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Thank SmokinOakie for the reply, as I stated I stuck with the Holiday brine recipe without deviating from it, so I dont think that there is any spoilers in the brine., However after reading all of the post's. ( The cooler Idea is Great) I think I will throw a bag of ice in a cooler and leave the brine next to it. It may not be necessary, but better safe than sorry, Thanks again for the reply.
PS I dont plan on smoking this bird until friday morning
I have never had any luck brining Butterballs. I can get the smoke, but can't tell there was any flavor imparted from the brine. It seemed to me like the butter/oil content kept the brine flavors from getting to the meat (oil and water don't mix maybe). After trying twice, I gave up and just go with whats cheap. Get the flavor from the brine, and save money.

If there's a secret, let me know. I might find Butterballs on sale sometime.
Question for SmokinOkie,
Should the skin be separated (just separating-not removing) from bird before brining or after brining when rub is applied?
Some folks say brine does not penetrate poultry skin well.
Also, according to "about us" tab, butterball is a breed of turkey and not one that has been injected with butter or other solution, although I imagine Butterball brand does inject some of their birds as other processors sometimes also do - check the label. I have brined a "plain" Butterball (36hrs), then smoked and had great results.
Last edited by olysmokes
Ask Mr. Turkey

Feel like the BB hot line, but happy to help, that's why I keep an eye on the forum, lots of questions Big Grin

I haven't seen an impact during brining, as a lot of the brine comes from underneath. And not sure why someone says "brine" doesn't penetrate the skin. I've not heard/seen proof of that. Maybe that's one reason I don't have that issue, I brine for 48 hours.

If, like I do, you know you're going to separate the skin and put something under when cooking, feel free.

As, I've seen BB's with no solution, 7% solution and 15% solution. Like you said, check the label.
MR Turkey - From your comments at start of this thread, I thought you wanted us to ask questions here ?!?!?....LOL
Smokin', Thanks for the reply! My wife bought a package brine for the oven turkey which said to cut 3" slits in skin (only) beneath the thickest part of breast since "brine will not penetrate skin".
I'm using your holiday brine for the smoker turkey - thanks for that recipe. I think it is a better one (with a few tweaks of my own....).
I did a practice turkey a couple days ago, was the best turkey I've ever had. Used Okie's brine for 36 hrs on a 11# bird. Covered the bird with a EVOO soaked cheese cloth, a couple orange halves in the cavity. About 2 oz of hickory, set the 008 at 250 and took out when breast was at 170, 4 hours later. Brining one right now, will put in tomorrow at 0700, should be done at 1100, Will wrap in foil, towel and cooler for dinner at 1200. Later>>
Nothing to do with brining, but I remove the wishbone before I put it on the smoker which makes carving the breast easier. I also lop of the leg nubs or whatever you want to call them about 1/2 inch inside where the skin meets the leg bone. As the meat cooks and contracts down the leg bone, it exposes all them little cartilages that run through the leg meat. You can then pull them out with a pair of tweezers.

That last part might be considered by some to detract from presentation, but I've always been more concerned with ease of carving and eating.

Just don't try and take off the end of a finger with the cleaver like I did last year. Still numb, but I do have it all.

Alcohol may have been involve.
I bought a fresh no hormone bird and brined it starting monday afternoon wednesday afternoon after work I fired up my stumps and cooked it ater 90 minutes I tented it with some heavy duty tin foil will try cheese clothes next time ..I cut it up this morning and it tastes fantastic ..I never brined this long before usually overnight and cooked it the next afternoon...great tip...........gregg
Ready to pull the bird out, pack in cooler and head to inlaws. 18lb fresh turkey, brined 45 hrs, smoked at 250 for 5.5 hrs to get to 169* in thigh and breast. Will crisp skin in a couple
hours at the inlaws. I've got pictures and will try to post this weekend.
Thanx to ya'lls comments and suggestions this has been way to easy and fun.
I took my turkey out of the "Holiday Brine" this morning after 27 hrs. while I was seperating the skin, both the skin and the meat felt hard and rubbery, the skin had a sort of ashen look and the meat was a reddish purple color
This all may be perfectly ok, but was a bit concerned about the color and the texture of the raw bird. I seasoned the bird , covered with buttered cheesecloth and it went into the smoker. since I wont see it for a few hours. I thought that someone could alleviated my fears
about it. Luckily for me, even though it is Thanksgiving day this turkey IS NOT the main meal bird , so even if I am in trouble here it wont affect dinner today.
best to all
Hard and rubbery? No, haven't had that.

Color, can have a slight tinge from the brine, so I wouldn't worry about color. It won't be pure white, but inside it should look normal.

Was this a fresh or frozen bird, what brand, what it already injected, did the brine stay below 40?

