Hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving! A few weeks ago, I wrote about my practice turkey cook for Thanksgiving. I was pretty happy with the cook, but a few tweaks and small changes were needed. Or so I thought…
As I was doing research on other techniques for cooking a turkey, I came across this article on Serious Eats. I won’t go into great detail about the article, but it talks about the reasons why you should salt your turkey (rather than brine or inject). This article intrigued me, and the logic/reasoning behind it seemed legit. For this cook, I still started my prep work the day before cooking by spatchcocking my turkey. However, I decided to skip the brine this time and instead liberally salt the bird.
Even with a “liberal” salting, I was still a bit conservative about it, worried that the turkey would wind up salty. After spat chocking and salting, the bird went into a roasting pan. The pan was covered with plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator overnight.
Fast forward to the day of the cook, when I get a phone call from my neighbor asking if I’d cook his turkey too. When I got the turkey, I found that it was a 19 lb. Butterball turkey that was still a little bit frozen. I didn’t panic, as much as I wanted to do so. Instead, I did a quick thaw for a few hours by placing the Butterball turkey in a 5-gallon bucket (with a trash bag liner) along with cold water. I changed the water out approximately every 30 minutes. Normally this process would take about 8 hours to sufficiently work, but I only had about half of that time. Luckily, the bird was thawed out enough that I could butterfly it as well.
My neighbor also let me know that he didn’t want it to be too spicy. As a result, I seasoned his bird with JP Custom Blend. For our bird, I rinsed and dried the bird then used The Most Powerful Stuff from EAT Barbecue.
And for the smoker… Hot and fast is the way to go! I pre-heated my 22 1/2″ Weber Smoky Mountain smoker to between 325 and 350 degrees using Kingsford blue and a combination of apple and pecan wood. The neighbor’s turkey went in first on the bottom grate, with our bird going on the top grate about 30 minutes later.
About 2/3 of the way through the cook, I couldn’t resist a sneak peek…
Two and a half hours after I put our turkey on the smoker, it was time to pull it off and get it cooled down as soon as possible (since we were eating it the next day).
About 30 minutes later, the neighbor’s turkey was done. It looked just as beautiful! In fact, the neighbors couldn’t wait to give it a taste. One word: YUM!!
And for our turkey… Amazing! It was moist and full of flavor, with a perfect texture. I’m a firm believer now in salting the bird instead of brining it. Even leftover turkey was still as moist and tasty!
So I’d love to hear how you cooked your turkey this year. Or if you cooked something different, tell me what you cooked.