Author Topic: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)  (Read 10011 times)

Offline Deflated

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I'm wondering if I did something wrong.  I'll list everything I did and let you all tell me what I did right or wrong or if maybe I just don't like smoked turkey legs.

Last night I mixed up a brine consisting of 8 tsps Instacure #1, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 gallon of water.  I let the brine get cold in the fridge for a few hours and then stuck 6 legs into brine to let them soak over night.  I pulled the legs this morning, after about 9 hours of brine time.  Placed them on the racks in front of a fan to let them dry for about 1 1/2 hours.  While the legs were drying, I got the Bradley all preheated and ready to go.  Put the legs in and let them smoke (Hickory) for 2 1/2 hours at 225 deg.  After 2 1/2 hours the legs were at about 170 so I pulled them and let them cool for a bit.  Took one bite and was tempted to spit it out.  They have very little flavor and are very chewy.  The only think I can say is, they are still very juicy.  Anyone have any idea what I did wrong?  I was so excited to have a nice smoked turkey leg and now I'm so bummed with the results it makes me want to just stick to ribs and pulled pork.  At least I know that comes out good.

Matt

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 12:12:18 pm »
I'm not sure what went wrong, that sounds like my basic process, although I use a different brine mixture.

I'd have to look at home for it, there was salt and brown sugar, no Instacure #1. Instacure #1 has salt in anyways.

Brine time seems about right, I sometimes go to 12 hours.

I use 3 hours of Hickory @200F, but that should not make a huge difference.

Were they overly salty or "hammy" tasting ?
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Offline Deflated

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 01:06:46 pm »
Quite the opposite.  No flavor and tough.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 01:53:12 pm »
Hi Deflated;

Welcome to the forum.

Did you get that brine recipe from any source? The reason I ask is that it really can not be called a brine. A basic flavoring brine will have about 1 cup of salt (some go as low as half cup), and 1 cup of sugar per gallon of water. Adding 8 teaspoons of instacure #1 into a gallon of water is not going to do much. For a gallon of water you will need at least 3 ounces of instacure; which is roughly 1/3 cup (I am at a different computer so I don't have all my information available for the exact amount). Adding about 1/3 cup of instacure #1, you can reduce your salt by the same amount.

As for the texture, from what you described they may have been under cooked, though I only take my turkey legs to 165°F. Is you instant read thermometer accurate, or maybe you only tested only one leg, and the others were not done yet. When I have many pieced of meat on the same tray I test 3 or 4 different piece on the same tray, to ensure all meat is cooked to the internal temperature I want.

It does sound as if you have plenty of turkey for turkey soup, and casseroles; which is not a bad thing.


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Offline OU812

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 02:12:43 pm »
I have never done legs but do whole turkey breast quite often

One of the brine's that I use is 4 oz cure #1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar in one gallon of water, soak for 12 hr rinse and dry.

The 2 1/2 hr at 225 F with an IT of 170 F seems to be a little short on the cook time should be closer to about 4 hr.

You should check your thermometer, sounds like its a little off to me.

Also check the cabnet temp to make sure you really are cooking at 225 F.

Not hot enough not long enough = Tough stuff.

Offline Deflated

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 07:01:19 am »
Well, as it turns out, there was nothing wrong with the turkey legs.  There is something wrong with me however.  I guess I just don't like turkey legs.  They were a big hit over at my sister-in-laws house, last night.  I'm the only one who didn't like them.  Oh well, at least someone liked them.  Thanks for the responses and info.  If I do them again I will adjust the brine to make them have a little more flavor.  Maybe I will like them better next time. 

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 07:15:48 am »
Another thing is.... _most_ smoked food is better the next day.
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Offline smokeitall

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 07:26:53 am »
Well, as it turns out, there was nothing wrong with the turkey legs.  There is something wrong with me however.  I guess I just don't like turkey legs.  They were a big hit over at my sister-in-laws house, last night.  I'm the only one who didn't like them.  Oh well, at least someone liked them.  Thanks for the responses and info.  If I do them again I will adjust the brine to make them have a little more flavor.  Maybe I will like them better next time. 

Also you are the biggest critic of the food you smoke.  Quite often I say "man that really doesn't taste how I wanted it to" and I bring some to work for the guys or my wife and kids try it and say its one of the best they have ever tried.  I keep trying to make that perfect recipe so I can have a standard and I am beginning to think that ever batch is going to taste a little different no matter what I do.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 1st attempt at brining/smoking turkey legs (major disappointment)
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 02:17:02 pm »
Deflated;

I have the same issue when I smoke spareribs, I don't like them but everyone else does.

By the way I forgot to mention, if you use the instacure #1, salt and sugar ratios I posted cut your brining time down to 4 to 6 hours.


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