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Unread 08-18-2005, 12:45 AM   #8
JamesB
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We do a lot ot turkeys around the holidays.. Between last Thanksgiving and Christmas, I think we smoked up about 30 of them...

Here is the simple low down on how I do them...

Turkey is the only meat or poultry product that I prefer to buy already 'enhanced'. I like to use those Butterballs or similar in the 12lb or so range... The smaller size helps for a quicker cook and more even doneness and the 'enhancements' done by the turkey factory helps to retain moisture just as brining or injecting does.. You could brine them yourself, and I have with great results, but when cooking in quantity, I just don't have the space to do so. If you decide to inject your bird, do so at least the night before you put it on the pit... This allows time for the injection fliud to migrate into the meat instead of puddling at the injection point...

My favorite wood for turkey (or anything really) is pecan. I run the offset at a much higher temp than for normal BBQ (275 - 300) for turks, so I can't really recommend this method for combined cooks, but you could always put the turkey on after the briskets etc... come off and you can then ratchet up the heat in the pit...

Now, all I do to the birds is take 'em out of the fridge, ice chest or whatever, remove the wrapping and that little pop up thermo and stick a hand up it's butt and remove the neck and inards etc... I then give 'em a rinse under cold water.. Rub 'em down with a bit of olive or veggie oil. You can apply a rub if your so inclined but I think it makes for a dirty looking bird... Then I put them on the pit breast side up...

I don't like the skin to turn too dark so I usually will cover them with a piece of vinegar soaked cheese cloth, You won't taste the vinegar on the birds, it just helps to keep the cloth from sticking.... Remove the cloth about an hour to an hour and a half into the cook to let the skin begin to brown.

At the higher temps, the bird will cook faster, it will still have incredible smoke taste and the skin will be edible, but still not 'oven crispy'... Also, I'm very cautious about cooking poultry, so the higher temps also mean that the bird will be in the danger zone (40 - 140) for less time...

The turk should be good to go after about 3 - 4 hours (these 'enhanced' birds seem to cook faster). You'll know that the bird is ready when you can 'shake hands' with the turk... That is, if you grab a leg and it is loose in the joint... The first time you try this you'll realize what I mean... other wise, take it up to about 180 degrees in the thigh and about 170 in the breast.

Sorry for being long winded, but I ain't had one turn out bad yet using this method... If your can't get or don't want to use a factory enhanced bird, then deff. brine or inject.

Here is a pretty good brine/injection recipe...
Shake's Honey Brine
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1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
2 TBSP Morton Tender Quick
1 cup honey
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp pickling spice
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat to 160*F. Temperatures above 160*F will harm the flavor of the honey. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Makes about 1 gallon of brining solution.

Here be a pic of one birdy...

Now, don't get me going about frying these things...

James.
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