Turkey Q View

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by nh3b's, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Yesterday I smoked a turkey. It was the first one in this smoker (Char broil offset) I used Jeffs brine and cooking methods, in witch, tasted very good. This is the second turkey I have ever done.

    The first one I did was a 20 lb bird in a brinkmann vertical propane. I ended up throwing it away because it was just too big of a bird and ended up burning and rotted on inside. I also got rid of smoker because I found it got TOO hot.

    Stoking the flame

    After a couple hours of burning wood I finally got the smoker temp stablized

    Bird on and a pretty site!

    The problem Ive found with burning wood is inconsistant temps...lots of babysitting.

    Well, here it is, 18 logs, 10 beers and 6.5 hrs later. I know its not the most attractive looking bird but it was moist and tender. I had 180 on the thighs and legs and 175 on breasts when I took it off. During the cooking I expierienced a couple of green logs.....smoker would go down to 180 but I would compensate by stoking up to 290......on the average I smoked at about 240 I think.
  2. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Bird looks good.
    Nice use of the Fluke multimeter!

    As far as burning wood. It is going to be more difficult. You might try pre-burning the wood, to get hot coals and then just adding hot coals for the heat. Throw on a chunk of wood for smoke.
    I Personally don't burn straight wood in the Silver Smoker. Although it says it is fine.
  3. smokeys my pet

    smokeys my pet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice lookin bird!!!!!!! Wood burning can be a little tuffer in this style pit but do as suggested and preburn and it will help!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have used charcoal start and then straight wood in my char griller pro... i find my stuff turns out much better with lump... i did have better luck when i pre heated my wood on top of my firebox.... but have ended up liking the lump much better...

    the only problem i see with your tactics is 6.5 hours= 10 beers.... drink faster... lol
  5. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, The temp probe says "not recommended for cooking" but its rated for 500 degrees and I have had no probs with it. For $20, (temp probe only), works for me.

    I dont understand what you mean by "pre burning". Blow torch? After several logs, I had a big pile of ash and coal at the bottom, altho the top of pile was orangeish, below turned black and had to be stirred. Even than, it wouldent catch. I beleve tho that was the green wood effect and maybey a combo of lack of oxygyn (pardon my spelling but I was hittin on the girl in front of me in english class in HS [​IMG] ) Anyhow, when I saw it was smoldering and wasent burning, I emptied the ash and coal at bottom and ran inside for 2 dry logs....quickly as my temp was falling.
  6. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Ill have to find a medium with using charcoal.....I sometimes find i get that "charcoal taste". I think from Lighter fluid....."Now DATS a fire"...lol

    Thanks for the tip on pre heating wood.....i like that idea
  7. jmedic25

    jmedic25 Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Ok NH, I think you need a little help. First of all I think that your first bird looked fine! I am glad that it tasted good and you are happy. I read a few things that you might consider changing in the future. I believe you might get even better results.

    1. Only use lump charcoal. In a offset smoker your size the firebox is too close to the meat to burn full logs. This is why you have a black look to your bird. I would take the advice of busted luck and only use chunks for flavor. I put them on the outskirts of the fire so they smolder better. Preburning is good too but IMO too wasteful and time consuming. Many people have success with it.
    2. Get yourself a weber chimney starter. http://store.weber.com/Search/?q=chimney starter Lighter fluid tastes bad. You burp it up for hours and it cant be good for you. This starter will get some lump charcoal humming in about 10 min. No fluid! Also make sure all of your coal is burning grey/white before you add it to the firebox.
    3. Rub your bird with some oil. Will help "brown" the bird instead of blackening.
    4. Don't over shoot temps. You said, This is not really how it works. While smoking a turkey is best done at 325-350 so you were under the range. If you were smoking a butt this would lead tough meat. Low and slow is the key. However when dealing with turkey's, chicken's, ect you can bump up the temp too higher because we are not trying to tenderize turkey like pork. We are not looking for a collagen breakdown in bird meat. We Only want to flavor with smoke. Brining is a must!
    5. Smaller turkeys. You already had a problem with a 20 pounder. I think you learned this the hard way. about 15 lbs is max. You must get the turkey out of the "danger zone" quickly. Meaning getting the entire bird form 40deg to over 140 quicker. This may be why the inside of your big bird was rotten. This is very disturbing. Using higher temps will help solve this problem.
    6. Remember that cooking on a small offset requires more fire tending. You don't have real thick steel help with heat distribution so you need to cook with a small, hot, clean fire. If you can cook on a small offset you can cook on anything.

