I couldnt make up my mind, so I got some hickory, mesquite, cherry, and some apple in there...
Wood for turkey - Page 2
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Turkey Update: A Couple of Pics
Cooking Time: 3 1/2 hours
Current Internal Temp: approx. 140
Starting Temp: 300 - Avg. temp 1st hour ranged from 275 to 325 with loads of smoke pouring out of my old 22 1/2" Weber (nearly 18 years old now). 2nd hour kept temp between 250 - 275. Currently keeping temp between 225 - 250. Wanted skin more crispy, so started with higher temp.
Started the 1st hour and a half breast side down. Flipped over and inserted meat thermometers at hour 2.
Brine: 1 1/4 gal. Apple Cider; 1 gal. water; 1 1/2 cup Kosher Salt; 1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed); 1 Cinammon Stick; 10 - whole cloves; 1 tsp. Nutmeg. Soaked turkey in brine solution for 10 hours. Rubbed turkey with basting solution, let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours prior to cooking.
Basting: 1-stick butter; 1/2 cup Apple Cider, 1 1/2 TBSP. Honey. Every hour
Cooking Time: 6 1/2 hours
Cooking Temp: 225 - 250
Internal Temp: 160 (breast & thigh - almost there)
details: After 6 1/2 hours smoking, skin is desired color, so I have loosely wrapped turkey in foil to minmize any further darkening. Took drippings and poured over turkey and will allow this to provide the last bit of moisture for the bird. Probably 1/2 to 1 more hour and will remove bird to sit for about an hour or so before the meal. Hopefully bird tastes as good as it looks.
TURKEY UPDATE: Completion
Total Smoking Time: 9 hours
Avg. Cooking Temp: 250
Removed turkey from grill after a 9 hour smoke. Still wrapped in aluminum foil, placed in regular - oven turkey roaster, wrapped in 3 large beach towels. Let the turkey "rest" for 1-hour, then uncovered turkey and placed on cutting board, let stand for 15 minutes.
The results were pretty good. The crust was crispy and extremely flavorful, as family members "stole" pieces while I was carving turkey. I received many compliments on the smokey flavor, moistness, and texture of the turkey. Made a great alternative to the traditional oven roasted turkey.
The only critique I want to work on next time was that the top of the breast meat was more done than the lower half, which resulted in a slightly drier white meat than I prefer. Seemed the top of the kettle was about 50 degrees hotter than closer to the grill itself. May reduce the next turkey smoke to 8 hours and see what results I get.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
The cooking temp was pretty low throughout most of the smoke (keeping it somewhere between 225 - 250). Also, because I cook on a Weber 22 1/2" kettle, I had to lift the lid about every 45 minutes or so to add a few briquets, rotate the turkey, and add a pouch of smoking chips (only to 140), which I'm sure extended the cooking time considerably. The only high heat was during the initial hour or so, because I wanted the skin to be a little more crisp and edible.
In retrospect, I would have probably pulled the bird an hour or so earlier, especially since I realized the variance in cooking temperature between the grill grate and the lid (around 50 degrees), which did result in a slightly drier top half of the breast - but even that was still moist and very tender. Now the lower half of the breast, wing, thigh, drumstick, and the back of the turkey were very moist and juicy.
Second, I was using new meat thermometers and a little unsure of their accuracy (*note to self: never use new meat thermometers when cooking a special holiday meal, leads to indecisiveness. Kind of like I would not use a new and untried putter for a golf tournament).
The last variable that might have increased the cooking time was the cool temps and heavy marine layer here in the Bay Area when I cooked the turkey. I've noticed when I cook during the cool and "heavier" air conditions of the fall and winter here cooking times seem to increase somewhat. I may be mistaken on this, but it seems to have some influence.
Yesterday had a little leftover, and the meat was even more moist and tender after spending the time marinating in its juices.
Trust me, I was sweating bullets at the long smoke too, I was so afraid that when I cut into the meat it would be like sawing into leather, but it was quite the opposite, there was quite a bit of fluid that came out - much to my relief and surprise.
Edited by troyd - 11/27/10 at 6:20am
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Troyd, Thanks for the cooking diary and that is a good looking bird. Did you mention how much the turkey weighed? I agree about the meat thermometer. I slightly overcooked my first Thanksgiving turkey. I think my old meat thermometer was out of cal.
- 59 Posts. Joined 2/2010
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That sure did look good!! It is amazing to me how different things affect smoking so much. That is what gives it the challenge and makes it so much more enjoyable when things come out like we plan!!
Not that it matters now, but I used pecan, maple and hickory.
Thanks, The turkey was 12 lbs. on the dot. It was the smallest turkey I could get. I bought a Diestel "free range" turkey, from their ranch just East of San Francisco. We've been using their turkeys for the past few Thanksgivings. Much, much more flavorful, and the texture of the meat is much better (firm but tender) too. I've driven by their ranch (how I found out about these turkeys), and it's a great sight to see all these turkeys roaming about. May not seem like much to most farmers from the Mid-West, but out here living in the city you lose many of those old rural life memories and experiences. And it's hard to find a "real" turkey that's not overly processed or raised inside barns in pens. They cost a little more than a regular turkey like a Butterball, but the taste difference is well worth it. If you really want a "natural" turkey, next to hunting a wild turkey, this is it. Depending on your location, you can get these turkeys from most Whole Food Markets, or a select number of Fine Food grocers. They have an available store listing on their website.
Here's the link to their website:
Thanks also to 0331grunt.
Leftovers Are Great!