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Old 11-21-2006, 11:18 PM   #1
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Smoking a turkey that I think is too large...now what?

OK, someone gave me a turkey this year - it's 22.49 lbs. I was going to smoke the turkey after brining.

Let me address the brining first - the package says it already has up to 8% "of a solution". I read on another thread that additional brining will make it too salty. What if I don't do the salt in the brine? What if the brine is just apple juice, citrus fruits, rosemary, thyme, et al, etc.?????

My next problem is I WAS going to smoke it beer butt style. Now a turkey that large I'm afraid will dry out - will it?

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Old 11-21-2006, 11:29 PM   #2
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I dunno, but what about cuttin the back bone out(with a chainsaw for a bird that size) and butterfly it. Cook it in 2 large sections perhaps. That does away w/ the beer but theory though...

as far as the brine, i don't think that would effect the cooking process so long as it is well purged prior to heat.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:29 PM   #3
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If you don't salt the brine, any salt already in the bird via the solution, will be drawn out.

Could you smoke it laying on it's back? (The turkey, not you). Then you could put some apples, citrus fruits, rosemary and thyme, etc. into the cavity.

You don't have to smoke it for the entire cooking time. Move it to the oven after a couple hours of smoking.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:42 PM   #4
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Thanks guys - Tatt - that's actually probably not a bad idea to cut it in half!!! I have never been a fan of a turkey that large.

Andy - The turkey, not you

OK, I will salt the brine - what I might do is start it in the smoker then finish in the oven. I just want that smoke flavor with the apple juice brine. Maybe I'll do that for about 5 hours or so then finish in the oven with the aromatics in the cavity and some more sherry?

It's really stupid messing with the star of the show without having any rehearsals!!!! I feel really unsure of myself right now - I don't like that feeling!

Hey, there's always ham and the 10 other side dishes, right?
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:06 AM   #5
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I have no idea how long to cook a bird that size in a smoker. Splitting the turkey will allow it to be cooked in less time and that's a good thing for keeping it moist.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:14 AM   #6
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ok, you about have me convinced to split it in half - it is AWFULLY big!

OK, next question - two gallons of apple juice, and a couple cups of sherry - is 1 cup of kosher salt enough since it has some salt in it already?

I know I'm asking some stupid questions - BUT - if I cut it in half I guess I don't do anything to the underside? It won't dry out?
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:51 AM   #7
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hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....marinade sounds spot on...

as far as the internal part of the bird, I would think that starting off, low and slow, would make the magic happen. Not to mention that the Breast will be up, and the more forgiving parts of the bird would be closest to the heat(underside). If worse came to worst, I would reverse the cycle, brown under the broiler in the oven, and finish on the smoker. Just my $.02


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Old 11-22-2006, 01:01 AM   #8
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I just finished the brine:

apple juice
kosher salt
brown sugar
sherry
limes
lemons
oranges
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
fresh sage
(my fresh marjoram went bad )
lots of smashed garlic
peppercorns

I guess I'll brine it starting in the morning.

I guess if I'm REALLY worried about the underside I could foil it (with holes for the salty juices to drip away)? Gosh, I'm this stressed out more than a day away? That's not like me! lol I'm confused and disoriented - and that's before the Lunesta!

Thanks TATT - I'll "see" you tomorrow evening with another slew of questions! Same place, hopefully a different time!!!!!
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:13 AM   #9
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actually I have plans on a different forum tommorow!


Sounds like you are on the right track, for sure!
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Old 11-22-2006, 08:49 AM   #10
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Here is the problem I see with brining a bird that is already brined. Brining works because the salt solution is looking for equilibrium. If, as Andy said, you try to brine without any salt (not technically a brine anyway) then it will draw salt and moisture out of the bird. The same thing will actually happen if you use a real brine (complete with salt) if the salt concentration of your brine is less than what is already inside the bird. The only way to brine an already brined bird is to make the brine saltier than what it was originally brined with. Then of course you run the risk of the meat tasting way too salty.
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