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Advice please on smoking a 12lb Turkey.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm a new MES40 owner, and want to smoke a 12lb Turkey for Easter.

Any advice would be much appreciated from you who have done this successfully before.

post #2 of 22

Welcome to SMF glad you joined us. Congrats on the new MES. Here's a link to how to smoke a Turkey written by Jeff 

post #3 of 22

I would definately Brine it first. makes for a very Juicy Bird

there are quite a few threads on smoking and brining. do a seach

and you will find everything you need.


post #4 of 22


There is tons of info about smoking a turkey here.

The handy dandy search tool up top is your friend..


Here's a start!! 





post #5 of 22

What we do when smoking a turkey in the MES is rub it with butter and Cavender's under the skin and smoke it at the highest temp you can get out of your MES until it reaches 170º.  We also apply smoke using our AMNS during the entire smoke...  Cherry is a great wood to use.

post #6 of 22

Just make sure to follow the 40*-140* rule. This is where you take it from 40* right out of the fridge and get it to 140* internal within 4 hours. If it looks like it won't make it you can put it in the oven till 140* then put put it back in the smoker to finish. 

post #7 of 22

Sounds like you have some good advice so far. Let us know how it turns out with Q-view of course. Good luck!

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your quick reply.

I used the link and watched Jeff's video.


post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your quick reply.

I used the link and watched Jeff's video.


post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your quick reply.

I did go ahead and brine the bird.


post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your quick reply.

I went and checked out the search tool.


post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your quick reply and tips.


post #13 of 22

Did you smoke it yet?

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, especially the 40-140 degrees rule.

Mades sense. My bird reached 140 after 3 hours so I left it in the MES.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks Al.

I'm a newbie. What's Q-view?


post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yes, Al. Yesterday.

post #17 of 22

Q-view is where you post pics of your smoke. I know it sounds crazy & if you have guests over & your taking pics of your food they are gonna think your nuts, but that's what we all do. It gives you a chance to showcase your smoke & get great comments from all the folks here on SMF. All you have to do is click on the insert image icon at the top of the text box & follow the prompts.

post #18 of 22

Q-View is the posting of the pictures you took during the preparation and smoking and serving of the food you smoked.


Like we say here on SMF.





post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey Al. Thanks for clarifying Q-view. I'm a total newbie to my MES smoker and also to this website. I may be slow but I'm not too quick to catch on.

I'd started with a frozen basted turkey ($.99 a pound). After it thawed, I brined it for 8 hours the night before, using half a cup kosher salt and half cup each honey and white sugar to make 6cups brine. Easter morning, had the MES40 up to its max 275 temp at 930am. After drying off the bird and wiping with olive oil, into the smoker it went. I inserted the MES meat probe in the thick part of the breast. And lined the drip pan with foil, but no water or liquid. Used applewood chips. The first photo is the turkey in the MES after 30 minutes, already browing. Three hours later the probe read 140 degrees.

After 5 hours, the probe was at 162 degrees in the breast, but the thigh meat was only 150 degrees. I left it in another hour, but thigh meat only up to 158 degrees. I'd heard dark meat should be 180. So after 6 hours in the smoker,  I transferred the bird to a 350 degree oven for another hour. Then let it rest 45 minutes under foil tent.  Second photo shows the bird on the cutting board, partly sliced for serving. My bird was nice and smoky. and dark meat was  done and pretty juicy. White meat a bit dry. And the turkey skin was hard and leathery, really too tough to eat. Any advice on how to tell when the whole bird is done enough, and how to avoid ending up with leathery inedible skin?DSCN0340.JPGDSCN0343.JPG


post #20 of 22

Jim, did you have a digital therm in the smoker on the grate to check the chamber temp.? The MES controller can be off by as much as 20 degrees or more. So it's possible that the controller said you were at 275 & you may have been at 255 or lower. To get crispy skin I just smoke the turkey at 225, and then just put it on a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes or in the oven on broil for the same time. To keep it moist I always do beer can turkey. That being said your turkey looks really good! I tell when the turkey is done by grabbing a leg & pulling it away from the breast. It should break away easily.

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