There are many ways to prepare great tasting turkey, we will only be showing you the couple simple ways that we like to cook it – Brining, Injection,Spatchcocking
Brining a whole turkey is a process in which the turkey is soaked in a salt and water solution, resulting in juicy, flavorful meat. Sugar and other rubs are sometimes use to further enhance the flavor. Brining increases the moisture content, ensuring that the turkey will stay moist, even though the long smoking period. The brining process breaks down and extracts some of the proteins from the meat, allowing liquid to be absorbed into the turkey. When the turkey is cooked, the proteins coagulate, preventing the liquid from escaping. When selecting a turkey that is going to be brined, be sure it is not pre-basted or that it is not a kosher turkey. Brining turkey that has been pre-basted is not recommended. Pre-basted and kosher turkeys have been processed with a salt solution to maintain juiciness and if brined, they may end up being too salty. Also, if the turkey is over-brined the result will be meat that is very soggy.
Brining a whole turkey is a simple process that results in moist and flavorful meat, which is generally slightly saltier than turkey prepared using other methods. When brining a turkey, you will need at least 10 to 12 hours of soaking time so preparation must begin 1 to 2 days before cooking. If you selected a frozen turkey, be sure the turkey is completely thawed before beginning the brining process.
A large container is required to accommodate the turkey and the brining solution. A 12 to 16-pound turkey will generally fit in a 20 quart stock pot. A stock pot is not necessary but it is important that the container or pot be made of stainless steel, glass, enamel or other non-corrosive material, otherwise the salt that is used may cause a chemical reaction with the container.
I use the Briner Bucket by LEM brine with it allows plenty of room for large Turkeys and a unique locking plate insert keeps food submerged for a more effective brining process. Available in 22 quart or 8 quart. Includes pressing plate and lid in each bucket. Made in USA.
Simple Three Little Pig’s Brine
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 Cup of Three Little Pig’s Championship Rub
1/2 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar
Small handful of aromatics (garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon or orange zest removed in strips)
Combine salt, sugar, aromatics and 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of water in a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar, salt and Championship rub are dissolved. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in remaining 1/2 gallon water (or water and ice) and cool completely.
Pour brine into a container just large enough to hold turkey comfortably. (A 4- or 5-gallon vessel should be good for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.) Add turkey; add a little more water or ice to submerge it if necessary. Turn bird a few times and then leave breast-side down in the water; place a heavy plate over the poultry if it floats. Chill 10 to 12 hours. Remove bird from brine, discard brine and roast as directed.
Injection, we all know that turkey tends to be a dry meat especially in the best area. This is a way to push moisture into your turkey while infusing it with great flavors at the same time. Just remember that this is a marinade so it will need some time in the meat to get the flavors.
5- Points of Injections for Turkey or Chicken.
Simple Cajun Beer & Butter Injection
1/2 can beer
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of Three Little Pigs Memphis Rub
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over a low heat. Stir and heat until salt is dissolved and the sauce is even and runny. Keep warm (but not hot) to inject. Inject under the keel bone for even distribution and down legs to maximize flavor
Spatchcocking, A spatchcock turkey (also called “butterflied turkey”) is a whole turkey with its backbone removed. The turkey is then opened like a book and laid flat before smoking. (And it’s a whole lot easier than it might sound.)
Benefits of Spatchcocking:
Cooks Faster: Flattening the turkey exposes more surface area to heat, so overall cooking time is reduced. A 10-pound spatchcock turkey was done in only 2 hour 45 minutes at 250º F. Compare that with the 4 to 4½ hours it takes to cook an unstuffed 10-pound turkey at the same 250º F.
Crisper Skin: All the skin is exposed evenly to the heat, with none of it hiding on the underside. That means it all crisps up evenly. And who doesn’t love crispy skin?
Juicier Turkey: Turkey has two different kinds of meat that are cooked through at two different temperatures. And there’s the problem. Breast meat starts drying out after it reaches 150° F, but dark leg meat isn’t thoroughly cooked until 165° to 170° F. People try all kinds of tricks to keep the breast from drying out while the legs are still cooking, but simply opening up the turkey and cooking it flat brings both kinds of meat to doneness at the same time. Problem solved.
Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces and Good-One Smoker/Grills