• Team Orange Walton's Employee Admin

    Smoked and Cured Whole Turkey

    How To Make Cured & Smoked Turkey

    Meat Block

    15 lb whole turkey


    Walton’s Complete Turkey Cure
    Cold Phosphate
    Sodium Erythorbate - optional, see notes below
    Cold Water - for best results place all water to be used in a container in a fridge overnight and do not use “hard” water


    Food Storage Containers & Brining-Marinating Bucket
    Stark Bucket Liners for Marinating-Brining
    Marinade Injector


    Two steps. First inject, then soak and brine overnight. This two-step process will help immediately begin to get the cure and seasoning into the turkey meat and then let it sit in a diluted cure solution overnight and let things equilibrate so the cure can adequately penetrate all areas of the turkey meat for a more even application

    Prepare your injection solution first. For a 15 lb turkey follow these steps for preparing your injection solution. Start with 1.5 lb (24 oz) of cold water. Add 1.2 oz of cold phosphate to water and mix until completely dissolved. Then, mix 1/3 lb cure (3.1 oz) into the water and mix completely until dissolved and adequately dispersed (general usage - use 1.29 lb of cure to 1 gallon of water for a 10% pump). We recommend making extra of your injection solution, or on a single turkey, just double all the injection ingredients (cure, water, and phosphate) to make twice as much as is needed so you don’t run out during injecting. It’s always better to have a little bit of leftover injection solution. In this case, doubling would mean using 3.0 lb (48 oz) of cold water, 2.4 oz cold phosphate, and 2/3 lb (10.6 oz) of turkey cure.

    Injection - We recommend doing an 8 point injection, with 4 injection points on each half of the turkey. Start with the turkey lying flat on a counter or cutting board and on its back with the bottom facing you. Your first injection will be in the middle of the breast and angled down towards the top of the turkey (repeat this injection on the other breast). Injection number 2 will be parallel to the counter, through the middle of the breast, towards the top of the turkey (repeat on both sides of the turkey breast). The third and fourth injection points will then be into the drumstick and leg and then inject into the thigh muscle (again repeat to inject both halves of the turkey). That gives us 4 injection points on each side of the turkey, for 8 total injection points.

    Brining - Once your injection is complete, you can then brine the turkey overnight in a slightly diluted concentration of cure and water. To help the brine better penetrate through the skin and muscle, you can also slightly pull apart and create gaps in the skin and muscle. To make your cover brine, simply use twice as much water as the general usage that the cure requires. The size of your turkey and the size of container you use will affect how much solution for the cover brine that you will need to make. For a 15 lb turkey and the Walton’s Complete Turkey Cure, we need 10.5 oz (0.66 lb) of cure for each gallon of water. If you determine 3 gallons of cover brine is sufficient to fully submerge the turkey, then you would mix 3 gallons of water with 31.5 oz (1.96 lb) of cure. Simply take a Food Storage Container & Brining-Marinating Bucket, line the bucket with a Stark Bucket Liner, and then place your turkey in the bucket liner and container. Add your cover brine solution until the turkey is fully covered and submerged in the solution. You can then gather the excess of the top of the Stark Bucket Liner, push the turkey down into the solution so it is submerged, and then tie a knot in the top of the bucket liner so the turkey cannot float at the top of the solution and so it remains fully submerged in the brine solution. Hold the turkey in the brine solution overnight or approximately 12+ hours in your refrigerator or cooler (under 40° F)

    After your injection is complete and the turkey has soaked in the brine solution for approximately 12 hours, remove the turkey from the cure and brine solution, discard the brine solution, and then you can begin preparation for cooking and smoking. You can also add an outside rub or seasoning for additional or different flavorings.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    Stage 1 - 125° F for 1 hour with smoker vents open
    Stage 2 - 145° F for 2 hours and begin smoking
    Stage 3 - 200° F until internal meat temp of 165°


    After smoking and cooking is complete, you can immediately eat the turkey
    Or remove from smokehouse and cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then vacuum seal and place the turkey or leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer for later consumption.

    Additional Tips

    • If your smoker cannot go as low as 125° or 145° then use the next lowest temperature setting your smoker can achieve for the first 2 stages of smoking
    • If you are cooking in an oven and cannot add smoke, trying using Hickory Smoke Powder as a substitute. Hickory Smoke Powder can be dissolved in your injection solution and injected directly into the turkey meat

    Try Using Other Excalibur Seasoning Cures

    You can use other types of cures for a different flavor profile. Use the same process as described above, but change the cure usage per the specific requirements of the other cures

    • Use Country Brown Cure at a ratio of 2.0 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for injection and 1.0 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for a cover brine
    • Use Sweeter Than Sweet Cure at a ratio of 1.75 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for injection and 0.875 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for a cover brine
    • Use Blue Ribbon Maple Cure at a ratio of 2.0 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for injection and 1.0 lb of cure per 1 gallon of water for a cover brine

    Other Notes

    • While we do recommend brining overnight, if you do need to quicken your process for making a smoked turkey, you can skip the brining and add Sodium Erythorbate or Cure Excellerator to your injection solution and proceed straight to the smoking step after the injection and seasoning is complete
    • If you only want to brine the turkey and skip the injection process, then hold the turkey in the brine solution for 2 days, but make sure that the holding temp in your refrigerator or cooler does not exceed 35° F for meat safety.

