Chef JJ’s Compiled Turkey Process

Below is a compilation of recipes and advice from Chef JimmyJ at Smoking Meat Forum about poultry and especially turkey. The brining piece is also on my Brining page.

For thawing advice and process safety tips go to the page titled Turkey Parameters- thaw, brine, inject. There is also a link there to 6 cajun injection recipes.

From Chef JJ I brine all my poultry, even rotisserie chix. The recipe below is popular and Wade in the UK uses it commercially…JJ

Families Favorite Brine

1/2C Kosher Salt
2T Paprika
2T Gran. Garlic
2T Gran. Onion
2T Dry Thyme
2T Black Pepper
1C Vinegar (Any)
1 – 1-1/2 Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional
1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

  1. Mix well and Soak the Bird overnight or up to 24 Hours.
  2. Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place in an open container (in also said on a wire rack in a sheet pan) in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.
  4. This will give a crispier skin when Smoking or Roasting.

Why to Wet Brine – From Dave Omak – “DiggginDogFarm recommends dry brining for increased flavor…. I have tried it and find that’s true… Also the meat stays more moist, when dry brining, versus no brining…. Wet brining can “add” flavor if spices, stocks are used in the wet brine… Wet brining can add moisture when supplemented with hygroscopic materials like salt and sugar… The salt and sugar remain in the meat fibers and “hold” onto the liquid solution….”

Injection – Not by Chef JJ. – See Turkey Injection recipes from Louisiana.

Post at SMF said –  “I injected each the night before with 1 cup butter and 1/3 creole mixed in. Smeared what I couldn’t inject over the birds and then dusted with more creole, garlic powder, and a little pepper. Turned out delicious for as easy as it was. About 15 minutes per pound.”

To Inject or Not to Inject – See this post for the debate and recipes.  I think the first time I will pass on the injection and see how the flavors in the brine soak in.

Juicy Smoke-tastic Chicken and Turkey posted here by Chef JimmyJ

I like Apple and/or Hickory with Chicken or Turkey. Determine doneness by measuring the Internal Temp (IT) in the thickest part of the Breast and Thigh, 165* and 175*F respectively.

For a One Step Smoke with Crispy Skin the birds have to be smoked at a temp of 300-325°F. You can figure about 15 minutes per pound to reach the desired IT. Electric smokers usually only go to 275°F. With these you will be smoking at the most common temp range of 225-275°F. You can figure on about 25 minutes per pound cook time + or – 5 minutes depending what part of the range you choose.

Usually, the skin will not crisp in a smoker so if the skin is not Crisp enough when the IT is 145*F in the Breast, put the Bird in a 425*F Oven to finish cooking to 165* and Crisp the Skin…JJ

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