Since Thanksgiving is this week, I thought it be a good idea if I showed you how I brine a turkey and then slow smoke it on the Grill Dome kamado. I cooked one this weekend and it came out really good. My wife claimed it was “the best turkey she’s ever had.” The turkey was unbelievably tender and juicy, and there are two primary reasons for that. The first is that I used a quality brine (Mad Hunky Poultry Brine) which pulls moisture into the meat during the brining process and makes it super tender (more on that below). The second is that I cooked it in a ceramic kamado which basically acts like a convection oven, in that it adsorbs heat in the walls and then radiates it back into the cooking environment which distributes the heat evenly throughout the cooker.
When I decided to brine this turkey with the Mad Hunky brine, instead of attempting to explain to you the brining process in my own words, I figured I should go straight to the source and reached out to Rich Tirpak (owner of Mad Hunky Meats and master of brining…) for his explanation. He’s what he had to say:
“OK… Brining is a chemical process that relies on a process called “osmosis”. Osmosis is widely used in the medical and water purification fields. Essentially is is the movement of molecules from one side of a membrane to another due to a difference in conditions. Almost like heat gets “sucked” to a cold thing.
Anyway… in the food world, brining is accomplished by having a slightly higher salt… or other compound (phosphate) concentration than the food to be brined has. Nature..abhorring a “vacuum” wants to balance things. In the process..the spice/essential oils in the brine seasonings also tend to migrate into the food..along with extra moisture. The difference with a phosphate Vs. a standard saline (salt) brine is that the product will not end up salty if brined too long. It MAY end up mushy and with a “soapy” flavor, but only if the brine is too strong. It’s a balancing act, really. I have designed my brines to be as efficient as possible, yet when used correctly, makes it almost impossible to over-brine. I have run skinless chicken breasts… needed only 4-6 hours tops… 48 hours with no ill effects.
Brines meats should be cooked quickly after the process, and exhibit superior re-heat characteristics due to the extra moisture in the product.”
The turkey brined for 16 hours then I pulled it and dusted it down with the Simply Marvelous Pecan Rub. I cooked it on the Grill Dome over an indirect heat setup with one chunk of pecan smoke wood and one chunk of peach smoke wood (both from Fruita Wood Chunks). Pics and start-to-finish video below. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving!!!