    You skills will improve rapidly. Thank you for sharing your q-view. Hope to see many more from you!!! And always remember Thin Blue Smoke tastes best.
  8. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Yes, I will take all the help I can get....That is why I signed up for this forum group. While I know cooking is like building, everyone has their own styles and methods, I am a perfectionist at heart and like to know what it is I am doing and why Im doing it. I know it can be bad, but, it makes me good at what I set out to do.

    I am gaining knowlege by being here, and, just from this post I have learned a couple of things that I will try (DS and Busted) However, there are some things that I dont understand from you jmedic so,....lets converse

    I understand and agree the firebox is too close. As long as the temp is where it should be, isint that the key? Im thinking of the smoker as an oven. As far as Chunks go, I understand and will play with charcoal/wood in future. I do not understand yet "preburning"

    [QUOTE2. Get yourself a weber chimney starter. http://store.weber.com/Search/?q=chimney starter Lighter fluid tastes bad. You burp it up for hours and it cant be good for you. This starter will get some lump charcoal humming in about 10 min. No fluid! Also make sure all of your coal is burning grey/white before you add it to the firebox.][/quote]

    Ill try it and lighter fluid does taste NASTY!

    Well as I said, He states basting the bird every hour or so with butter. I did that. I started thinking olive oil.

    Here is where ya kinda lost me, Its understandable saying 325-350 is where ya cook a turkey. When I oven bake a turkey, I go 325 for an 11-12 lbd bird for 4-6 hrs in foil and butter it the last 30 min uncovered to cooking to brown. Every recipie in most smoking cookbooks 225 seems to be the "magical number". With the exception of Fish and Jerkey witch seems to be 180. So, I understand about low and slow. So.....225 WOULD put the bird in the 40-140 danger zone??

    I COMPENSATED my smoker going down to 180 for 30-45 min by bringing temp up to 290 for a half hour. I can see where this would have burned the turkey. I was more concerned with salmonella than apperance. With more exp....and maybey a better smoker....Ill acheve apperance.

    I also understand that Ill have to learn about collagen breakdown it will help my beef and pork.

    It was disturbing for me too.....a waste of 12 hrs as well. My bird was 11 lbds, again, why 325-350 in a smoker.....isint "low and slow the key for tenderization" It would seem cranking my smoker up to 325-350 would dry the bird out....unless i wrapped it in aluminum foil to seal the juces in....to keep it moist and than, wouldent that prevent the smoke from entering the meat?

    Yea it does.....makes it fun tho. Im always thinking as Im tending the fire of different ways to improve. No, its not real thick steel and most likely its steel from China so its not quality so, it will be replaced in a couple years. I believe you can cook on anything as long as you can improvise and have patience and knowlege.

    I hope ya get my questions
  9. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Pre-burning the wood is where you burn the wood in another barrell, stove or something. When you have nice hot coals you scope them out and put them in your smoker and use them for heat. You continue to burn wood in the other item to keep up the production of coals and continue adding as needed. You add wood chunks for your smoke.
    As far as a charcoal taste if you use Lump you don't get that taste.
  10. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Gotchya DS......somethin like making your own charcoal except with wood. Maybey I could start saving stuff out of the fireplace[​IMG] and just keep bagging it.
  11. ds7662

    ds7662 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yes you could NH. Basically that is what Lump is. Charred wood. [​IMG][​IMG]
  12. jmedic25