How did it come out?
The turkey was a 13 pound Frozen /defrosted bird. I brined it for 27 hours using the Holiday Brine ( including the tenderquick, which will be ommitted next time), I dont know if the bird was injected,( until reading other posts I didnt know to look for that) but I will go back to the store and check the label on the other birds.
I dont know the Brand of the bird but it was a cheap loss leader bird for the market
It was in the refrigerator and stayed well below the 40 degree mark for the entire time
I used the buttered cheese cloth on top, which netted good color results.
I smoked the the bird for 5 1/2 hours at 250
in a CS55. The results? It was edible, but not wonderful, I discarded the skin entirely ( Even if the skin was perfect the Mrs. wont let me eat that part) the breast was very hard and compacted and even a little difficult to slice with an electric knife through the first 1/4 inch, however the inside was moist tender and snow white in color. the breast was slightly a little too salty, and I didnt get the Holiday brine flavors that I have had in the past, it was mostly just a salty taste ( bird may have been injected I will check and report back)
The dark meat ( thighs and legs) was not as salty, and was tender enough with the right colors, but again it lacked the Holiday brine flavors, it was kinda like a unbrined roasted turkey.
Two possible mistakes on my part
#1 It may have been an injected bird and I didnt know it, ( I will check on that and the brand)

#2 when I made up the brine I was using an older metal pan made from aluminum and not Stainless steel. I was concerned that the salt may have reacted with the pan while I was bringing the water/ salt and sugars to a boil and it may have tainted the brine from the get Go
I am not sure that this was a factor or how important this is, but I am trying to give you ALL the information that I can.

#3 It is not easy to admit on THIS board that somthing did't turn out wonderful. There are so many talented BBQ'ers here, and so many success stories, it difficult to swallow your pride and admit that somthing went wrong. It would be so easy to say NOTHING and nobody would know. It is my hope that others may benifit from whatever mistakes I made.
Best wishes to all
Last edited by hypnochuck
I was satisfied with this years results. I forgot to make my brine ahead of time so it was 10:30 Tuesday night before the brine was cooled to where I could put the turkey in. I took it out at 10:30 Thursday morning, so it was in the brine about 36 hours. It was a 13.76 lb Country Pride from Walmart.

I pretty much used Smokin's brine, but I couldn't reach the white sugar on the top shelf so I substituted Turbinado, and I used a teaspoon of garlic powder instead of the chopped garlic which I had forgotten. I did use the Tender Quick since I din't know if we would all be able to all eat at the same time, and it might have to sit out a little while.

I put about ten sprigs of fresh sage and the same of rosemary in the neck and chest cavity along with a stalk of celery, half an onion, half an orange, and half an apple, all chunked.

Patted the skin with a paper towel to make sure it was good and dry and sprayed with Crisco butter flavored spray because that's what I happened to have handy. In the FE at 11:15 with the FE set at 180 using a 50/50 blend of oak and pecan. I ran to the store to pick up the other things I thougth I had, but didn't (chopped garlic).

I got back at 12:30 and kicked the temp control up to 275. The smoker ran a consistent 270-280 according to the digital display on the smoker. I was using a digital probe, but only used it as a guestimate. I sprayed with the Crisco again about 4:30. The breast Thermapened at 162 at 6:10, and I pulled it and into the Cateraide. I had forgotten to turn the bird breastside down for the last hour or so of the smoke, so I did so after I pulled it to let it rest.

At 7:10 I had all the sides ready, so I pulled the turkey to slice. The skin was crisp and nut brown, but I don't eat it anyway.

I had nubbed off the legs right where the meat joins the bone to let the meat contract down the leg bone and expose the cartilage. I took large tweezers and pulled all the cartilage out of the legs. My grandson loves the legs, and that made it easier eating for him. The breast was moist enough to see the juice puddle a little when you pressed on a breast slice.

I had also smoked an 8.5 lb John Morrell bone-in ham that I didn't do anything to except remove the rind. Now I'm getting ready to go to Whataburger and get lunch, because it's all gone. I guess that means it was all at least good enough to eat.

I'm sure it was something in the process or the bird, but brining does do that nor the TQ. Could be the temp was off also. Out of years of that brine, haven't heard one negative report. Brining an already enhance bird won't cause what happened, at most, it might be too salty, but not hard like that.

What temp did you pull it at? How did you measure it?
I cooked my first turkey using Smokin Okie 101 and it was the best I have cooked. It was the first in my FEC but it came out great. I was geeting ready for Thanksgiving but spent that in the hospital so I will try again Christmas. I wanted to add that I found cheescloth at Target and I also sprayed it with spary butter during the cook.
Just ordered my new smokette 009, CAN NOT WAIT! Been smokin on a electric brinkman for two years, i am sure the differance will be substancial. So far i have done four brined turkeys and i think the real keys for me have been 1. As everyone says fresh birds 2. brine for 24 to 48 hours. 3. this is my secret, wash the bird good, then soak with clean (cold) boiled water for another twelve hours. It leaches out the heavy brine that is close to the surface while letting the infused brine even deeper without being too salty. 4. ftc works with birds, when i pulled the turkey off the smoker this year there was about three quarters of an inch of juice inside. I was very careful not to disturb, wraped in foil and towell and placed in a cooler i reserve for my butts. an hour later the temp was up a couple of degrees and every bit of the juice was backin the bird
I did a 12 lb. turkey my cookshack last year and it turned out fantasic (basic brine, just salt and pepper for a rub). My question is, this year I'm moving up to a 15 pound bird because of guests. Smokinokie, you mentioned a possible saftey issue with this. Would I be better cooking it on my Weber grill, at about 325? I've done a turkey on the grill before, but prefer the ease of the cookshack (although my wife likes the crispy skin on the grill)
Originally posted by buckeyebbq:
...Smokinokie, you mentioned a possible saftey issue with this. Would I be better cooking it on my Weber grill, at about 325? ..

