How to Cook a Turkey - Cured Whole Muscle Meat 201
How to Cook a Turkey
The first thing to do is to create your injection solution, and the first step of that is to figure out how much water you need to use. Walton’s Complete Turkey Cure requires 1.49 lb of seasoning to 1 gallon of water for a 10% pump. This means that if your turkey weighs 24 lb (like ours), we want to inject 10% of that weight into the turkey, so 2.4 lb. Since 1 gallon of water weighs 8.34 lb, this would technically be enough to inject more than 80 lb of turkey, so you obviously don’t need the entire gallon for injection purposes. However, we still recommend you make the entire gallon, as you can use the remaining amount for the base of your 50% cover solution to hold the product overnight.
It is very important to use water that has low microbial levels and low to no chlorine; buying distilled water from your grocery store is a good way to ensure you will not have any issues with the water. If you are using tap water, leave it in an uncovered container in a cooler overnight to let any of the gas escape the water.
Fully dissolve the Sodium Phosphate in 1 gallon of water. You want to figure the amount of phosphate by the # of lb your meat is (injection is able to do). So, you would use 4 oz of Sodium Phosphate for 25 lb of meat, so, divide 4/25, and that gives you the # of oz per lb of meat, then multiply that number by the lb of meat you have, and that is the amount of Sodium Phosphate you need. IMPORTANT Dissolve your sodium phosphate first, before any other ingredients, and make sure it is fully dissolved.
Mix in 1.49 lb of Walton’s Complete Turkey Cure into your injection solution. Keep mixing until you are certain all of it has been dissolved, and you don’t have anything at the bottom.
You want to inject 10% of the weight of your turkey with the solution. Putting your turkey in a Poly Pan or Meat Lug will make this process much easier, including clean-up. You can either weigh your turkey as you are injecting it or, if it is easier, you can weigh your solution as you inject.
You will want to inject the bulk of your solution into the breast meat, but also inject some into the drumsticks.
Mix Rosemary Basil & Thyme with a stick of softened butter. Separate the skin from the breast meat by slowly sliding your hand between the meat and the skin. Once you begin this process, it is fairly simple but be careful not to tear the skin. Rub the mixture of butter and seasoning underneath the skin of the breast and then on the outside of the skin and the legs.
Then we will use the remaining cure solution to cover our turkey while we let it sit in the cooler overnight. We want this to be a 50% strength solution, so our options are either to use the cure at the rate of 1 lb per gallon of water, or we can weigh what we have leftover from our injection and add whatever it weighs in water so the cure would now be at a 50% strength solution.
Next, it needs to be stuffed into a casing like Versanet so that it can then be hung in the smokehouse. We like versanet as it is a plastic product that releases easily from the turkey after the smoking process and leaves a very nice checkered pattern on your turkey.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
1 Hour at 150° with no smoke or humidity
1 Hour 160° and begin smoking and adding humidity
175° until internal temperature reaches 165° (Figure 1/2 hour for each lb of turkey)
Serve hot or let it cool for 1 hour at room temperature before moving it to the fridge for holding overnight before vacuum packing.
Now we have a beautiful homemade smoked turkey that is going to taste at least as good as anything bought in the store!
- Add some baking powder to your rub if you want extra crispy skin (thanks, Tex_77)
- You can brine the turkey if you do not want to inject, just use full strength solution and hold for 3-4 days.
What Is Cured Turkey?
Cured Turkey is a turkey that has either been brined in a solution that contains nitrites or has had a solution containing nitrites injected into it. The curing process allows for lower smoking temperatures as the curing agent will help to retard the growth of bacteria and will impart a slight ham-like flavor to the meat, as well as keep the meat from drying out as easily.
Watch How To Cook A Turkey
I used this for a frozen breast that came with a brine solution already injected. It was too salty. Here is what I think was my mistake. I measured enough solution to inject for a 10% weight of the bird. I did not account for the giblet package nor the extra water weight that the drained from the bird when I took it out of the package.
I am going in for another round and this time I subtracted the solution and the giblet package from the total weight needing to be injected. BTW- the water and giblets combined for 2 lbs of weight!
Will post the outcome of this second bird
Garrisrp Calculating the amount of pump you add at 20% too much could absolutely give you an overly salty product, so I am curious to see if that is what it was. I also wonder what it might have been pumped with to start, did it mention what % it was pumped too? Commercial processors have been know to overpump hams if there was a miscalculation on the ppm of ongoing nitrites but I don’t think that would work in a situation like this.
Winner, winner chicken dinner! The second breast was noticeably less salty after I accounted for the extra weight of the excess salt water and giblet pack! Excellent flavor. It was almost, and I say almost cautiously, a tad on the salty side. Still curious I looked at the label as Johnathon suggested and found this:
Turkey Breast With Ribs, Back Portion, Wing Portion and Neck Skin Containing Approximately 19% Of A Solution Of Turkey Broth, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sugar, Flavoring. Gravy Packet Ingredients: Water, Gravy Seasoning (Dextrose, Food Starch-Modified, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Rendered Chicken Fat, Salt, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Dehydrated Turkey Broth, Dehydrated Cooked Turkey, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors (Contains Torula Yeast), Spice, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate).
It came with a 19% injection already!!! Boy this explains a lot! Thanks Johnathon for pointing me in that direction!
I just ordered a 11 lb lobe without it being already pumped and am going to cure this puppy using the exact recipe. I suspect it is going to turn out fantastic!