The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thanksgiving -Brined, Cajun Injected, Smoked Fresh Turkey

jim baugh's picture
jim baugh

Thanksgiving -Brined, Cajun Injected, Smoked Fresh Turkey

If you like a LOT of flavor in your Turkey and also one that is super moist, this is one of my recipes you have got to try. This combines all of my favorite cooking tricks including: Brining, Injecting, Smoking, and steaming aromatics.
First off you need to do JB's brining method which is simple and more healthy than traditional brining. Start with water, enough to cover your bird in a pot. Take out the bird and add to the water 1\2 cup of salt and 1\2 cup of sugar. This recipe uses about half the amount of salt in typical brining. This will reduce the sodium content some of which for a lot of us is a good thing. Also add two cups of Cajun Creole sauce and three large elephant garlic cloves, some fresh cracked peppercorns, chives and some crushed red pepper. The last ingredient is one cup of apple cider vinegar.
Before you put the bird back in the brining pot, inject the Turkey with some Cajun Creole Butter sauce. Then, place bird in pot to get ready for the fridge.
Place the Turkey back in the pot and refrigerate over night. Usually I like to brine just fresh Turkey breast, not the entire bird. This is just easier all the way around. This Turkey is also a bird that I will serve on the side for dinner. A lot of people only like tradition, dry, flavorless, white bird for their Thanksgiving. So, to be safe, I usually always will cook several birds. One smoked or deep fried. A traditional in the oven, and then this recipe which is my favorite.
After a good 24 hour soak, dump the brine and wash the Turkey. Next, get your beer butt holders ready with beer and your favorite spices. I like garlic, franks red hot sauce, vinegar and chives. Put it all in the beer can with some beer and stuff it up the Turkey cavity. When cooking with beer cans stuffed in either Chicken or Turkey, take some chef scissors and cut the top off. Don't just open the beer can, "Pop Top". You really want to remove the top part of the can. This allows much better flow of aroma and moisture going into the bird. This also makes it real easy to add aromatics.
Before going to the grill, use your favorite rub and give the bird a good spice rub down. My favorite is Caribbean Jerk seasoning.
Now, prep your smoker by adding water and beer into the moisture pail, or drip pan. Also add some fresh herbs. More elephant garlic, peppercorns, etc.
Put you bird on the smoker and smoke the Turkey with Apple and Cherry wood chunks until done.
After the Turkey is cooked place it back in a container with aluminum foil with a good tight seal to it. Let sit for one more hour. This REALLY allows the juice to re absorb into the meat. The turkey will still be very warm even after an hour sit at room temp. Also, leave the skin on during the resting period. Do not take the skin off until ready to slice. To serve, I like to cut the entire breast out in one piece per side. Then slice down the back side of the breast. This makes for a real nice cut of meat and it is easy to control.
I don't know of a bird that has more flavor than this recipe. My next favorite would be deep fried with different injections. With out a doubt, this tops them all and your guest will be in for a real treat. There is also nothing at all difficult about this recipe, although it does require a good smoker. If you have not gotten a smoker yet, This Thanksgiving give yourself, your friends and family a real treat- go buy a smoker. They are only around $70 bucks or so and last for years.
Try it!!! Happy thanksgiving to all!!!!! Now, I am heading to the mountains with my daughter to Uncle Bills where Bill is smoking and deep frying birds, and I am taking some of my chef specialty cookware and making homemade Grilled Turkey Pizza!!!


Above pic is half of the breast with the skin on. Leave skin on until
ready to cut and serve, this helps retain moisture in the meat.
The piece of the other breast half is what the meat
looks like without the skin. Discarded skin is great used in
Turkey Gravey, adds a nice smokey flavor

I wish my son Ben could of joined us this year. He is in Washington State and can't make it out this year. We will miss him!!! Love ya bud. Also like to wish Ruthie a safe trip to PA to see her folks over the holiday. Also a big Happy Turkey day to my parents, hope yall have a relaxing weekend.
Cheers and Chow!
Jim Baugh JBO TV