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Turkey Dry Brine/injection advice

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  • _Keith
    My house at Thanksgiving:
    Click image for larger version

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  • ghastie55
    I followed Meatheads advice as seen/heard on the BBQ Central Show. While this is my first smoked bird it is also my first bird for which I did not wet brine at Meatheads instruction. Quite frankly this was so much easier. So Sunday this was a dry run or practice if you will to see how I could do.

    I chose an all natural bird that had been minimally processed or enhanced and was not factory brined.
    You can see I used the spatchcock process Meathead highlights on this site.
    Instead of wet brining as I normally might I chose to Inject to get flavors inside the meat. 1/2 & 1/2 mixture of Butchers Bird Booster Honey and Chipotle injections.
    I basted inside of bird and outside with melted butter.
    I rubbed with Butchers Honey Rub.
    The holy trinity celery, onion carrots in a bath of Chicken stock with an apple, crushed garlic cloves, turkey backbone, neck and giblets.
    I placed the Mirepoix low in my smoker 2 racks below the bird so it could catch the fat/juices from the bird to enhance the turkey stock.
    I smoked bird 2.5 hours at 300 degrees to perfect meat temperatures of 162-165 breast and 178-181 in the legs and 173-178 in thighs.

    This dry run was a huge success. It really was very, very good. Juices galore and the smoke flavor was out of this world. I do not know why I would ever cook it differently.

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  • _Keith
    I dry brine then inject with butter. We celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend, and there were no leftovers

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  • Huskee
    Wow, that's a nice picture willie. Be sure to get some nice shots this year and enter Meathead's "Pretty Bird" turkey photo contest here.

    As the recipe article states, you really want to be careful your bird isn't "injected with a salt solution", "self basting", "enhanced with a flavor solution", etc etc etc, all fancy ways to say 'we put salt in your bird to increase its weight, our profit, and your salt intake'. Keep in mind, it can say "Natural" or "All natural" too and still be factory brined in some manner, since legally salt is natural and labeling allows this. If you read this anywhere on your bird's wrapper, go very lightly on the salt, especially in lieu of your father in law. If it's under-salted for some, put a salt shaker on the table. You can always add more salt if need be, but can never take it out.

    If your bird is not enhanced, self basting, or brined, then proceed with dry brining as the recipe page instructs. Many people choose to inject with only butter, and report that this makes a fantastic bird.

    Hint, to help crisp your skin, increase your temp toward 400 (if you can) toward the end of the cook. Just watch that breast temp doesn't exceed 160-165F or you could eat cardboard. Or you could place your turkey under the oven broiler (just watch it like a hawk). I like to leave chickens in the fridge uncovered to air dry the skin while dry brining. Might be tough with a large turkey though, since you surely don't want raw poultry touching anything ever.
    Last edited by Huskee; November 26, 2014, 12:36 PM.

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  • SwampDonkeyzBBQ
    commented on 's reply
    Best of luck. It's going to be hard to hit 350 in weather that cold. Look forward to some pics!

  • williebbqs
    Cooking temp is reason I moved off my wsm to the kettle. I've tried keeping temp somewhere around 300-315. I may open it up a little Thursday. Seems like I can get it to hold around 300 or 425 but struggle holding in the sweet spot of 350. Forecast high is 28 here is SE Iowa so I need to keep that in account as well.

    I've also used some EVOO. Last year I got bird out of the wet brine and air dried Thanksgiving morning as well like you said above. It was better but still not the perfect crispy especially on the breast meat. Thanks for your reply!

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  • SwampDonkeyzBBQ
    I havent tried dry brining yet. But i have found that with wet brining, that patting the bird dry, with a paper towel, and then placing it on a cooling rack, on top of another pan, and putting it in the fridge to kind of air dry does help. Also, a light coat of EVOO, or peanut oil, on the skin aids in the crisping.

    What temps are you running? I prefer 325-350. Anything much cooler than that really doesn't do a whole lot to crisp the skin up.

    I do brine inject my comp chicken, and it works GREAT! I don't see why it wouldn't work just as well on a turkey.

    As far as sodium intake, I wouldn't bee too concerned about it as long as you get a turkey that hasn't already been shot up with salt. If the packaging has the word "enhanced" anywhere on it, it's already been shot up with a salt solution.
    Last edited by SwampDonkeyzBBQ; November 24, 2014, 11:02 AM.

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  • williebbqs
    started a topic Turkey Dry Brine/injection advice

    Turkey Dry Brine/injection advice

    I've followed Meathead's advice in past with my Thanksgiving turkey with great results. My one difference is I have always wet brined my turkey the night before. The meat has been tender juicy and full of flavor however my skin not up to par on the crispyness meter.

    I'm planning to switch gears this year and scrap the wet brine in favor of a dry brine (salt) the night before. My thoughts are this will help the skin to crisp up while on the weber kettle. I'm wondering if I should also use a brine injection the night before as well or will this over salt the meat? My father in law has blood pressure issues that means he needs to regulate salt intake.

    Here are some pictures of last year's turkey.

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