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Thanksgiving questions


pbanis
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I've been volunteered to cook two Thanksgiving turkeys this year. One for my family on Wednesday and another for my in-laws on Thursday. The plan is to us my KJ Classic.

Any good recipes out there? Is brining 100% necessary? What is the largest bird that I can fit on the KJ Classic?

Much appreciated folks!

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I've done quite a few Turkeys on 18" BGE's and KJ's. The largest I have ever done were in the 12 >15# range. Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic. Frozen birds are already injected with a sodium solution, and if you brine them they tend to become very salty. If I am cooking a sodium enhanced bird, I will inject it with an unsalted Herb or Cajun injection.

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1 hour ago, andyscalzo said:

I've done quite a few Turkeys on 18" BGE's and KJ's. The largest I have ever done were in the 12 >15# range. Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic. Frozen birds are already injected with a sodium solution, and if you brine them they tend to become very salty. If I am cooking a sodium enhanced bird, I will inject it with an unsalted Herb or Cajun injection.

Andy that was my experience also. The first year i brined the turkey because it was a uninjected turkey. Got to love Americas Test Kitchen.

The next year I went every where and they all were injected so I brined it anyway. It was like shaking salt on each bite.

Sadly it was much better when I brined it myself. Our guests kept saying how juicy the turkey was. Of course not cooking the breast over 160 helped immensely also.

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1 hour ago, andyscalzo said:

I've done quite a few Turkeys on 18" BGE's and KJ's. The largest I have ever done were in the 12 >15# range. Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic. Frozen birds are already injected with a sodium solution, and if you brine them they tend to become very salty. If I am cooking a sodium enhanced bird, I will inject it with an unsalted Herb or Cajun injection.

Any special injection recipes?

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1 hour ago, Marty said:

Any special injection recipes?

For the Herb injections I use unsalted butter, minced garlic and fresh chopped herbs, I go with the four Simon & Garfunkel's: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.  I mix them well and inject using a coarse needle. I also rub the same mixture under the skin.

As for the Cajun or Creole injections, I use commercially produced ones.

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On 11/13/2016 at 9:57 AM, andyscalzo said:

Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic. Frozen birds are already injected with a sodium solution, and if you brine them they tend to become very salty. If I am cooking a sodium enhanced bird, I will inject it with an unsalted Herb or Cajun injection.

Sorry - this blanket statement is 100% false.  Your intentions are certainly good, and I understand your overall advice (see: avoiding Butterball) but better advice is to simply look at the label.  I have a frozen Publix GreenWise turkey in my freezer right now.  It is frozen and does not contain anything at all other than turkey.  FYI, for those with access to a Publix store, they are great birds...  Conversely, my local Trader Joe's has fresh, brined turkeys available.  Point is, just take a quick look at the label, look at the sodium level and what ingredients might be in there already.

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1 hour ago, HaagenDazs said:

Sorry - this blanket statement is 100% false.  Your intentions are certainly good, and I understand your overall advice (see: avoiding Butterball) but better advice is to simply look at the label.  I have a frozen Publix GreenWise turkey in my freezer right now.  It is frozen and does not contain anything at all other than turkey.  FYI, for those with access to a Publix store, they are great birds...  Conversely, my local Trader Joe's has fresh, brined turkeys available.  Point is, just take a quick look at the label, look at the sodium level and what ingredients might be in there already.

HD, re-read my statement: "Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic." Publix GreenWise frozen Turkeys ARE organic. I have used them and always brined them first.  As far as I know all Publix GreenWise products are organic. As for Trader Joes, I don't shop there, but I can say that fresh brined Turkeys are not common in most stores or butcher shops. That's typically the main reason for buying fresh birds in the first place is that they are not enhanced.

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HD, re-read my statement: "Don't brine your birds unless they are fresh or organic." Publix GreenWise frozen Turkeys ARE organic. I have used them and always brined them first.  As far as I know all Publix GreenWise products are organic. As for Trader Joes, I don't shop there, but I can say that fresh brined Turkeys are not common in most stores or butcher shops. That's typically the main reason for buying fresh birds in the first place is that they are not enhanced.


GreenWise does not mean organic. They have organic products, but it is not a rule - at all. My point stands: you can't apply blanket statements to food. There are simply way too many options available all over the country. I don't mean to nit pick, but I also disagree with spreading false information.

http://www.publix.com/products-services/greenwise

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This will be my first two turkeys on the Kamado. I've done maybe dozens on the stick burner- never brined- I have never been concerned with moisture. Couldn't produce juicier birds. Many of them 22# or bigger- many of them fresh. I've always done a rub containing seal salt- under the skin and in the cavities with fantastic results. I am concerned about getting enough smoke however.

The last four or five birds I have done have been spatch-cocked. I have fallen in love with the evenness of the cook. You don't have to work as hard to get the dark meat done without frying the breast. Then again, what I may gain in evenness, I lose in presentation and after all– we eat with our eyes.

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2 hours ago, andyscalzo said:

I use Pecsn chunks on 100% of my Poultry cooks Al, and I get a great smoke profile.

Thanks Andy. I'm using Pecan almost exclusively now. I think it's just the transition of burning logs vs lump plus chunks. I'll get used to it. I could go 325° or 350° and get a ton of smoke profile. I'm thinking of trying the smoke pot to get a longer smoking time out of my chunks. 

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