Cured Whole Muscle Meat 201- Cured & Smoked Turkey
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
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 keeping the meat from drying out as easily.
24 lb Turkey (figure 1/2 hour of smoking per lb of meat)
1 Bag of Walton’s Complete Turkey Cure
Rosemary Basil & Thyme
1 Stick of Butter
Walton’s Automatic Syringe Injector
Auto-Load Hog Ring Pliers
Stark Bucket Liner
Food Storage Container
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 from 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 1st, 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 much easier and easier to 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 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 ham while we let it sit in the cooler overnight. We want this to be a 50% strength solution so our options are, either 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 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
Watch WaltonsTV: Ham Basics