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We have been smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving the last couple of years and they've been pretty good with just a hint of dry. This year we decided to try try brining overnight before smoking it, supposed to help with that.

Bought a couple of chickens to practice on. Got a couple of ideas from YouTube on brining, saw a homemade recipe and a premixed recipe. Did the homemade apple cider brine on the first chicken and then smoked it with a mayo/ pecan rub mix. The mayo, used as a binder, and rub are mixed together and then smeared all over on the outside of the bird and more rub sprinkled on it. Turned out pretty good but the skin didn't get crisp, so don't know how flavored that was. The meat was moist and had hints of brine and rub and pecan smoke.

Going to do the other chicken this weekend with the premixed turkey brine, we had to order, and probably the same rub and then decide which brine to use on the whole turkey and do the other one on the separate turkey breast.

I've used mustard before as a rub on ribs and chicken but not mayo. I don't know if that is why the skin didn't crisp, they guy said it kept the skin from drying out, but his was crispy when finished. I'm going to smoke the turkey on Wednesday, and may heat it up Thursday and try to crisp the skin in the oven. Will probably also try to spray the turkey with butter when I open the smoker to check on it.

Any suggestions or favorites?
 
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I don't do much brining of birds so I'm no help there. One thing I have learned about crisp skin on poultry is that it really helps to blot the skin dry before it hits the heat so the heat doesn't go into drying the skin before crisping it.

But you do a lot of grilling; I gotta figure you're up on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't do much brining of birds so I'm no help there. One thing I have learned about crisp skin on poultry is that it really helps to blot the skin dry before it hits the heat so the heat doesn't go into drying the skin before crisping it.

But you do a lot of grilling; I gotta figure you're up on that.
Yes on the patting it dry with paper towels. Now I wonder how much water may have been under the skin after the overnight soak in the brine. I may try propping it upright in the fridge to see if it will "drain" better until ready to take it out and put it in the smoker. May have to put a hair dryer on it right before putting it in the smoker. :p

Edit: and before putting the rub on it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Didn't practice on the other chicken, was afraid I didn't have enough of the pre-made brine. Decided to go ahead and do the apple cider brine on the turkey breasts and the pre-mix brine on the whole turkey. Did the same rub on both. After brining overnight, put the rub on the breasts first and put them in the smoker. After taking the whole turkey out of the brine, rinsing itoff, and patting it dry, put it back in the ice chest, resting on a bed of paper towels to absorb more of the moisture from soaking. Pulled it out of the ice chest about an hour before the breasts were done to let some of the chill out of it. Put the rub on it when I took the breasts out of the smoker, then put the turkey on. A turkey slathered with mayo is pretty slick, I almost dropped it picking it up to take to the smoker. I had to move so quickly to get a new purchase on it, I pulled something in my shoulder and had to have help handling it after that.

Both the breasts and the turkey came out very good tasting and the brining did its job in retaining moisture in the meat. BH said thats how we gonna do em from now on. The only thing I think I'll change is hanging the whole turkey in the smoker instead of laying on a rack. BH suggested maybe just doing breasts, but I like dark meat, so I guess I need to learn how to carve better.
 
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