They're not all good

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bowhnter
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They're not all good

Postby bowhnter » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:18 am

I brined for about 24 hrs, air dried the turkey and breast overnight

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I draped 2 layers of butter soaked cheesecloth over each and
smoked using pecan and a little cherry at 315 to 325

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Despite some minor problems, I managed to get them both done within 10 minutes of each other and 30 minutes before planned mealtime :D

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I could sit here and say wow they turned out great, etc but I was very disapointed.
Now I have only been at this about a year and a half, but my first two attempts at turkey were so much better. Chickens always turn out good.

This is also the first time I have used fresh birds, I usually used the free ones you get with your groceries that may have been pre brined or injected.
I also brined those birds again myself using this same brine.

This is the first time I air dried overnight. Was that it?
Was my brine not right? Same recipe I always use.
Some crap birds? Doubt it.
I didn't even get much smokey flavor (3 chunks pecan)

Some bites were moist, some dry, some chewy. Final resting temp was 168* breast and 172* thigh.

Of course everone said it was good, and my wife said I am own worst critic, blah, blah, :dont: ...any thoughts?
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Postby ChileFarmer » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:02 am

Not much help here Mike, I have only ever done one turkey, And it was not good.
But I don't see anything wrong with the results, that last photo sure looks good enough to eat. CF
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Postby DATsBBQ » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:57 am

I've never done the Air Dry thing, in fact this is the first I've heard of it. I agree with CF, the pics look good. :D
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Postby bigwheel » Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:22 am

I tried the overnight air drying on brined chicken one time. Didnt turn out very well...or at least didnt help it any that I could tell. Did you cook it sitting straight up like in the pic? If so coulda been part of the problemo. Whole birds always do mo betta face down if your cooking stationary. Riding on a Rotess with direct exposure to the fire is the ultimate in my book.

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Postby SoEzzy » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:17 pm

I have never air dried as long as that, an hour or two is usually enough to form the pellicle (a salty sticky glaze), after the poultry comes out of the brine, pat it dry with paper towels, then air dry then for about two hours while I set up the smoker and get it up to temperature, then they go straight on the WSM.

Using this technique I've not had a problem with the dry meat we used to end up with.
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Postby Papa Tom » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:46 pm

Seems to be a common thread on the air drying. I have never air dried for more than an hour. I have never cheese cloth wrapped and never was disappointed (in recent years anyway). Of course we use different cookers that could be part of it. Darn thing looks good and pretty counts remember you always eat with your eyes first. As far as the critic thing after nursing a pit for hours Q never tastes as good nor as smoky. Also I have never done one at high temperatures that might affect the smokiness.
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Postby bowhnter » Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:29 pm

Well, guess I will not air dry like that again. I had seen several people suggest it and this right from TVWBB page.

I have another bird I will thaw and try again.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/turkey6.html

"Air-Dry The Turkey

After brining, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
Place on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry overnight (8-12 hours) in the refrigerator. This helps create crispy skin during cooking.
Picture 1 shows the turkey air-drying in the refrigerator. Picture 2 shows how it looked after 12 hours in the fridge."
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Postby Burnt Food Dude » Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:56 pm

When you say fresh birds, were they frozen fresh or never frozen fresh? My origional thought here is that the bird was partially frozen when put in the brine. Thats were some parts may have been dry and others moist. The frozen parts of the bird didn't have the same time to absorbe the brine.

I'm wondering why the breast was 168 & the thigh was 172. Usually the thigh is cooler than the breast.

I'd also suggest cooking at the higher temp. Closer to 350 not 325 and forget about the buttered cheese cloth. Apply a coating of olive oil on the bird all over.

If I air dry its only for a few hours.

I also use apple & cherry wood for smoke. You could go 50/50 but I put 2 parts apple to 1 part cherry. Cherry wood will help give it a nice color.

