Drew Bob’s Open Pit Smoke House…

On Wednesday I took delivery of:

Qty Desc Weight
1 17004 Weber Apple Chips – 1.36kg
1 1009 Heat Beads – 4kg
1 16012 Weber Premium Briquettes – 7kg
1 6456 Weber Style Gloves

On Saturday I went to Costco and purchase a ½ turkey breast crown.
Turkey Breast

I removed the bag and nappy, rinsed and dried it was ready for the brine.
Turkey Breast Packaging removed

I do not have a big enough fridge to hold a 5 gallon bucket so I used my little 6 pack cooler. The brine is:

1/3 cup Maldon Sea Salt
1/3 cup Smoked Maldon Sea Salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic granules

Brine Ingredients

Add enough cold water to fill the cooler half way up. Since the cooling method is ice, leave some extra room. Stir until all salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the turkey breast and cover with ice. Top up the ice when the temperature gets above 4° C. It is important to make sure the water does not get warm because this can be a health hazard, so lots more ice before bed and up at 4:00 AM to top up, then back to bed.

The next day remove the breast from the brine, rinse then dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack over a pan to come to room temperature for an hour. Meanwhile try and like the charcoal….grrrr. Now I remember why I went to the dark side and started using a gas BBQ. I was using a new piece of kit from Weber which is a quick start chimney for briquettes (basically a large can with a handle). I was going to use the minion method of smoking, which consists of putting a stoking hot chimney of charcoal in the middle of the smoker and then surrounding them with more unlit briquettes. To smoke the breast it will take at least 4 hours so low and slow is the way forward and the heat should work from the centre to the edge and light the briquettes over time. But you have to get started first :-( and I was using newspaper that comes free through the door. Unfortunately it stays out in the rain and then gets delivered through my door and then put in to the recycling in the damp garage, so the best I got out of this was a disgusting smoulder. I was trying to light the Heat Beads which are compressed charcoal so they are even more difficult to light. In desperation after an hour I rammed the chimney with lint from my tumble dryer, and one match we were off. Next time the newspaper is stored in the airing cupboard not the garage.

After about half an hour I had red hot briquettes which were put into the bottom of the smoker. I then put some more briquettes around the outside and put two handfuls of apple wood chips and two chunks of oak in between the lit briquettes and the unlit briquettes. I filled the water bowl with three woks of hot water from the sink and added the smoking rack and turkey breast. Now were smokin…
Smoking

I started with all the vents open half way (3 on the bottom, 1 on the top) but it failed to get to temperature. So I opened them all up and we were away up to the proper temperature.
Taking Temperature

This was on about 11:00 A.M. after the hour delay getting the coals to heat. So a 7 pound breast should be done in 210 minutes if you cook it at 225° F. At about 4:00 P.M. I tested the temp and it was too low so I decided to finish the turkey in the oven as it was getting dark and I needed to clean up so I pulled the turkey from the smoker.
Finished Smoking

I think this affected the finished product as my oven is a fan oven a we lost quite a bit of moisture to the pan during the last bit of cooking.

Here is the finished product from the top.
Top

Here is the finished product from the bottom.
Bottom

But the question on everyone’s lips is… What about my ring?
Smoke Ring

Smoke ring that is.

“A smoke ring is a pink discoloration of meat just under the surface crust (called bark). It can be just a thin line of pink or a rather thick layer. A good smoke ring is around 1/4 inch in thickness. The smoke rings are caused by nitric acid building up in the surface of meat, absorbed from the surface. This nitric acid is formed when nitrogen dioxide from wood combustion in smoke mixes with water in the meat. Basically it is a chemical reaction between the smoke and the meat. ”

And mine is well over ¼ of an inch – boooo yaaaahhhh

Conclusion:
Meat smells like apple smoke.
Meat tastes sweet and smoky.
Meat has a great bark and ring.
Meat is a bit dry due to finish in fan oven, but what do you expect when you are smokin in January.

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