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Need some Turkey advise!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have a Masterbuilt upright propane smoker. I wanna smoke a turkey, but it's suppose to be freezing on wednesday, and thursday, so I'm worried about my smoker getting up to temp. I've thought about putting the turkey on the bottom shelf, and wrapping the second shelf in foil to kind of make a smaller chamber, but I'm not sure if it'll work. Any Ideas, or should I just scrap it, and try next year?? I'm also open to any suggestions on brining, and rubs:)

post #2 of 15

I think that's a good idea you have; just make sure air flow is not obstructed.  Other members in cold climates set up wind breaks around 3 sides and some wrap their units in old blankets or sleeping bags to insulate them.  Again, watch air flow obstructions and flame hazards.


I don't bother brining my turkeys; however, most probably do.  I start the bird breast side down until the last hour of the smoke.  The theory is that juices run down to the breast meat during the smoke.  Don't know if that's why, but that meat is always moist and tender.  My "rub" consists of brushing on melted butter, salt and pepper.  Nothing fancy, but people demolish my smoked birds!  Must be doing something right, huh?

post #3 of 15

Test fire your rig with the burner on high and see if it'll get over 375* with just a 1/2" or so of water and bare grates. If it will, it should be able to climb over 300* with a bird. Also, keep tabs on ambient temps, precipitation and wind conditions when you test it. I've never had a gasser have any problem getting over 300* in -20* weather unless I had  defective gas regulator, or I couldn't keep it out of the wind and snow, so I'd just find an area downwind of a structure to set up for the day.


I wouldn't advise putting any birds too close to the water pan, as that tends to be a cooler area with my GOSM and Smoke Vault. Also, on high flame you'll tend to get quite a bit of steam and not much smoke just above the pan, so a tough rubbery skin will be the result.


Putting foil into the smoke chamber may cause some flow issues with heat and smoke, causing hot/cold spots. If the aluminum were to get really hot (dropped onto bottom near burner, or?), it gives off nasty vapors when it melts down.



post #4 of 15

try a big chicken tomorrow morning.........or be smart about it and try what eric said.

post #5 of 15

If you wanted to there are smoker insulation blankets availiable that I think would fit your smoker. There are relatively inexpensive I believe in the $30-$50 range. I've never used them myself but understand they work quite good. I don't see why foiling that way dividing the chamber wouldn't work as long as there is some area above the turkey.


A simple brine recipe (per one gal. water);


2  C. koshar salt

1 1/2 C. light brown sugar


Bring six cups of water to boil then remove from stove, add salt and mix until disoved. Add sugar and disolve. Then add the remaining ingredients below up to one gallon water and allow to cool completely. I like to refrigerate 4-6 hrs. before adding to the turkey. You'll need approx. 2-3 gallon for a 12-16lb. turkey.


1/4 C. rice vinigar  

1 T. fresh ground black pepper 

2 cloves choped shallot

1 fresh lemon, sqeezed

1 t. dried tarragon (or rosemary)

1/2 t. ground sumac


Allow to brine for 10-12 hours refrigerated in a kettle. Remove, pat dry, loosely wrap in foil and refrigerate another 12 hours before cook. Hand rub with olive oil and apply seasonings of your choice and bring to about room temp. prior to cooking. I like putting a pierced Asian pear inside the cavity and a green onion sausage brat for moistness and flavor.  Pecan works well with this recipe and a little bit of maple if you have it.


*If you're going to brine any longer than twelve hours omit the vinigar.


Cheers, hope the weather cooperates with ya!




post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the great input!! Can't wait to give it a whirl. I think I'll foil up a grate, and give it a temp test tonite when it gets cold. I'll keep ya posted on my progress!

post #7 of 15

Yep I agree do a test run early and see what you get for temps in the smoker. Even if you don't have anything on it just see what temps you can maintain and that will give you an idea if you can pull it off in the cold. You should be able to do it.

post #8 of 15

I would follow Eric's suggestion and do a test run.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well, it's turkey day, and it was 22 degrees out when I got up. Plus side is it's sunny, and no wind. So I moved my smoker to the south side of the house, in the sun, and I'm going for it! I think its gonna be fine. Smoker temp is up to 250, and holding strong. Thanks for all of the support!! I'll let ya know how it turns out. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

post #10 of 15

You can always finish in the oven and no one will think any less. Looking forward to the qview. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #11 of 15

There's a perty good brine an injection listed in the wiki section.  Few folk round here seem ta like it.


Ya can get a welders blanket ta wrap around yer smoker will help an besure ta keep it outa the wind, the wind will suck the heat right outa it.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

nov. 2010 009.JPGnov. 2010 010.JPGnov. 2010 011.JPG

post #13 of 15

Looks like it was a success! Very nice color on the bird, thanks for sharing with us  PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Well guys, the ol masterbuilt didn't disappoint. It held strong at about 255, and in about 5 hrs, brought my bird to 165. I appreciate all of the good advise, and best of all, no oven was needed! This was my first turkey, and I have to say it will be hard to top it!! Needless to say, it was pretty well wiped out! I think I have just enough left over for maybe one or two turkey sandwiches. Everyone loved it, and I'm sure this will be a yearly tradition from now onPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif. I used Alder wood, and it soaked in brine for about a day and a half. I read everyones brine recipes, and kinda came up with my own. I went to my local Sprouts market, and bought 2 apple chicken sausage links, and put them in the cavity of the bird. Rubbed it with plain ol salt and pepper. My brine was as follows.


1 and 1/2 gal. water.

1cup Kosher sea salt

1cup dark brown sugar

1/2cup maple syrup

1/4cup garlic powder

1/4cup onion powder

fresh sprigs of thyme & rosemary

3 tablespoons of lemon pepper


I used the brine in my water pan too.

Smoked it breast side down til it got to 145, sprayed it all over with olive oil, and then turned it over for the remainder. Breast meat was tender, and juicy, and skin had a nice shiney crisp! Best turkey I've ever hadicon_smile.gif. Once it got to 165, I put it in a pan, and  covered it in foil.

Now, for the piece de la resistance! My famous potato recipe!! You will become famous if you ever make these, and it's super simple!!!


Start by making simple mashed potatoes. Blend in 1/2 a cup of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and grated parmesan cheese. The amounts vary by the amount of potatoes. I usually do enough to fill a 13x9 glass baking dish with atleast an inch of room. It is important, that you do all of this in rapid succession, so as to keep the potatoes hot. I have however done the potatoes in advance, and used the microwave to re-heat them. Enough to fill a 13x9, I use about 3/4 cup of parmesan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the potatoes in the pan. Whip one pint of whipped cream, and gently fold 1 cup (or moreicon_wink.gif) of finely grated swiss guyere cheese into the cream. Spread the cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes about 1 inch thick to cover all of the potatoes (I also use the handle of the spatula to poke holes in the potatoes for the cream to fill). Place in a pre-heated 450 degree oven until the top begins to bubble, and blister brown. Remove and serve, and prepare yourself to give out the recipe, because everyone will want it! These potatoes go great with ANYTHING! They are a family tradition at thanksgiving with our turkey, and at christmas with our prime rib. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

post #15 of 15

Now that's a platter I think I'd have a tough time not indulging too many samples prior to the meal!  Chug a lug choo choo looks smack dab salivatory from here. ( ; I'm gonna have to try that spud recipe of yours sounds de-licious.  Happy to hear that everything went so well for you. Smoke signals back at ya. 

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