Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

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Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:58 pm

It's BRINE TIME for Mr. Turkey.

I went a little over the top this year and got a 17.46 lb free-range bird from a local butcher shop (there are still a few left). I think one of the biggest advantages to this bird is that it is 100% fresh so there is no defrosting and no accumulated ice that often shows up in even "fresh" birds from the supermarket.

The next step: BRINE. I am using a recipe that is a modification of some other recipes I've seen floating around:

Main active Ingredients:
3 gallons of water (as you'll see below, some of this water can come from ice cubes)
3 cups of salt
2.5 cups of brown sugar (I used dark but I don't think it matters that much)

Fun extra ingredients:
1.5 tablespoons of black peppercorns (whole)
1.0 tablespoon of Allspice berries (whole)
3-5 Bay Leaves (mine are dried so there are smaller than fresh bay leaves)
3 Lemons

Instructions:
1. Get water into a large pot. I have a big 2Gallon pot and I ended up prepping the brine in 2 stages, so be prepared to break up the recipe. I highly recommend leaving a generous gap at the top of the pot for tossing in ice later.

2. Heat water over medium to high heat. (Boiling is not the goal here, but heating the water is useful for dissolving)

3. Dissolve the salt at a rate of 1 cup / gallon and the sugar at a rate of ~0.75 cups / gallon (2.5 cups is technically 0.8333/gallon).

4. Add in black pepper corns, allspice berries, and Bay leaves to hot water.

5. Let the water steep almost like you are making tea, but don't let the water boil. Stir until the salt & sugar are dissolved or mostly dissolved.

6. Remove the pot from the heat and add in ice cubes to accelerate the cooling process, you never want to put hot brine on Turkey!

7. Lemons (haven't forgotten them!): Wash the lemons first, then slice in half and squeeze the juice out into the cooled brine. Some people zest the lemon skin, but I just score the skin with a knife and then throw the lemon halves in whole to accompany the brine.

8. Make sure that turkey is cleaned and that liver/gizzards/giblets/etc. are removed from the bird.

9: Put turkey in a large, food-safe bag with the breast (white meat part) facing down since the breast is usually the part that needs brining the most.

There are overpriced "brining bags" out there, but I have found that the Ziploc XL bags do a great job and are not too expensive. I recommend opening the bag up a day before brining to air out the plastic smell, but it is still safe to use straight out of the box. (http://www.amazon.com/Ziploc-Double-Zip ... =Ziploc+XL)

As you can see from the pictures below, I put my bag in a cooler with ice packs surrounding the bag to keep the turkey at a safe temperature. While not shown in the photos posted below, I put a layer of ice over the top of the bag to 1. help keep it cold and 2. help weight down the turkey to keep it submerged.

10. Slowly pour the brine over the turkey. You really want the bird to be submerged as much as possible. Seal up the bag (no mess!) and let the bird sit overnight (I would give it a bare minimum of 12 hours, with 16 - 18 hours being better. Some people even go over 24 hours).

Picture Time!

Image

Image

TOMORROW: We do a Beer-Can Turkey Roast!
Last edited by chuckula on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:06 pm

I'm getting ready to throw my turkey on to my smoker at 2am. And then get up ever hour to baste it, check water, add wood. Brining started at 1pm. My brine is fairly similar, but instead of brown sugar, I use a cup of maple syrup and instead of whole lemons, I just zest one and then a whole onion sliced with 6 cloves of garlic (slightly crushed). Pics will be coming when done.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:16 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I'm getting ready to throw my turkey on to my smoker at 2am. And then get up ever hour to baste it, check water, add wood. Brining started at 1pm. My brine is fairly similar, but instead of brown sugar, I use a cup of maple syrup and instead of whole lemons, I just zest one and then a whole onion sliced with 6 cloves of garlic (slightly crushed). Pics will be coming when done.



Sweet! I have a low-end smoker that I have used for smoking a turkey-breast with some good results. A brined & smoked turkey will be awesome for Thanksgiving... you are a trooper for pulling the all-nighter to get it going.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:29 pm

Man. I dont' have the dedication to get up eveyr hour to baste a dang bird. I'll buy a ham and we bought some Tennessee Honey and Hornitos tequila. Add some green beans and yams and salad and that's T-day here.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:04 am

First baste done..... 11 to go.

And yeah, its a lot of work, but quite possibly the best tasting thing that comes out of my smoker. And I love brisket and ribs like crazy. The other side of it is just how much people enjoy it. And there is nothing better than making gravy with smoked turkey drippings.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:22 am

TheEmrys wrote:First baste done..... 11 to go.

And yeah, its a lot of work, but quite possibly the best tasting thing that comes out of my smoker. And I love brisket and ribs like crazy. The other side of it is just how much people enjoy it. And there is nothing better than making gravy with smoked turkey drippings.



smoked turkey dripping gravy... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msQPHxTUgzI
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:02 pm

OK, the bird is still in the brine and I'm making the initial preparations to get the turkey roasted. I do "beer can" turkey, but without the actual can since even a 40 of Schlitz is a little small for a 17 lb turkey :P

Instead, I found a ceramic base that is great for holding the Turkey stable during cooking:
Image

Fill that "Sittin' Turkey" base up with about 20 oz of beer and other aromatics like 1/2 of a chopped onion, ginger, and cinnamon and the bird gets steamed from the inside during cooking. I have a smaller version of the same thing that I use for chicken too.


Later on you'll see the turkey after I put a rub on but here's the rub.. WITH LOVE!
Image
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:24 pm

Every year I tell her it takes 2 hours less than what The Book says. She humoured me and took one hour off the cooking time, so it's only one hour early this year.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:46 pm

Ahh... the Turkey is in the oven! w00t!

Here's a photo of the bag right after I took it out of the cooler. The bag does an excellent job of keeping everything contained:
Image

Here's the Turkey after I dropped it onto the base:
Image

And here's the Turkey after the seasoning is on:
Image
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:48 pm

its almost enough to make me want to be american... IN AMERICA
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:32 pm

Oh man... I'm just recovering from my food coma. That bird was *excellent*. I targeted a 2.5 hour cook time and it was perfectly done right on schedule.

Here's the finished product:
Image

Ignore the black bits on the outside, that is just the spice rub that I put on and the skin is in no way burnt. The meat is easily the juiciest that I have ever made in a turkey, especially the white meat that was basically perfect. SUCCESS!
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:33 pm

Here is the result of a turkey smoking for ~12 hours:

Image

Comes out moist, with some great and interesting flavors.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:43 pm

TheEmrys wrote:Here is the result of a turkey smoking for ~12 hours:

. . .

Comes out moist, with some great and interesting flavors.


That is one beautiful looking bird!
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:13 pm

Today's turkey was quite good, but last Saturday's option was truly special. Friend's wife doesn't have a lot of family left around so she likes to invite all of the local gamenight crew for a meal about a week ahead of the actual holiday. This was the main dish:

Image

Om nom nom.
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Re: Turkeypocalypse 2012!!!

Postposted on Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:15 am

oh man, those look mouth wateringly delicious...... nice job
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