Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Turkey + (Turkey Competition Recipe)

This is a great recipe and method for doing a great whole turkey or just cooking a couple of turkey breasts.

You will be brining and marinading at the same time and this will produce a wonderful result.

This recipe will work for both the turkey breasts and the whole turkeys.

Try to find a clean turkey that is not injected with the salt water and if you can't find one that way, try to get one with the least amount of injected salt water. You can probably find them from about 6 to 13% injected salt water so do go with something around 6% for the best results.

The turkey will be prepped about 12-14 hours before the fire so be sure you have the time.

BRINE, and it is injected into the turkey. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed if using a frozen bird.

This is Shake's Injectable Honey Brine with my slight changes and it is a great brine and I use it for all my poultry.

32 oz of water
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 tsp Tenderquick
1/3 cup honey
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp gound cloves
1/2 tsp pickle spice

Heat this up on the stove to help it dissolve but do not boil or you will ruin it and have to start over. Just get it warmed up. Cool it down before injecting it into the turkey.

This cook included two turkey breasts that will be prepped with my recipe.

This picture shows the brine ready to be injected and also the marinade I use for this recipe.

Yet another couple of breasts ready to be injected. We do this recipe about 6-8 times a year for the turkey breasts.

Inject 2oz in each leg, 2oz in each thigh, 4oz in each side of the breast. This is a total of 16 oz per bird or 8oz per whole breast. MORE is NOT better as it will make the turkey toooo salty!!!

MARINADE....I use Wishbone Robusto Italian salad dressing in the 16oz bottle and you need one bottle for each breast and about two bottles for a whole turkey.

You will be brining and marinading at the same time.

Place the brine injected turkey into a food grade small plastic bag and then pour the Wishbone over the bird. Align the turkey so it is longways in the bag and on one side of the bag. Carefully start at the bottom of the bag using both hands and work all the marinade up around the meat getting most of the air out of the bag and then tie off the bag. Better to have some help with this step. Place the bag and turkey on a platter and put it into the fridge for about 12-14 hours. You might turn it a time or two when you get into the fridge for a beer.

RUB...This rub has no sugar and will not brown or burn at any temp. (thanks mr. db)

1 TBl Salt
1 TBL Paprika
2 tsp Onion powder
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp White pepper

You will also use a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper directly on the turkey.

On cooking day, take the turkey out of the fridge and then out of the bag and set it on a counter top and let it warm up for about 30 minutes. Then sprinkle on a light coat of the rub and then sprinkle on a light coat of the cayenne pepper. Again, more is not better and it is very easy to over season your poultry.

These two turkey breasts are in my contraption all ready to be carried out and dropped into my ceramic cooker as soon as the cooker gets on temp. I like to do the whole turkeys and also the turkey breasts at about 350 degrees indirect on the cookers if possible. It gets the skin better and cooks much quicker and I feel that I get a much better product at this temp.

These are some turkey breasts on my large Egg.

Again, cook the turkey at about 350 degrees using just a very small amount of mild smoke wood untill the internal measured in the thigh is about 170 degrees. Poultry really sucks smoke so do not use much for the best results. It can also be cooked at a lower temp but will take longer and the skin may not get as done or crispy as you like.

This is a whole turkey about half done on my WSM. To do them on this cooker, I run the water pan dry and use lump charcoal and just turn the cooker loose and let it rip. Always get great results.

A couple of breasts just off the cooker.

Now for the contest cookers, I do like to do two breasts along with two of the smallest turkey legs I can find for my contest presentation. Be sure that you do the two legs exactly like the breast as there will be a judge that will select that piece out of the box instead of the breast meat.

Contest Presentation....There are several ways to present the bird in a contest. I like to use a presentation piece like one of the legs in the box at an angle and then fan sliced breast around it and then garnish to look good. Another way that has done well for me is to slice a very thick piece off of one side of the breast and then place it meat side down to where the skin side of the breast shows in the box and then fan the thinly sliced breast meat around it. Just before you close up the box, very carefully spray lightly all the meat in the box out of your pump sprayer with HOT strained low salt chicken broth.



  1. Here via BBQ Blog.

    This is an excellent write up! I brine my breasts and birds and have injected them, but never both. I'll have to give this a shot.

  2. Wish I had this last thanksgiving.... I needed to plan more time!!

    I will link to your blog at

    thanks for spreading the word