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Thinking turkey

GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum
This will be my first Thanksgiving cooking a turkey on the BGE and I have been checking out and trying recipes. I did the Mad Max turkey and it was pretty good. I also did a water brine but I didn't care for the change in the texture of the meat. Next on the list of must tries are a dry salt brine and a buttermilk brine. I have used both these methods for chicken any really like them but I haven't tried them on the big bird. Has anyone used the either one or am I better off not using any brine and just going simple?
Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !


  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,692
    I just go with Mad Max each year.  Still need to work on my gravy though.   I'm sure others will chime in on the brine.  
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474

    I am going to give this a try this year. Don't let the pressure cooker deter you. He has an alternative to the pressure cooker. Hope it helps some with your gravy.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,692

    Interesting.  Thanks for the link.

    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 19,301
    i do two every year about 16 pounds each, one traditional oven cooked with stuffing, the other in the egg. ive cooked maybe a thousand birds alot of ways and think mad maxs version is one of the best mostly cause i like a good gravey and it makes a good gravey. i dont like to change much on a holiday, but some little things like herbed ground bacon under the skin or last year herbed duck grease frozen and slipped under the skin. the bacon really adds a flavor to the bird and the skin gets tasty as it sticks to the skin, the duck grease makes for the best gravey and for me its all about the gravey. i never cared for brines but if you buy a frozen turkey look for the kosher birds, they have been salted and always seem to be more flavorful. brining seems to throw off the flavor of the gravey
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    We have always done two turkeys too. I was in charged of the Cajun smoked one in the water smoker and I had that one down pat. This year there isn't a water smoker and I have to do the one with the gravy. Mom and Dad always took care of that but they aren't with us this year. I should have paid more attention to how Mom did the gravy. The herb bacon sounds interesting, I'm not too sure about duck fat. It's all about the gravy !!!!!!
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,102
    With gravy it's all about the roux ... learn how to do that well and the rest is a walk in the park!
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ... BGE Lg.
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    I will practice making a roux with this spice combination I found on the web today.

    2 tablespoons McCormick® Sage, Rubbed or 2 tablespoons McCormick® Poultry Seasoning
    1 tablespoon McCormick® Paprika
    1 tablespoon Lawry's seasoned salt 
    2 teaspoons McCormick® Garlic Powder
    1 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Ground. (does anyone have any idea where this recipe might have come from?)

    I'm hoping it will give me the flavors that tickle my taste buds.

    3/4 teaspoon McCormick® Nutmeg, Ground
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    Ok nutmeg should be up above and included with the other spices. I don't have any idea how it ended up down where it did. Tried to edit and the iPad wouldn't let me - but you get the picture.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • I have always done my turkeys using Mad Max method. This year I am just going to salt the night before and wipe off any excess and moisture just before cooking.
    I have been doing all my chickens butt up via Little Steven's instruction and they turn out delicious. I am planning to do the turkey butt up this year. Will make a sage and other herbs compound butter and apply that under the skin. Will use a drip pan to catch the dripping. Also plan to add extra wings to the neck and giblets to make a stock.

    Large, small and mini SW Austin
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    This is the salt brine I used and it's really good.

                            Salt Brine for Poultry

         2/3  cup           kosher salt
       1      Tbsp          dried rosemary
        1     Tbsp          Dried sage leaves
         1     Tbsp.         Dried thyme
       4                    bay leaves crumbled
       2      tsp           Cracked black pepper

    1. Combine all ingredients in glass jar and sprinkle brine on poultry as

    I don't know what a little Steven method is but I will check it out thanks.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,201
    I have tried the salt rub dry brine, and liked the result. I haven't done a buttermilk brine, so I can't comment on that.

    I have had very good results from stuffing herbed butter under the skin.

    Last year I did the breasts and leg quarters separately. I wasn't concerned about the presentation, but did want the dark and white meat evenly cooked.

    I have been making my own pressure cooked stock for several years now. It works really well as part of the gravy, but getting the roux right seems to be the most important thing for success. If you have the time and care to buy some extra turkey necks, you can make a multiple generation stock. That is, make stock, reduce it some, and then use that liquid with just a little more water as the start of another round of stock making. I've done this repeating 5 times, and the resulting fluid was so intensely flavored, I let several people taste it in shot glasses.