I usually do 3 to 4 turkeys a year and haven't had any problems. I do suggest that you check the bird after about 2 hours to see if the wing tips or legs ends are getting over done (burnt). If so cover with aluminum foil.
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Postby JamesB » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:27 pm

Think BFD might be on to something here with the partial freeze idear... (I'd still use the cheesecloth tho)

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Postby bowhnter » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:39 pm

They were not frozen when I got them, or when brining, think I just left em to dry too long, shoulda forgone that step.

I did put some stock in a pan and threw the leftovers in the oven this afternoon...actually wasn't too bad this evening.

BFD, about 325 was as high as I could get it yesterday...just couldn't bump it up on the WSM.
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Postby Burnt Food Dude » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:17 pm

I hope you didn't have water in the pan. Water will severely limit getting hi temps out of the WSM. If it wasn't cold and/or windy, I'd suggest opening the access door and turning it upside down and blocking it open for a little while. The temp should go up.

If it was cold and windy I'd suggest building a wind block to protect the WSM. Under 55-60 degree wind can be a heat killer also. Look here...

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/coldtemp.html

for more info.


OR maybe it was your time to have an "off" cook. Sometimes it happens just because.
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Postby Pete Q » Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:48 pm

Howdy, I couldn't help myself I had to register so I could comment on this topic. I brined seven turkeys for Thanksgiving. I used the brine recipes from the virtual weber site. I brined the birds for forty eight hours and I let them air dry in the refrig for about fifteen hours. I put five of the birds in my Klose BYC and used hickory wood for the entire cook. The birds were cooked at a temp of 275f for about four hours until the breasts registered a thermometer reading of 165f. The birds looked a perfect golden brown and I was very pleased with their appearance. Now for the other two birds. I placed them in the WSM and cooked them at a temp of 325f. They took two hours and forty five minutes to reach 165F (all the turkeys weighed twelve pounds). I used two big chunks of cherry and 4 chunks of apple. I was disappointed with their finished appearance. They weren't black. I would say they were an extremely dark cherry furniture red. I guess I used one two many chunks of cherry. Despite the way they looked, they were delicious and amazingly they didn't taste like they had been over smoked. The skin, though I dried it for fifteen hours, couldn't be called crispy. The birds that I used the apple brine on all tasted great after forty eight hours. The birds with the honey brine had a salty flavor that was not overpowering, but made them taste more ham like. I have used both brines in the past for twenty four hour soaks, the apple brine works great either with either time period, to keep the turkey tasting more like a turkey than a ham the next time I use the honey brine I won't soak the bird more than twenty four hours. My own experience is that I didn't benefit from drying the skin for any large amount of time in the refrig versus just a couple of hours. I apologize for being so long winded, but I thought I would share my own turkey tribulations.
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Postby Papa Tom » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:29 pm

Welcome Pete and thanks for sharing your experiences........
tarde venientibus ossa....
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Postby Burnt Food Dude » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:15 am

Welcome to the board Pete.

I usually just brine my birds over night, maybe 12 hours at the most.

You are right, the cherry will give the bird a dark red color. You probably used too much cherry wood. You said 2 big hunks.

As told to me by several KCBS judges, over smoking can give your meat a salty taste. I don't know why but it does. I've been told a couple of time that my chicken tasted salty when the rub contained no salt. No, I didn't brine the chicken either. Using the WSM you need less wood. Its a smaller inner area.

Still, it sounds like you did a good job. BTW we're kinda fond of pictures aka food picture.
Last edited by Burnt Food Dude on Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TL Parnell » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:16 am

I've cooked turkeys everyway imaginable on a pit, I've YET to cook one that I liked!! I just do not like turkey that much anyway! If i want some turkey, from now on, I'll buy the "Jenny-O" boneless breast & smoke it a little while & be done with it! personally, I'd heap druther have a good roasting hen & dressing baked in the oven, the way my exes' grandmother used to do them!! there is just something about an old granny's way of cooking things like that that is hard to beat!!!
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