    jmedic25 Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I re read my original post and agree that I might need too explain better. The Danger zone refers to the internal temp. of the meat not the smoker. It is the same reason that it is best to start smoking meat that has been allowed to come up to room temp. The Danger Zone is around 40 deg- to 140 deg. Thereabouts... You simply do not want your meat (whatever it is) to "linger" in this range for too long. That is why you oven bake a turkey at a higher temp. The statement you made about the smoker being like an oven is dead on. I think of it as a crock pot too. Ok tenderness and low and slow. Chicken's, Turkeys, tenderloins, steaks do not need to be slow cooked (temp 225). In fact it is convenient that chickens,turkeys. ect.. can be cooked quickly so you can eat them the same day as you start cooking. Unlike a 12 lb brisket that may take 20 hrs. You cook tough cuts of pork like butts, shoulders, and ribs at 225 to allow the collagen in the meat to break down slowly and the fat slowly renders out and deep bastes the meat. If you try and rush this by increasing the temps you will cause the strands of collagen to contract and the meat will toughen rather than soften. I will try and find you the article I read on this subject. I can not explain that as well as others on this forum. I hope this clarified everything. BTW this is exactly how my turkey looked when I cooked it on my small offset. I think when you raise the temp on a small offset you get the burning because the fire is just too close to the food. The best way I have found to combat this is to use lump because it does not burn a flame but rather a glowing coal. This helps from sending fire into the cooking chamber. Oh yeah if you raise the smoker temp on chickens and turkeys it will crisp the skin which is a good thing is its controlled.
  13. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Im understanding what your saying, however, I dont understand why most smoke cookbooks Ive read say 225. With the thought of my smoker being like a oven, for some reason, I feel that if I put a bird on a smoker at 325, it would dry it out, unless it was covered with foil and in a pan witch the meat bakes in its juices. I think covering it would restrict smoke flow and somewhat defeat the purpose of smoking. I could be wrong.

    Ive read about the cheesecloth thing and does sound like a good idea for preserving the skin and smoking. This is what Im aiming for. Appearance and flavor. Thanksgiving is a long way away so, Ill be eating alot of turkey this summer and will try many methods including smoking my bird at 325-350. Something does tell me the 225-240 bird will be juicier.

    Also....Im gonna do some building and fabricating this summer [​IMG][​IMG]

    Thanks for your imput
  14. jmedic25

    jmedic25 Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Your turkey won't dry out as long as you don't overcook it. Since you are brining already that gives you a little more leeway. Use your thermo and pull the bird at 160 in the thickest part of the breast. You can really shorten you cooking time with higher temps and you save fuel. Well maybe a little. Just stick to your therm and you wont go wrong. Save the low and slow for ribs, shoulders, brisket, butts. Also I agree with you about the foil. I only use foil after I know the meat has been in the smoke long enough. I don't foil turkeys.
  15. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Allllrightee than, The next bird Im doing Ill follow your advice. 325-350 and pull the bird out at 160 on the breast. Ill use the same brine, same wood and obviously the same cooking procedure. Ill see if there is a difference in taste and texture. I do understand what your saying that birds dont have to be low and slow.

    I was pleased with the taste of my bird and it was juicy and tender. No matter what, I dont think there is a way to save skin smoking. Unless I do the cheesecloth thing, witch I will try too.

    I kinda feel like mythbusters here lol. Again, thanks. Ill let ya know
  16. bustedluckbarbq

    bustedluckbarbq Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another point someone mentioned earlier... Never use lighter fluid!! when your using charcoal - Lump or otherwise- start it in a chimney the add the lit coals....
  17. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Yea, JMedic was talking about the chimney fire starter.....Ill have to try that. How do ya light charcoal or lump w/o lighter fluid? I guess Ill have to start researching here. Ive seen "lump charcoal" in stores but never bought any. I never lit charcoal without lighter fluid.

    As for now I am smoking with 100% wood. Heat and smoke source. Althogh I like the idea and challenge of controlling my heat, it is wasteful. Like I said, 18 logs and 10 beers. I could have drank more if I wasent tending fire. lol.
  18. ikebbq

    ikebbq Fire Starter

    Get a chimney starter and fill it up with charcoal, then take some newspaper and ball/crunch/whatever and place it under the chimney. Should have ashed over coals in about 20-30 minutes.
  19. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Allright....cool. Thank you everyone
  20. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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