I tell people that because the Food Safety Police seem to tell us every year never smoke anything bigger than 12 lbs.

So in case someone gets Food Poisoining, I don't want them blaming me

That's the "official" answer.

The best answer is if you practice food safety, keep the meat cold before you smoke it and it gets to the food safe temp, you'll be fine.

NEVER smoke the dressing in the cavity, it just isn't good. Smoke it outside in a pan so it can get some smoke if you want it.

It's a little bit of a pain, but I'd just smoke it at 225 for a couple of hours, then finish on the grill to get that skin you want, if the smoke can't get you the results you want.

(1) When do you put the rub on? Right after the brine? Is it more difficult to get the rub under the skin if everything is still moist right after the brining or does that make it easier to separate the skin? Is it better to wait 12 hours?

(2) You mention flipping the turkey breast side down approximately half way through the cook. Does the cheesecloth stay over the breast (so under the turkey) or do you always leave it on whatever part of the turkey is facing up?

(3) What do you use for baste? Do you baste it through the cheesecloth?

Originally posted by umyaya:

(1) When do you put the rub on? Right after the brine? Is it more difficult to get the rub under the skin if everything is still moist right after the brining or does that make it easier to separate the skin? Is it better to wait 12 hours?

I take it out and put the rub underneath first, then on the outside. Some people like to air dry the skin, but no need to if you're putting butter under/over the skin.


(2) You mention flipping the turkey breast side down approximately half way through the cook. Does the cheesecloth stay over the breast (so under the turkey) or do you always leave it on whatever part of the turkey is facing up?

I go back and forth on flipping. Any more, I just cook it up. I don't put the cheesecloth on until about 2 hours into the cooks (to let more smoke penetrate). I soak it in butter then put it on top.


(3) What do you use for baste? Do you baste it through the cheesecloth?
More butter, warm, just right on top.
Originally posted by Mattmilw:
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.


I started brining my oven roasted turkey about 2 years ago. It makes a big difference the turkey can benefit from the brining as it helps retain moisture. I typically brine for about 12 hrs then air dry the turkey in the fridge for 24 hours this provides a crisper skin.
For me, 12 hours isn't enough for a turkey, minimum 24, 36 is good, we like 48.


For basting, because I've brined, you don't need to baste much.

In a 4 hour turkey, I'll baste at 2 hours, at the CC at 3 and check it at 4 for temp. In the old day basting was to keep it moist, because I brine and put butter under the skin, I'm not worried about that. I baste for looks and crisp the skin
Hi, SmokinOkie...

First, I still owe you Chimay! Wasn't kidding about that; we make about the best smoked chicken in the world and you helped us get there! Write me at TexiforniaTamale at gmail dot com and we'll work out getting you your very-much-due.

A note: thank you for bumping the thread, but the links for the 101's don't seem to be working. Are there new links (it said you were updating them)?

Thank you,

Thanks, Okie! Between the tips in the 101's and information found both here and elsewhere, we're ready (we think)!

Both our Chef and we are going to smoke heritage birds. Should be dynamite! We'll do our best to remember to take some pics, and maybe we can add a little something to the future discussion of heritage birds (at least what worked or didn't).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

They're going different places, so we were planning on doing them the same way for the two different families.

That said, we're absolutely brining (how else?), and we'll take detailed notes and photos along the way. We're really excited... I've wanted to try one for several years, but never wanted to pony up the premium. Went ahead and took that leap this year and will report back to you!
I smoked an 18 pd. bird following the 101. I brined for 24 hours and rubbed the bird with the rub in the 101 an hour before putting the bird in my SM025. It turned out great! The plan was to use the meat for sandwiches.

I started with a 275 degree preheated unit. My smoker never got back to 275 after the initial preheat. I did open the smoker every hour for basting and using the cheese cloth. I don't think this was that big of deal it was in the 260's pretty quickly after I shut the door.

The skin although beautiful just wasn't edible. Not a major disapointment, just a challenge in the future. Some parts of the skin was edible like underneath and the outer parts of the wings. So next time I will flip the bird mid way through the smoke to see what happens to the skin.

Do you use butter or margerine on the cheescloth?

When the breast reached 160 the thighs were at 170. I decided to let it continue 5 more degrees, pull and rest for 30 minutes. This was perfect as the bird was completly done with no pink. Everything was moist and tasty.

My skin pulled back from a small tear during rubbing underneath. I will be more careful next time but a lesson was learned. The exposed breast was still just as good as the covered breast. This leads me to believe that the bird could be smoked skinless. The combination of the brine, basting, and cheese cloth probably is what saved this meat.

Thanks for the 101! It was so easy to follow.

Last edited by padrefan98
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