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Old 11-22-2008, 06:58 PM   #21
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I usual smoke one for Thanks Giving but my nephew from Gulf Shores will bring one with him. He owns a bbq restaurant and these suckers are fine. Also bringing bbq ribs and plenty of their side items. My mother's 91st b'day on Thursday so I have a caramel cake ordered. My mouth is watering as I type.
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:43 PM   #22
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I love a turkey on the grill. I'm sure I would love a smoked one also. But for Turkey Day, DW says we need to have the gravy, insists on oven baked.

We've been brining the oven baked bird for a few years now. Experimenting a bit and getting the process simplified and adjusted to our liking. Brining is wonderful - even if you do get it over-cooked a bit, it is still moist, and not really too salty (we don't use much salt in our cooking). We have taken to brining a number of things - chicken breasts on the grill turn out moist, which is tough to do reliably w/o the brine.

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I love a turkey on the grill. I'm sure I would love a smoked one also. But for Turkey Day, DW says we need to have the gravy, insists on oven baked.

We've been brining the oven baked bird for a few years now. Experimenting a bit and getting the process simplified and adjusted to our liking. Brining is wonderful - even if you do get it over-cooked a bit, it is still moist, and not really too salty (we don't use much salt in our cooking). We have taken to brining a number of things - chicken breasts on the grill turn out moist, which is tough to do reliably w/o the brine.

-ERD50
ERD - do you have a good brining method/recipe you can share? Been thinking about trying this, but had never seen it done nor heard of it before.

Oh, BTW, smoky turkey gravy is actually pretty good as long as it is not oversmoked...then it can be nasty.

R
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:30 AM   #24
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ERD - do you have a good brining method/recipe you can share? Been thinking about trying this, but had never seen it done nor heard of it before.

Oh, BTW, smoky turkey gravy is actually pretty good as long as it is not oversmoked...then it can be nasty.

R
Here is what we have been doing, refining the technique over the past 5 years. This is a combination of the Alton Brown and Cooks Illustrated processes. Alton called for vegetable broth for the brine, which is big bucks for gallons of stuff you throw out. I wasn't convinced it made any difference, but we stuck with the spice/sugar combo and plain water and Kosher Salt. They say you can cut the salt in half and brine overnight, 10-12 hours - but since we put the bird in the oven @ 1PM, this would mean brining at 1AM the night before - rather do it in the AM.

25# bird, so 4 gallons to assure we can cover, I use a big garbage bag and set in a cooler lined with some blue ice things or frozen water bottles to take up space so the bird is covered.

5 C Kosher Salt
2 TB Peppercorns
1 TB Allspice berries
1 TB Candied Ginger
1C Brown Sugar

The night before, bring salt and spice to boil in 1 gallon water. Let cool overnight.
Add 3 Gallons iced water to turkey in double bags (13G) in cooler. Turn after 3 hours.< don't ask how much of that is ice, they didn't say, and I just do a 'good amount' - probably 3-4 trays worth? >

After brine; rinse the turkey in and out and pat dry.

4 TB butter on bird
1 cup onion, celery, carrot, some thyme in pan w 1C water; bring to boil, drain, add to Bird

425F first hour; 325F 2 hours, breast up;

Foil over breast when turned down to 325. Take foil off when meat hits 145F

165F breast; 170 thigh - rest 40 minutes.

Took about 3.5 hours to reach temperature, then 40 minute rest. That thing is still too hot to handle after 40 min!

It always comes out very moist, there is some salt in the meat, but I don't find it to be too salty at all, and I am not a big salt user - can't stand most processed foods, even the 50% less salt stuff is pushing it for me.

Here was last year's rough target schedule:

Guest to arrive 3:30; DW wants to serve 4:30 - 5:00, so turkey out at 4:00 - 4:30; Plan to get Turkey in @ 1:00.

Need to get Turkey out of Brine @ ~ 12:30; half hour to rinse, pat dry and butter. 4.5 Hour Brine, so IN Brine @ 8AM

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:32 AM   #25
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Oh, BTW, smoky turkey gravy is actually pretty good as long as it is not oversmoked...then it can be nasty.

