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Unread 04-04-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
Saiko
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Default The honey smoked turkey breast project: Pron inside

I was at the grocery store with the wifey, and wondered aloud if it would just be better to smoke my own turkey breasts and freeze the meat for sammiches instead of buying the usual crap. So Operation HSTBS (Honey Smoked Turkey Breast for Sammiches) was hatched. I've only smoked whole turkeys on my stick burner, so this will all be new for me on the WSM.


Mission: Turn these two dry, frozen hunks of turkey breasts that have probably been sitting in the freezer section for six months into moist, sweet, smokey turkey meat.




The Brine: I usually go with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup kosher salt per gallon for whole turkeys. For this mission I decided to drop the salt to 3/4 cup kosher salt, and use 1 cup of honey instead of brown sugar per gallon. I have never used honey in a brine, and luckily I googled a bit and discovered that you aren't supposed to heat honey over 160 degrees or it breaks down. I only heated my starter water to 150 degrees, then added the salt and honey (on a side note, honey is sold by weight, not by volume, so you need to buy 24 oz of honey for 2 cups, not 16 oz). Added this to the rest of the water for a total of 2 gallons and stored it in the fridge to bring the temp down before I added the breasts later that night. I didn't add any other flavorings because like most crap frozen turkeys, this has been injected with more crap, and I don't know how it will interact with any more flavorings.




The Soak: Removed the skin from the breasts and added the breasts to the brine the night before the smoke. I'm not going to bother raising the heat for a crispy skin during the smoke, so I just removed the skin to take it out of the equation. I'm going for sammich meat here. Total soak time around 12 hours.




The Rub: Used my every day rub that I put on pretty much anything. I call this my "Kitchen Sink" rub because it has everything in it. It's a slight deviation from Paul Kirk's "Master Class BBQ Rub": 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup seasoned salt, 1/4 cup garlic salt, 1/4 cup celery salt, 1/4 cup onion salt, 1/2 cup paprika, 1/4 cup chili powder, 2 TBSP black pepper, 1 TBSP lemon pepper, 2 tsp rubbed sage, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp cayenne. I mix it all in a gallon freezer bag and store it in the freezer when not in use. Brushed the breasts with a little EVOO before applying the rub.




The WSM Fuel: Using Publix Greenwise lump charcoal for fuel, and Texas Smoke apple chunks for smoke. Publix is a grocery brand based out of Florida so you mainly see them in the Southeast. I've used their lump charcoal once before and it runs a little hot, but is clean. Using standard Minion method. The heavy white smoke was replaced by perty blue smoke soon after everything was loaded up and locked down.




My Fuel: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Ale, 12 ounces of pure 9.6% alcohol goodness!



Perty blue smoke. Kept temps around 240 to 250 on the top grate since the bottom grate runs a little cooler.




About 90 min in, internal temp around 130. Spritzed with a little EVOO. Next time I know when I do two breasts is that I should offset them a bit on the grate. The top turkey is dripping on the bottom turkey and smearing the rub. Maverick Redi-check wireless temperature monitor in use on top grate and in the breast.





Pulled at 160 degrees and resting for 30 minutes.




The final bounty. Wifey keeps grabbing bites every time she walks by, so I know she likes it. I can taste the sweetness from the honey, plus the salt from the brine. Nice smokey flavor. Better than anything I've bought at the store.




Bonus shot number 1: Azaleas are in bloom in the backyard, must be time for the Masters golf
tournament soon!




Bonus shot number 2: More azaleas.



OK I'm done, I swear.
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Last edited by Saiko; 04-04-2009 at 06:29 PM..
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Unread 04-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #2
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You can have some awsome sammies while watching the Masters!!
Nice.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
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Very nice post, the turkey looks great, I'd like to have a sammie from that!, I love Azeleas, right now in Northern Florida it is a sea of color from them! Nice Pictures!
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Unread 04-04-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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Those look great! I may have to pick one up tonight and do the same thing tomorrow. A man's got to have lunch.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 04:14 PM   #5
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Man that looks great. i just bought two at $1.29 per pound. as soon as i saw those azaleas i thought its almost Masters time. we used to live in south carolina and was always my favorite time of the year.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 04:34 PM   #6
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Glad you'r back, great pron and descriptions!
O yea, two pairs of great looking boooobs! I am starving here now!
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Unread 04-04-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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That looks magnificent. I like the dry rub directly on the meat, I'm not a turkey skin eater either. I'm jealous of that backyard shot. It's been snowing for two days here. I have about 6" of fresh stuff on the ground and more to come tomorrow.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
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Say, you better get in this weeks "dry rubbed ____" throwdown.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 06:22 PM   #9
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That looks like it is going to be some nice sammies. Thanks for sharing.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 07:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for the post. Those are not only very nice, they are inspirational. I'm gonna look for some breasts for my WSM in the near future.
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Unread 04-04-2009, 07:29 PM   #11
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Couple of nice looking breasts ya got there.......


Some whole wheat bread,a little Miracle Whip and a slice of some good cheese and it's golden
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Unread 04-04-2009, 07:43 PM   #12
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Next year I am sticking up on turkey boobs. Your boobs look wonderful!
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Unread 04-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #13
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Mark, you have hit on one of my specialties.

Next to the pork loin, the whole turkey breast is my go to meat!!

Have you seen the Food TV methods of cutting the breast off whole (slice along the cage, then the ends) and then slice crosswise into 1" chunks?

This method works GREAT, and if you are freezing, you don't slice into chunks, you have whole "halves" in the cryosuck.

Looking good
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Unread 04-04-2009, 09:13 PM   #14
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Wow!
I can't let my Wife see this!
She is queer for Turkey.
The Bird looks great as does your backyard. Very nice looking.

I 'm drawn to the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. That is wonderful.

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Unread 04-04-2009, 09:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willkat98 View Post
Mark, you have hit on one of my specialties.
Next to the pork loin, the whole turkey breast is my go to meat!!

Have you seen the Food TV methods of cutting the breast off whole (slice along the cage, then the ends) and then slice crosswise into 1" chunks?
Looking good
Yeah, I cut the breast-halves off whole and sliced them crosswise instead of lengthwise. I call this the "Bobby Flay" method because I learned it from him on one of his Food Network shows. If you look at the image of the sliced turkey you can see that they are sliced crosswise after pullling from the center bone. I REALLY like your idea of freezing these breast-half sections whole instead of slicing them, I will do that next time.

Couple of other final thoughts:

I like the ratio of 3/4 cup of kosher salt per gallon for the brine much better than the old ratio I used of 1 cup per gallon. I found myself chugging down water (or beer) from salt overload with the old ratio. I also like the addition of honey instead of brown sugar. It's a little more expensive, but I think it added a layer of flavor that wasn't there before.

Is it just me, or does lump charcoal and wood chunks give a much stronger smoke flavor than burning pre-heated sticks? Don't get me wrong, there is no such thing to me as too much smoke, and the wifey can probably do liquid smoke shooters with a smile. But it seems that I am getting a stronger smokey flavor then I was on the Dera with pre-heated sticks. Maybe I should switch to regular charcoal and compare, dunno.
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