Here is what you are going to need:
4 – 8 lb. bags of Ice
3 lbs. of thin cut bacon
Two bottles of your favorite Beer
Butcher paper to wrap the finished birds
2 Gallons of Unsweetened Apple Juice
2 Cups of Table Salt (without Iodine) If you use Kosher Salt, add a Third Cup.
1Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of ground Black Pepper
Put a gallon of the apple juice in a pot and bring it to a boil. Add in the salt, brown sugar and pepper and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat, add in the second gallon of apple juice and cool the brine in the refrigerator until it gets cold – about 40 degrees. DO NOT put the bird in the brine until the brine is cold –
Brining the birds:
Once the brine is cold, it’s time to put the birds in the brine.
In a large heavy duty plastic garbage bag, place the birds in the bag. Make sure there are no sharp bones protruding that will puncture the bag!
Place the birds in the bag and pour the brine in the bag on the birds, remove as much air as possible from the bag, and seal tightly
Place two bags of ice on the bottom of the cooler. Then set the bag of birds on the bag of ice. Next set the second two bags of ice on top of the bag of birds. You want the birds sandwiched between the ice so that the liquid brine stays cold. We do NOT want the melted ice to come in contact with the birds as this will dilute your brine.
Close the cover of the cooler and let it set for 12 hours – you need to keep the brine cold and the bags of ice under and over the bag of birds does the trick.
At about the 11th hour of the brining process, light your smoker and get the temperature to a steady 250 degrees
Remove the birds after the 12 hours in the brine, rinse them under cold tap water, and let them dry on the counter while you prepare for the rest of the recipe
PREPARING THE BIRDS for the Smoker
Lightly sprinkle each bird with the DRY bbq seasoning all over the bird and inside the breast cavity.
Wrap each bird with enough thin cut bacon so that the entire bird is covered – usually 5-6 slices – this will keep the bird from drying on the surface during smoking process
Lightly sprinkle the DRY bbq seasoning all over the outside of the bacon covered bird
REPEAT with each bird until all are wrapped and seasoned.
Place the birds in the 250 degree smoker over indirect heat (not knowing what kind of smoker you will be using, just make sure you don’t have the birds over direct heat)
Shut the lid on the smoker (the temperature will dip in the smoker when you place the birds in it – no worries – it will heat back up)
Open your favorite beer with your buddy that was helping you, toast each other, and enjoy the game for the next 2 ½ hour while the birds are on the smoker! – DON’T peak at the birds as you will let the heat out of the smoker – If you’re lookin, you aint cookin!
After 2 ½ hours on the smoker, pull the biggest bird, and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast – If your temperature reading is 160 degrees or higher, you are done! If not, give them another half hour and you should be fine. Again, not knowing what type of smoker you have, I want to make sure the birds get done).
Remove the birds from the smoker, eat the best looking one, and let the rest of them cool. Wrap them in butcher paper and refrigerate the ones you are going to eat/give away in the next couple days, freeze the rest.