    What Is Cured & Smoked Turkey?

    Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the most popular times that you will find smoked and cured turkey from your local grocery store or meat market, but what about the rest of the year? With Walton’s and Meatgistics learn how to easily make your own homemade cured and smoked turkey so you can enjoy smoked and cured turkey all year long! Curing meats is a process of adding salt, nitrites, and seasoning, plus smoking to assist in meat preservation, plus affect the taste and appearance of meat products. Cured and smoked turkey has a tendency to develop a flavor slightly similar to ham and is a popular choice for many people when preparing a whole turkey for consumption.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Turkey Cure

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Food Storage Containers & Brining-Marinating Bucket

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Stark Bucket Liners

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Marinade Injectors


  • Team Blue

    cornpatachguy You are off by a decimal. It should be telling you that you need .64 lbs… For the ounce measurement, multiply 1.29 by 16 oz and you get 20.64 oz… Half of that would be 10.32 oz…

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    cornpatachguy Also, remember to add that 10.32 oz to half a gallon of water, not a full gallon.

  • Don’t use #'s and oz.'s… use grams…
    1.29#'s per gallon = 586 grams per gallon (1.29X454=586 gms)… Divide by 2 = 292 grams per 1/2 gallon…
    1 gallon = 16 cups… 586 / 16 = ~37 grams per cup of liquid… save money and supplies…

  • Yearling

    curing my first turkey,i ordered waltons complete turkey cure. i did not order cold phosphate,do i have to or need the cold phosphate?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Fire hawg No you do not need it. It is an additive that is designed to increase the pH of your turkey to allow water to bond more effectively with the meat. So, basically, it is going to make your Turkey a little juicier, so it is nice to have but not essential.

  • Yearling

    jonathan,thanks for your help.,fire hawg

  • Is there any drawback to extending the brining time? If I were to inject and brine for 2 hours prior to smoking would there be any negative consequence?

  • Power User Canning Team Orange Regular Contributors Veteran Masterbuilt

    it would depend on what you are injecting with what kind of brine the salts and cure need time to work ,if using a buttermilk brine and injecting with stock or other liquid you should be fine

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Musicsean The downside could possibly be it being overly salty if your brine was very very strong. 2 extra hours isn’t going to hurt anything at all.

  • PK100

    so i am going to use the sweeter than sweet for smoking a turkey, my turkey is 21 lbs would the above 1.75 per gal of water stay the same as long as I inject it to 23.1 lbs? and would the 2.4 ounce of cold phosphate be enough?

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    alex53 11.3g/5lb, 2.2g/1lb cold phosphate per the conversion chart. If you are going pump, add 10% the weight in injected solution, weigh the remaining brine an dilute by half. Pretty much what you already mentioned. If there isn’t enough brine to cover, create an additional 1/2 - 1 gallon. A bucket liner will help keep things covered and clean up.

  • Cast Iron Canning

    So, my son-in-law says to me…ok, since you’re reviving the old smokehouse, I’ve got a couple of turkeys in the freezer to get rid of. How about you smoke them for me? Now I’ve got to peruse the vast knowledge base here and educate myself enough to give it a try. This is fun stuff! I’m on a mission.

  • Canning Dry Cured Sausage Primo Grills Team Blue Sous Vide Power User Cast Iron

    Jonesy Keep us updated on the progress along with pictures.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Jonesy said in How To Make Homemade Cured & Smoked Turkey - Recipe:

    So, my son-in-law says to me…ok, since you’re reviving the old smokehouse, I’ve got a couple of turkeys in the freezer to get rid of. How about you smoke them for me? Now I’ve got to peruse the vast knowledge base here and educate myself enough to give it a try. This is fun stuff! I’m on a mission.

    One important condition for using your smoke house is that it be able to get up to and maintain 200 degrees. That can be tough for some traditional smoke houses made of concrete block or other uninsulated material.

    You would be wise to do some dry runs in the smoke house while monitoring the temperature before taking on the turkeys.

  • Cast Iron Canning

    processhead - Had the smokehouse up to around 250 for a while, when I made my first batch of jerky. As long as I preheat with lump charcoal, I think it should be OK. That’s the plan, at least for now.

  • Cast Iron Canning

    This may come off as rather elementary, but if I’m confused, a hundred other people probably are too. My son-in-law dropped off the 2 frozen turkeys for me to smoke. I read on the wrapping that they contain 9.5% turkey broth, salt, sodium phosphates, sugar & flavoring. Does this mean I should not inject and brine prior to putting them in the smokehouse? Will it be a waste of my Walton’s Turkey Cure, and my Cold Phosphate? I’ve got eight days to figure it out before I fire up the smokehouse.

  • Team Orange Power User Veteran Wisconsin

    Ran across the same thing a couple years back. Was going to brine the bird until I read the label. Smoked it as is. Just added seasoning to it. Came out great. Think it was a Butterball but not certain.

    Definitely would not want to inject and over salt it.

  • Cast Iron Canning

    Thanks for the input. How did you add seasoning to it? An exterior rub?

Suggested Topics

  • 5
  • 46
  • 1
  • 4
  • 26

About Meatgistics

Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's (waltons.com). Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today. We have created Meagistics University, where we broke down meat processing into different categories and then broke it down into a class like structure. The introductory classes are 10s, the intermediate are 20s, and advanced are 30s.

About Walton's

Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

Community Statistics