    As a btw, you can bake some potato skins, and then pressure cook those for potato stock. Add that to your mashed potatoes for a double good flavor.
  • grannyx4
    Little Steven came up with butt up chicken technique to even out the cooking between the dark and white meat. By placing the back end (thighs and legs) into the dome (the hotter area of the egg)  you even out the cooking. The white meat doesn't dry out and gets moisture from the bird and the dark meat is cooked to pull temp when the breast comes to pull temp.  This is the only way I cook fowl now, unless I spatchcock the birds.  Try it with a will like the results
    BTW Granny,  the herbs in your salt brine sound good.  I will grind them up fine and make a compound butter with them (will reduce salt amount) for the next chicken cook.
    Large, small and mini SW Austin
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    gdenby, thanks for the tips on making the pressure cooker stock - I got some necks today and I'm going to give the stock a try. Never thought of doing potato skins I've always used chicken/turkey stock for the potatoes. I'll be getting the dust off the pressure cooker and doing some testing.

    Austin egghead, getting the dark meat done along with the breast has been difficult so I got a chicken to test out butt up chicken. I really like the spatchcock and I haven't even thought of doing it any other way. I have done quit a bit of reading on turkeys but I can't find the set up - if I were to guess it would be 350, plate setter legs up, and pan and chicken on grate? Yes the brine is quite salty.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,201
    Another trick for making super potatoey mash is to fry some instant 'tater flakes in butter, mush the results, and mix with the boiled mash and roasted skin stock. Add more butter as needed.

    Apparently, a pressure cooker will easily extract good flavors from just about anything. Just a few days ago I came across pressure cooked corn cob stock. Don't throw away the cobs after grilling some corn. The recipe said toss them in a pressure cooker, and get roast corn flavor. I think that and some chicken bones would make a great stock.

    Also, the cooker really speeds the stock making. I get pretty good results in 45 minutes, compared to 3 - 4 hours from a simmering stock pot.

  • Granny, Yes plate setter and drip pan.  I put the chicken on when egg temp is
    425.  I let the temp come back up to 425
    then immediately close the lower vent to get 350.  I hold the egg at 350 and cook until the
    chicken hits pull temp. 

    This is adapted from oven directions a Spaneck  family member taught me 20 years ago.  If you use the chicken vertical roaster then
    you may have to open the chicken up a little. 
    I make cut down both sides of backbone. 
    If you have vertical roasters for Cornish hens that works more better.

    I will be using a modified version of you rub on one chicken at the Texarkana fest tomorrow and my rub on the other


    Here is the web site for Spaneck   Don’t take
    egg pass 425!

    Large, small and mini SW Austin
  • ShawnShawn Posts: 356
    freds music and bbq has good turkey recepie videos!
    Cheers! Shawn My Blog: My Dads Custom Handles Blog
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    I am sooooooo excited. These days it doesn't take much. I made the pressure cooker stock today. I browned the necks and vegetables first and it gave the stock a nice rich brown color. Then I made three gravies. The first one was with the salt brine seasoning and it was OK. Second was the McCormick seasoning blend and that was OK. The third was a combination of the two and it was awesome. Now that I have mastered the gravy it's just a matter of tweeking the seasonings and I can make a spatchcock turkey since I won't need the drip pan for the gravy. It will also give me a lot more room to cook additional boneless breasts. Everyone goes home with a breast and a loaf of homemade bread.
    Thanks for all your help and it's all about the gravy.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • Granny, I modified your "salt brine" and made a compound butter with the dried ingredients, left out the bay ( no way to pulverize the leaf at the fest) and added Italian seasoned dry herbs plus butter and mashed fresh garlic, nixed all but 1 teaspoon of salt the rest on your list were dried ingredients, not fresh.  I let the butter set up.  On one of the birds I used rub on outside and placed the compound butter under the skin.  The other chicken butter went under the skin and slathered over the skin.  
    I wish I could say which one was the winner.  They both disappeared real fast and all who tasted asked for the recipe and cooking method.  This is a keeper.  Thanks for the idea.
    Large, small and mini SW Austin
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,474
    I'm glad you were successful with tweaking your rub - it really sounds yummy. I'm going to make a note to give the changes a try. The fest sounds like a fun time.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
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