down and the breast up.

Drying occurs because the two kinds of meat, white & dark are actually done at different times. They also contain different levels of moisture and fat. White meat will be done at 160 and Dark will be done at 175. An added bonus is leftovers
Originally posted by Mattmilw:
I'm wondering if the grilled turkey will benefit from the brining, and if so, should it spend the same amount of time (48 hours) in the brine.

ANY turkey will benefit. Grilled, Oven, whatever method. The method doesn't change the duration of brining. The size of the meat determines that. Large cuts = long time; Smaller cuts = shorter time
I brine turkey for all types of cooking, smoking
oven and frying. We prefer just the bone in breast vs the whole bird. I purchased a couple of 5 gal. buckets at the hardware store which fits nicely on the bottom of the refrige. I put the breast in turkey cooking bags and cover them
with brine for 12 to 16 hours. Always cook up moist with good penetration of the brine and the mess is kept to a minimum.
SmokinOkie,or other expert,
I tried my first turkey last weekend. It was good but I thought it was a bit salty. I've never Brined any thing before and to the best of my knowlege haven't eaten anything brined before. I read Turkey and Brine 101. I followed the Holiday Brine recipe. The salt/sugar to water ratio was correct but I did forget the cider vinegar. What should I do to reduce the Saltiness of the bird?
The specifics:
Cookshack Smoker SM009, 2 years using it this X-mas. 12.4 lb. cheap grocery store bird, SmokinOkie Holiday Brine, ONLY 40 Hrs. of Brine time in the refrigerator. Smoked for 4 1/2 hours on 250 until breast temp. was 165. Two chunks of Cherry wood.
The Turkey was tasty and moist. Just a bit too salty for my taste.
I'm no expert.

Try brining less time. Maybe 30 hours instead of 40. You can also reduce the salt a tad. The breast only has to be 160*, but the thigh must be 170* and the juices must run clear when you pierce the thigh. Someone said 175* for the thigh, but the new guidelines are 170*, pretty sure.

Experimenting is great. Have fun and take good notes.

I quit brining two years ago as i found that a Butterball brand turkey didn't really need it. BTW there was nothing wrong with the brine, i was saving time and space in my second fridge as i usually smoke 4-5 turkeys during thanksgiving and christmas.

I use a 12-14 lb bird and smoke it at 225 with the breast side down for 2 hours with two chunks of hickory. Then i pull the bird and put it in an aluminum heavy duty pan breast side down and and foil it. Back in the smoker for about 1 1/2 to two hours to finish.

White meat is usually 165 and the dark about 170 or so. I highy recommend breast side down as most juices in the backbone seap down and stay in the breast.

Also i let the turkey cool down and put it in the fridge till the next day as the smoke seems to intensify with a day of refrigeration. Think good chili or spagetti sauce.

Reheat at 350 in regular oven for about an hour or until your temp probe reads 165-175
Originally posted by chistoso:
.. cheap grocery store bird, ...

I will bet that the cheap bird had "solution added". What that means is the company injected the bird with a brine solution at the plant. Read the label close.

Basically, the cheaper the bird, the most the solution Big Grin

Already solution added aren't good candidates for brining. While you can try, what you don't know is % salt in their solution.

If a regular brine in a non-solution bird is still to salty, cut the salt in the brine, but I wouldn't go below may 3/4 cup of salt. 1/2 cup isn't enough.
In most stores, they have multiple brands. Look for a brand with no solution. Look closely, but I've always been able to find them. Don't worry about fresh, frozen, etc, etc, that only matters when you need to brine them (don't brine a frozen bird).

I wouldn't cut the brine time, just the amount of salt. A big bird needs a lot of time. Less time doesn't mean it will work less salt.
While not a great admirer of Alton Brown and his "Good Eats" show I do get a kick out of him and I also get some good ideas. And yes, I did build his terra cotta flower pot smoker but that's another story.
Anyway, in all of his recipes he uses the weight of igredients instead of the volume. For instance instead of using 1 cup of, say, Kosher salt he will spcify the weight . Same for flour or anything else. This eliminates any errors in substituting table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, sifted flour, sugers, etc. A pound of salt (or any other igredient) is a pound of salt no matter what the volume is. And the volume difference can be quite a bit between kosher and table salts. Enough even to ruin a brine
I only brought this up as I noticed in some posts that readers were wondering about these exact substitutions. And, if you are using a scale to figure oounces of wood you might as well use it for ingredents too.
Always options.

Problem with "weights" is too many people don't have a scale, so it's easier to discuss salt types (kosher, vs table, etc) and come up with an approximation. I don't think the different of a 1/4 cup of salt, up or down would have a significant enough effect on the brine. Shoot I've done some with 2 cups per gallon and no one said it was too salty.

But when I update the 101's I'll look into adding weights.

Thanks for the thought.

If you're going to cook/chill, I like to under cook them a little, say in the 150's and get them chilled fast. The time to cool them off is the danger issue.

The put them back in a Hot FE to warm up and get them to your final temp. A little butter on the skin works well to glisten it up
It means don't stick a frozen bird in a brine. the variations of thawing, etc of a bird in a brine are just to varied to insure good results. Frozen is okay, just thaw before you put in a brine.

If you guys dont have your turkeys yet, it's probably too late. Take 2 to 3 days in a fridge to thaw, 2 days for brining...the clock is ticking...tick tock
Originally posted by davielad:
I have a 15 pound Butterball that has "been enhanced" up to 7% with liquids. Is it necessary to brine this bird?

Started a new thread this morning, check out "brining a self-basting bird".

It's not "necessary".

Tom doesn't do Butterballs, other do.

So basically, I'd say you can if you want, it will improve it. See the other thread for more details.
I have a question about the Holiday Brining solution.
I made up the brine and BEFORE I put the turkey in it, somthing came up and I have to delay the turkey smoking. The bird is back in the fridge, but what about the Unused "NEW" Brine. Space in the fridge is the problem here. Does the brine have to be refrigerated?? How long can the turkey be in the brine before it is TOO long? I know that 24 to 48 hours is Ok but is there a max time ( I am using the Holiday brine without deviations) I guess my main question is: Do I have to refrigerate the unused brine, or can it sit at room temp for a day before I use it?? My Brine DOES contain "TenderQuick" But I dont know if that is of any signifigance
No you don't need to refrigerate the brine. Unless there is something you added that will "spoil" most (not all) brines will be fine at room temp.

It's Tuesday, if you put it in tonight, it will be less than 48 hours if you cook it Thursday, so just put it all together tonight.

And I've proposed for years to just omit the TQ. But you're okay to use it too.
As I said before,I'm not scientific,just lazy and content Smiler with what my experience has brought me in cooking 1/2 dozen gobblers each year.

Here is a thought from America's Test Kitchen,of Cooks' Magazine,again this year.

When asked what to buy/spend.

Pecking Order
So what should you buy? It's hard to go wrong with the frozen kosher bird from Aaron's Best. It's moist, flavorful, and ready to cook, since no brining is needed. The prebasted birds from Butterball and Jennie-O finished a notch below our top choices, but they are consistent and also don't require brining. Although unremarkable, the frozen prebasted birds are certainly acceptable.
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