R
We don't have a 'proper' smoker, and it seems like ash gets in the pan on the grill - DW just doesn't like the idea of charcoal ash in the gravy. Heck, I'll try just about anything once

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:40 PM   #26
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Thx ERD, we may give it a try this yr. I don't like the ash either. Our smoker with the separate firebox helps with this. Its also better to use mesquite charcoal chunks instead of the briquettes. You can still get some ash, but if you do, its not gritty like the ash from the briquettes...I think they must put some sand in them as a filler, or something.

R
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:58 PM   #27
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I tried to smoke a turkey once, it keep falling out of the cig paper.....
Yep - someone actually told that joke at dinner - 14 people including us and the neighbors - smoked turkey, ham, yams, the infamous green bean dish, mac/cheese, mashed potatos, dressing, and three others I didn't recognize - biscuits, cornbread - apple cobbler thingy, pumpkin pie, and choc/vanilla pudding/crumbly dessert of some kind.

Got a passing grade on the turkey - although I graded myself a tad to the dry side based on the white meat.

Treated ie had some fluids put in at the factory - 15.5 lbs. Ran fit check in the smoker before thawing.

8 hrs /up at 1 am - lump charcoal, apple/hickory chips soaked in water overnight for smoke, two quarts apple cider in water pan instead of beer or white wine - sale at the place I bought the turkey - 79/lb for the artificially plumped up vs $1.49/lb all natural.

The outside was brushed with Crisco and sprinkled with Hy Vee season salt - came out dark brown like a sealed skin.

No dressing - mostly open - one onion and one green apple cut in big chunks.

Kept the lid on - added charcoal/smoking chips/more cider through the sidedoor as needed(three times).

Used 30 min/lb - at 16 lbs - the red button had popped and a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh pronounced it done.

So now my neighbor wants to get back to smoking again - his old smoker wore out.

I took that as a yes vote.

heh heh heh - .
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Old 11-28-2008, 02:14 AM   #28
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+1 on the brine. I think it makes the meat nice and moist so you don't have to be paranoid about over cooking.

I generally buy fresh turkeys from Costco. They are bit more expensive than frozen, and allegedly are better. Anybody know if that is true?

The turkey at my mom's house was organic at cost $3.59/lb, both she and I think that is crazy expensive, she said it tasted slightly different than regular turkey but not a big difference.

The big thing in Hawaii is Emu cooked turkey (The same method they use for cooking pigs for Luaus.) never tried one maybe next year.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:04 AM   #29
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I generally buy fresh turkeys from Costco. They are bit more expensive than frozen, and allegedly are better. Anybody know if that is true?
I have heard Alton Brown and others comment, and it seems you need to read between the lines a bit on this. I got the impression from them that a fresh bird, if handled properly (and you can never know that unless you see it every step of the way) may be better, but frozen is very good and much less subject to damage in handling once frozen.

DW goes to the butcher to get fresh, because we picked up the tradition when her folks couldn't handle it any more, and they got fresh. And so it goes. I doubt I could tell a difference, but at least we don't have to worry about getting it defrosted, we pick it up on Wed and keep it in a cooler until brine time (and brine in that cooler in a bag).

We get so busy getting dinner on the table, I feel like I never really fully appreciate the turkey until relaxed leftovers. But it was moist, no question about that.

-ERD50
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:21 PM   #30
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I got our turkey at the local safeway. They had 3 different brands of frozen, all of which upon close inspection had some sort of salt added. I opted for the generic safeway fresh which claimed to be minimally processed, and had no added salt. Brined and smoked, came out great. I'm not sure if its always the case that frozen == salt added, but I would certainly look closely at the label. NB: Salt added frozen are actually not bad, you just don't want to brine them and add more salt. e.g. in a pinch a defrosted butterball is not a bad plan B if you don't have the time to brine your own.
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