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.\n\nI'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.\n\nToday 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.\n\nThe brine has apple cider, oranges and ginger, among other stuff:\n\n2 quarts apple juice or cider\n1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)\nSalt – 1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, ¾ cup Morton Kosher Salt, or ½ cup table salt\n3 quarts cold water\n3 whole oranges, cut into quarters & squeezed\n2 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled & thinly sliced\n15 whole cloves\n6 bay leaves\n6 large garlic cloves, peeled & crushed\n\nIf interested, you can read details of the entire recipe I'm following here.\n\nI 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.\n\nTomorrow 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.