Last weekend I smoked a 10lb turkey on my MES 30 with mesquite wood (much prefer hickory) and I just put it right on the top grate, as far away from the heat as possible. I had the water pan almost completely full with a 1/2 water, 1/2 apple juice mix. I preheated the MES to 275 and popped in the bird. This thing climbed insanely fast. Within an hour I was getting worried since the bird was at over 120 degrees already. By an hour and a half, I was at 140 and had to turn the temp down to around 200 or so. Finally the breast reached 165 at around the 3hr mark. However, the spot in between the breast/thigh showed 159 . I closed the door and let the breast go (regrettably) to around 175, just trying to get the thigh high enough. It never got over 159 for some strange reason, so I pulled the bird, tented it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. When I pulled it out the top part of the breast was dry, the bottom part of the breast near the bone was terrific and the leg/thigh area was not done enough... way too pink, with pink juices.
Why would the temps climb so fast? Should I have done 225 instead of 275? I don't really care about a crispy skin... I care more about a moist/completely done bird all over.
I've heard about people putting foil over the breasts/wings if they are getting too done too quickly. Is this an option?
Next up is a beer-butt turkey... I've had good success with 5lb chickens doing them beer butt style, so I figured I'd give this a try as a way to get the bird to cook more evenly.
Any help is appreciated!