It's turkey time… or The Bird is the Word

Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
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4,485 11 2
#1
It's turkey time! This year, it's our turn to have people at our house. That means I have to roast the bird, I decided to go all out, brine the bird and smoke it outdoors. I've been carefully checking the weather reports and it looks good for Thursday. Somewhat cold, temperature high in the mid 30s, but clear skies.

I've cleaned out the smoker, a Weber Smokey Mountain 18½" diameter model, and made sure I have enough charcoal and apple wood chunks. The charcoal is made from all hardwood, only oak or hickory. No coal dust or inert fillers. It's called Cowboy Brand Southern Style lump charcoal.

Today I picked up a 19 lb. free-range fed turkey at the store. It's important that the bird not be self basting, like a butterball turkey. Its fresh, not frozen, but I know that means it was stored at -30° F. In the turkey world, frozen means stored at -70°. Those frozen turkeys are as hard as bowling balls and take a week in the refrigerator to thaw. My turkey did have a little ice at the bottom, but the rest of the bird was ice free.

The brine has apple cider, oranges and ginger, among other stuff:
  • 2 quarts apple juice or cider
  • 1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
  • Salt – 1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, ¾ cup Morton Kosher Salt, or ½ cup table salt
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 3 whole oranges, cut into quarters & squeezed
  • 2 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled & thinly sliced
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
If interested, you can read details of the entire recipe I'm following here.

I put it one of those large plastic brine bags, and was able to fit it inside a cooler. I found over a dozen of those freezable ice packs in the basement with the cooler, and I froze them ahead of time. I filled all the available space in the cooler. I'll check it occasionally to make sure it stays cold. The bird has been in the brine since 12:30 and will stay there until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow I'll take it out of the brine to dry off. I'll have to find someway to keep it cold. Thursday morning, it's time to smoke it. Stay tuned.
 
Dan

Dan

Senior Audioholic
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#3
Its gonna be cold wednesday night. You could keep it in the garage (unheated). It is supposed to be well below freezing maybe even 20 for a low early thursday morning but I assume your garage will be a bit warmer.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,485 11 2
#4
We've never had a good Thanksgiving song. Every family should gather and sing 'The Bird Is The Word' before sitting down to eat.

Maybe I'll print up the lyrics and pass them out, so no one has an excuse not to sing along ;).

Thanks for the idea!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,485 11 2
#5
Its gonna be cold wednesday night. You could keep it in the garage (unheated). It is supposed to be well below freezing maybe even 20 for a low early thursday morning but I assume your garage will be a bit warmer.
I've thought of that, but I don't yet know how to keep little critters away from it, even in the garage. I could try putting it in an open cooler with an oven rack to cover it. I'll come up with something tomorrow.
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
668 4
#6
We've never had a good Thanksgiving song. Every family should gather and sing 'The Bird Is The Word' before sitting down to eat.

Maybe I'll print up the lyrics and pass them out, so no one has an excuse not to sing along ;).

Thanks for the idea!
Awesome idea! I think at some point im gonna play that song now!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,485 11 2
#7
Its gonna be cold wednesday night. You could keep it in the garage (unheated). It is supposed to be well below freezing maybe even 20 for a low early thursday morning but I assume your garage will be a bit warmer.
I found just the thing. The cooler is small, a Coleman PolyLite 28. (Holds 28 quarts?) It's 18 inches long and about 12' deep. Here it is with the lid on and bird brining inside.
One.JPG


Under the stove, I found two of these heavy aluminum grilles. They fit pretty well on top of the cooler with the white lid removed. I think things will be undisturbed if I keep the red cooler in the garage, covered by the two grilles. Maybe I'll put it on top of something to keep it off the garage floor.
Three.JPG


Two.JPG
 
Dan

Dan

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
172 2
#8
It needs air circulating to dry. A covered cooler may not be the thing. How about making room in the fridge by taking bottles and such out and putting those in the garage to avoid the critter issue. Or duct tape the racks above to the open cooler so the critters can't get in.
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
668 4
#9
@Swerd You are hard core my friend! I bet that thing is gonna taste gooood.

We just pop one in and wait for the thingee to pop up I think. But I dont even know that for sure, my wife is the cook in the family. I just eat. :p
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,485 11 2
#10
It needs air circulating to dry. A covered cooler may not be the thing. How about making room in the fridge by taking bottles and such out and putting those in the garage to avoid the critter issue. Or duct tape the racks above to the open cooler so the critters can't get in.
The red cooler's white lid comes off. I'll replace it with the two grilles. That way the cooler is open at the top with the bird standing up on one of these… if it all fits. When I took the photo I didn't want to take the white lid off. But one way or another, I'll find a way to work it.


Edit:
Doh! It just hit me. After brining, put the bird inside the smoker to dry. No critter can get inside that. If that doesn't work, I'll try your idea of making room in the refrigerator by putting other stuff in coolers in the cold garage.

Note to readers: After soaking in brining solution for a day, a turkey's skin is saturated. The skin needs to dry out some, or it can be rubbery after smoking at a low temperature. To get a crisp skin, it helps to keep it uncovered overnight, somewhere cold. The refrigerator will be full.
 
Last edited:
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,136 6
#11
We've never had a good Thanksgiving song. Every family should gather and sing 'The Bird Is The Word' before sitting down to eat.

Maybe I'll print up the lyrics and pass them out, so no one has an excuse not to sing along ;).

Thanks for the idea!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,485 11 2
#13
I love that episode!
I love how you guys have the ability to hone right in on the essentials. For those too young to remember, Sufin' Bird was a hit single in 1963 by The Trashmen, a local Minnesota garage band. This was so long ago, it was before people in the US heard of The Beatles.

Thanks to @KaatheSnake for providing the proper link to this song. The Family Guy does get credit for resurrecting this forgotten gem. I was glad the writers got the proper spirit of this song.
 
KaatheSnake

KaatheSnake

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
407 14 30
#15
I love how you guys have the ability to hone right in on the essentials. For those too young to remember, Sufin' Bird was a hit single in 1963 by The Trashmen, a local Minnesota garage band. This was so long ago, it was before people in the US heard of The Beatles.

Thanks to @KaatheSnake for providing the proper link to this song. The Family Guy does get credit for resurrecting this forgotten gem. I was glad the writers got the proper spirit of this song.
Yes, the Trashmen were a one hit wonder. They got sued by the Rivingtons by using their songs Bird is the Word and Papa Oom Mow Mow. This is one of the most annoying songs ever IMO, only behind Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
 

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