First smoked turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by tamarockstar88, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. For easter I'm going to be doing my first smoked turkey. I plan on brining for 24 hours, injecting, and then spritzing throughout the cooking process. I had a few questions because I have seen a lot of different things as far as temperatures for smoking and times.

    The turkey I have is just over 13 lbs, not huge but I've seen suggested cooking time at an hour per pound. If that's how long it's going to take then I considered either cutting the breasts and doing them bone in, but going more towards spatchcocking it to keep it all intact but to just lower the cooking time. I have to work Sunday and were having dinner sunday night so I don't have 13 hours to do it unless I start around 3, 4 in the AM.

    Second: the cooking temps. Ive read are anywhere from 220 - 300. The book I have says 300* will render the fat from the skin while cooking and for a time it says it will take 4-5 hours for a 12- 14lb bird, is that accurate?

    So If 300* would be an accurate temp and it would take 4-5 hours I should be able to do it. However if the temp should be lower and it takes far longer I'm going to have to spatchcock it.


    Whats the recommended temperature for smoking whole turkey?

    Whats the estimated time at that temp for a whole 13lb bird or per # ?

    If I spatchcock it should I use the same temp or change it?

    And if I spatchcock the bird what would the estimated time be per # ?

    The book also suggests brining for 24 hours, patting it dry and then allowing to air dry under refrigeration for 12 hours. Says this allows the smoke to better penetrate the meat.

    Besides that, I plan on doing the slaughterhouse brine, injection, and spritz with only a few slight alterations. going to use apple and hickory for woods, and also thinking about adding some herbs for aromatics.

    Any other suggestions or tips welcome

  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would smoke it around 275 to 300 range should get you done in 4 or 5 hours.

    24 hours for the brine is good, as far as "spritzing" don"t need to.

    every time you open the smoker you lose heat and add time .

    I put Butter and garlic mix under the skin that will help keep it moist
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  4. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    I've done turkeys at 350.  Cook time is roughly comparable to doing it in your oven and it picks up plenty of smoke in that time.  The last few I've done have been amazing.  You go through fuel fairly quick at that temp though.  I've done them this way in my offset and in a Weber grill by setting it up for indirect heat.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if 350 is good for oven cooking a turkey, it should work in a smoker.  Plus I think meat picks up about all the smoke flavor it's going to pick up in the first few hours anyway, so I don't know if you sacrifice anything by not doing the traditional low and slow you'd do with other cuts of meat.

    But like I said, correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. awesome, so ill be able to keep it whole and get it done in time. I'll make sure I get some pictures.
  6. In my experience spatchcocking can about halve the time required if the bird is in good contact with a grate.
    I discretely expose the joints to ensure she/he cooks evenly.

  7.  Martin, how do you "discretely" expose the joints? How would you expose the thigh joint which is always the last thing done? Do you mean to cut into them?

    Please explain.


  8. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Discretion is sometimes the honourable form of valour. It is discrete, not the "spell it as it sounds" discreet. Don't trust your independent minded Webster for proper spelling.
  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with Martin, the joints gather blood and you "pop" the thigh bone from the pelvic socket on the interior of the thigh, and then dissect the thigh half-way through from the leg on the interior also so the joints have been separated, but not cut all the way through.  This speeds cooking and releases bloody joint fluid.  With my wife, if there is even a wisp of blood in the joints, I get "IT'S NOT DONE!!" and it goes back in until the joints are clear.  The chicken can be leather, but if there's blood..."IT'S NOT DONE!!"  lol.   I've had to do that for years!  Even on a bag of cheap

    leg quarters, always pop the hip socket and the knee socket!

  10. It's been a long ass day of cooking for me. Got up early and prepared the turkey and got it going. I injected it with the slaughterhouse injection, and gave it a garlic olive oil rub down with some thyme and seasonings. Popped it in the smoker at 9:30 at 275* along with a pan of onion and bacon baked beans. I also smoked some garlic for mashed potatoes. It cooked a lot faster than i was expecting so half way through I dropped the temp to about 225*. Last hour of cooking I applied another coat of olive oil just to keep the skin nice and brown. I think it took 4 hours to cook, then I wrapped it in foil and in a towel and kept it in a sealed container. When I cut into it, it was absolutely the moistest turkey I've ever had.

    After doing that all morning I went to work where it wasn't busy so all I did was prepare a huge meal for everyone. One of our managers got 2 precooked hams, potatoes, and carrots, I smoked the ham for about 2 hours with a pan of my beans cooking under it and smoked some more garlic for mashed potatoes. Glazed the ham and carved it up and tossed it in some more of the glaze with some pineapple. Everyone loved it and one person said it was the best basic meal he had ever eaten, and also added that his parents saved him a plate of ham for later that he assured me wouldn't be nearly as good as mine haha.

    Anyways the turkey came out great and was just enough for everyone. Beans came out awesome as well, so everything was a success including the ham glaze which people said they loved.

    First hour in the smoker                  On the platter ready for carving

  11. Great looking bird!
  12. jbar

    jbar Newbie

    Hey jrod62,  please tell me more about the butter/garlic mix & how do you get it under the skin?
  13. greenrn

    greenrn Fire Starter

    Today I plan to smoke a rack of ribs, a pork butt for pulled pork and a turkey breast. I want to cook my pork at 225, but it looks as tho I need the temp greater for the turkey breast. Any suggestions?

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