Turkey Breast - Half Fail

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by turick, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    So my wife found some turkey breast (ie, a whole turkey with the wings and legs removed -- the thing was still 14 pounds) that was like 79 cents per pound, so I decided to smoke it.

    It was in a bag that contained brine already, so I didn't do any type of brining myself.  We rarely smoke food for an actual meal... it's usually so we can have healthy, yummy treats on to snack on throughout the day.  So for this turkey, I didn't care about the skin, I was just after the meat.  The skin is such a thick, seemingly impenetrable membrane, I figured removing it could only allow that much more smoke to get to the meat, so I removed it all and put on a light rub of SPOG, paprika, cayenne pepper, and a bit of sugar. 

    One thing I noticed is that there are still several layers of thin membrane covering the breast meat.  I tried getting my knife underneath it and peeling it away, but every time I did, I noticed there was always another layer underneath that.  It was hard to peel and the layers never ended, so I finally just gave up, figuring that I would already have REALLY smokey turkey since I took the skin off.

    I put it in the MES40 at 250 with hickory blasting it from the AMNPS the whole time.  Truth be told, I accidentally unplugged the MES right after I put it in and once I plugged it back in, I forgot to properly turn it back on, so for the first hour it was getting smoke and the temp was under 200.  So, that should just be even that much more smoke, right?

    When the IT hit ~170 and I pulled it.  It looked great:

    The issue?  Not one hint of smoke flavor, anywhere.  This literally tastes like it was baked in the oven.  Now, it was delicious and we have been eating a lot of good turkey recently, but there's just no smoke flavor at all.

    I have no idea how or why this happened.  Here is my only possible guess....  Almost nobody skins the turkey.  Could it be that the skins is what actually soaks up most of the smoke, and when people eat smoked turkey, they're getting most of that smokey flavor from the skin?  Could those multiple layers of membranes that I left on blocked the smoke from getting to the meat?  I can't think of any other explanation.

    If I do this again, I was thinking about scoring one breast very shallowly to let the smoke actually penetrate the meat, and meticulously removing all of the layers of membrane on the other breast until the actual raw meat is exposed.

    Thoughts? Ideas?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  2. [​IMG]

    How long did you smoke it? You cold light both ends of the AMNPS

    Happy smoken.

  3. It does have a nice color!

    Happy smoken.

  4. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    I honestly can't remember the actual cook time.  I think I put it on around 1PM and then we started getting a lot of company coming over to the house and the beer started flowing.  It wasn't until later in the evening when it reached 170, but I didn't pay attention to the time, so it was definitely in for several hours, especially considering the entire accidental unplugging incident.  So it probably had smoke for at least 4 or 5 hours?
  5. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Also, as far as lighting both ends, it seems like others get good smokes using fruit wood.  I used hickory and for the first 1.5 hours the temp was super low, so it had even extra time in the smoke, and on top of all of that, I removed the skin which should have given the smoke direct contact with the meat (or at least the smoke didn't have to penetrate the skin).

    It just doesn't add up, unless my hypothesis about the skin soaking up most of the smoke and being the primary source of smoke flavor is correct and the membrane I talked about still serves as a barrier to the meat itself actually getting smoke.

    Honestly, that seems far fetched to me, but I have no idea how someone else smoking with cherry and the skin on at shorter smoke times could complain about too much smoke when I got none.
  6. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Even after all your thoughts and trouble , the Breast looked very good.

    I have a suggestion ... start a log book of your cooks and refer to them on your next cooks . This simple sounding trick can bring you to well cook meat and a satisfied feeling when you serve it to Family and Friends.

    have fun and . . .
  7. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the advice!  It did turn out looking very good and tasting very good as well! 

    Is there anybody that can attest to the turkey meat itself getting smokey, or finding that the smokiness is concentrated in the skin when they do turkey?
  8. Looks good. I did my wild turkey this spring with no skin on and it got plenty of smoky flavor. I usually use a pecan/apple mix. Did you allow it to form a pellicle before throwing it in the smoker? Did you just inhale to much smoke over the day and couldn't taste it anymore?

    It looks good anyways.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  9. turick

    turick Meat Mopper

    You know, that is one thing I didn't do.  I took it out of the bag, gave it a good rinse, patted it dry, put on the rub, and threw it in the smoker.  LOL, I usually do inhale so much smoke during the process that I can't truly enjoy my food until the next day :)  Unfortunately, even the next day, the turkey had no smoke flavor.

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