My Jack Daniel's & Maple Syrup Brined Turkey w/Pics

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
PICTURES

Overall my fist WSM Thanksgiving was a success. Everyone loved the bird and people who usually stay away from the breast meat due to others drying it out had second helpings of breast meat commenting it was the "moistest" they'd ever had.

The bird was a 19 lb. natural fresh turkey. I brined her in my Jack Daniels/Maple Syrup brine for 24 hours, then air dried for about 12 hours. Skin was excellent! Great tip on the drying. Pulled her out of the fridge and iced down the breast for a little over an hour (more on this below). Smoked her on the top rack over 2 1/2 chimneys of lit Rancher with 3 chunks of cherry wood for 4 1/2 hours. Early on in the cook I had a hard time getting her over 305. Turned door upside down at the one hour mark, propped the door open about 1/4 of an inch and she settled in around 335 for the rest of the cook. and pulled when breast hit 165. She rested foiled for about 40 minutes while I did the gravy.

I purchased a 10 x 15 roasting pan that fit perfectly in the WSM. I placed it on the bottom rack under the bird and positioned the bird directly over the roasting pan to catch drippings. Worked perfectly and caught nearly all the drippings. Pan fit over two burners (see picture) for prep. of the gravy (which turned out fantastic!).

Sliced the bird per the posting from the NYT removing the breast(s) whole then slicing, I really like this method. Bird was very moist with breast and thigh perfectly. However, for breakfast this a.m. I had one of the legs and it was very dry on the outer part of the leg but moist near the bone. What I think happened here is I let the legs get to warm while I was icing down the breast. Or, maybe it was due to the fact that the legs where to close to the outer edge of the grate and the hot air rising dried the legs out. Other than the legs the rest of the bird was done to perfection.

She had a very mild smoky flavor to her with a hint of the Jack Daniels and Syrup. Both were very subtle. I was a little concerned about using three chunks of wood but the bird handled it very well.

Overall a best for me turkey wise and I'll definitely ice my breasts from now on. Not many leftovers, a little white meat, the wings and one dry leg left. Gravy was a huge hit and everyone commented that it was the best gravy they'd ever had, I'm so glad I bought the roasting pan for the drippings. I also did some almond green beans and caramelized onions that were a major hit. You can see them in the messy gravy picture. Highly recommend.

This cook as left me wondering why I don't do turkey more often.

Many thanks to everyone who helped out with my many questions. If I wasn't hung-over I'd lift a glass in toast to you . . . maybe tomorrow night


Per a couple of requests here's the recipe:
Jack Daniels Maple Syrup Turkey
Container large enough to brine your turkey in (a 5 gallon food grade container works well for large birds)
2 cups maple syrup
1 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Remainder of container filled with salt water mixture with ½ cup table salt per gallon of water (you can also add apples oranges etc.)
Ice can be added to brine to insure safe temperatures
Brine in refrigerator for 24 - 36 hours, rinse bird and allow to air dry in the refrigerator overnight
Season cavity, place carrots, celery, pierced lemon and anything else you desire in cavity.
Butter and season skin
Smoke or grill to 155 Breast/175 Thigh, cherry or other fruit wood recommended
Be sure to use a drip pan below your bird to capture all the "goodness" for your gravy.
Note: I ice down the breast for approximately 45 minutes prior to cooking. This helps the breast and thigh come to temp. at the same time. Ziplock bags of ice work well.
 
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Clark Deutscher

TVWBB All-Star
that bird looks excellent! Great job. Now for the questions......

Do you ever use your brine for chicken?

Do you find the ice made a considerable difference in gettting the white and dark meat done at the same time? I'm guessing yes given your comments but figured I'd check.

Clark
 

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
Q - Do you ever use your brine for chicken?
A - No, have only used it on Turkey . . . I think it would be great though.

Q - Do you find the ice made a considerable difference in gettting the white and dark meat done at the same time? I'm guessing yes given your comments but figured I'd check.
A - Yes, I do think it made the difference in getting the two finished at the same time. However next time I don't think I'll ice as long, as the legs got to warm . . . or maybe it's because they're on the outside of the grate. I'd be interested in one of the vets thoughts on this.
 

Matt Albright

TVWBB Member
I know it's been over a year since you posted, but if you read this, is there any chance we could get the brine recipe?

TIA

-Matt
 

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LarryR:
However next time I don't think I'll ice as long, as the legs got to warm . . . or maybe it's because they're on the outside of the grate. I'd be interested in one of the vets thoughts on this. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Larry, Everytime I cook turkeys, the outer layer of the legs get very dry, because IMO of them being so close or in the hot zone of the WSM. I never have this issue when doing a chicken, only with Tom the Turkey. I don't do dark meat usually, and give it to my feline friends, they seem to like it.
HTH
 

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Clark Deutscher:
Do you ever use your brine for chicken?

Clark </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Well Clark, tonight I did the brine on a chicken and other than leaving her in the brine maybe an hour to long, she was awesome! Highly recommend.
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
I plan to do a full bird in the oven this year, but will also do a breast in the WSM. I'd like to use the JD brine on the breast. Any reason why that wouldn't work on just a breast? Should I brine for a shorter period? Thanks!
 

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
JimK, nope, I do it all the time, I think I cut the brining time down to about 8 - 12 hours in the brine and they turn out great!
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LarryR:
JimK, nope, I do it all the time, I think I cut the brining time down to about 8 - 12 hours in the brine and they turn out great! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Larry!

Mmmmm. Bourbon and Maple Syrup Wednesday morning...
 

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by David Smith:
Is pickling salt the same thing as pickling spice? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>No sir. Pickling salt is salt free of anti-caking agents and is NOT iodized. Pickling spice is a collection of mostly whole spices that give the 'bread and butter' pickle taste.
 

Paul K

TVWBB Guru
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Is pickling salt the same thing as pickling spice? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
No. Pickling salt is salt (sodium chloride) without the iodine and anti-caking additive (turns pickles dark).

Pickling spice can be a number of spices like this.

Paul

Shawn...I did it again!
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
Next question: I haven't looked yet, but can pickling spice be found easily at grocery stores?

Man, I can't wait to try this brine. Being a bourbon lover, I'm just drooling over this.
 

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
Jim, yes you should be able to buy it off the shelf and most grocery stores. Since you're a bourbon lover I'd suggest kicking the bourbon up just a bit, maybe by 1/2 of a cup I do


EDIT: Just read that you're doing this on a breast (above), I wouldn't adjust the Jack.
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
Thanks Larry!

OK, one more question: Can I substitute Morton coarse kosher salt for table salt? Same amount?

(OK, that was two questions.
)
 

JimK

TVWBB Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LarryR:
ABSOLUTELY </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

WOW!! This site has everything!!
 

Tony C.

TVWBB Wizard
ok larry, i think i may be trying out your method for cooking even though i used the apple brine.i'll change my mind again in 20 minutes though..lmao.. one thing for you to ponder. what if i iced the breast down IN the fridge for an hour or so. that way the drumsticks don't get too warm sitting on the counter. maybe that will stop them from drying out?
 

LarryR

TVWBB Diamond Member
In my opinion doing it in the fridge doesn't work as well. When done properly (20 - 30 min. icing period depending on the size of the bird) it works like a champ every time. Last year I left her on the counter too long (I think an hour) and that allowed the legs to get too warm.

I used this method on this COOK and only iced 30 min and the legs were perfect. My .02

My birds have been brining since 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning, I'll remove and rinse tonight for air drying. Here are some PICTURES so far. Orange Homer's Bucket is Keri's Apple Brine. Happy Thanksgiving!
 

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