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My first smoked turkey and the outside is black!!!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I picked up a WSM 22.5 recently after viewing all the great outcomes from smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey.....   I decided to try it myself.  I picked up an 11lb turkey and brined it for 24 hrs.  I rubbed the turkey with the naked rib rub from this site and smoked the turkey for 7.5 hrs at 230 until the temp read 175 at the thigh.  The turkey had great smoke and rub flavor, but the outside of the turkey was black.  Did I do something wrong?  I didn't based the turkey while it was smoking.  I did have plenty of water in the pan.  The temp was never over 240.  Any help will be appreciated as I hope to get that beautifully looking smoked turkey.  


Thanks in advance. icon_confused.gif

post #2 of 17

What did you use for fuel?  A properly smoked turkey will come out dark but if it is black maybe you had a combustion problem.  Did you have thick white smoke coming out of the smoker or thin blue smoke?

post #3 of 17

If it tasted good, where is the problem?


Good luck and good smoking.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

i used lump mesquite charcoal with hickory.  The smoke was thick and white.  Looking in the forum, was I suppose to foil the breast after cooking for an hour or two?

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Venture, I just wanted it to be presentable.  It sure tasted great though.

post #6 of 17

Thick white smoke is your problem. However, smoking at those temps for that amount of time would render the skin pretty dark and rubbery anyway, so no harm no fowl. Get it, fowl.....?? Hello?....is this thing on?....

Anyway, lots of folks on here suggest smoking the bird at 325˚-350˚. It'll still take in a lot of smoke and the skin will be nice and crispy. As for the smoke issue, search the minion method. Sounds like your smoke wood was burning as opposed to smoldering. You want the thin blue smoke. Welcome and take some time to read through the posts here. There is a ton of useful info.

post #7 of 17

Dang I like the skin black!


Did you have a lot of sugar in the rub?


Was it crispy & good tasting?


You should have shown us some pics!

post #8 of 17

Hey 28


In a small smoker you may try burning a hot charcoal fire to get your heat and just add small amounts of wood or wood chips to get your smoke.   You can smoke at any temp, the lower temps work fine but do not expect a crisp skin at those temps,  The higher temp will provide a crisper skin but maybe not as much smoke as you want and if you are not careful you can dry out the bird.  I would smoke at the lower temps and then kick the temp up toward the end of your smoke to try and crisp up the skin a bit.


To get a good thin smoke you need a hot fire and small amounts of wood to make sure the wood burns sufficiently.  I would suggest starting the fire with a bed of charcoal and allowing that fire to get the smoker to temp, load the bird and stabilize the cook chamber temps.  You can add small amounts of wood directly to the charcoal to get your flavoring smoke.   It is important that the wood burns and doesn't just sit there and out gases.    Use the size of the charcoal fire and the fire chamber dampers to control your heat.  The upper flues should remain fully open.  


It is difficult but certainly possible to burn all wood in your smoker  but it takes practice and patience.  Make sure your wood is completely dry.   The only time I would wet my smoking wood was to cool of a very hot fire in an attempt to bring my chamber temps down.


BTW  no lighter fluid right,  use a chimney or propane torch to get your charcoal going.


Good luck



post #9 of 17

Sounds like too much smoke to me.  I cook my turkeys and chickens at 300-350.  Gets the sking nice and crispy.  Just cooked a 12lb turkey yesterday.  Took 2 1/2 hours total at that temp.  Came out awesome.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips all.  I had unlit hickory wood on the bottom and placed hot charcoal mesquite from the chimney that had been burning for 20 minutes.  After I poured the hot charcoal from the chimney onto the hickory wood, I let the smoker get up to 235 and placed the turkey in.  Definitely no lighter fluid was used.


The rub contained 1 cup of dark brown sugar.  


I'll try again and will post pics next time.



post #11 of 17

Sonz, Always let the smoke go to a light or bliuish color before adding the bird, or anything. Get a GOOD thermometer and go by it(should be able to calibrate it) and be relaxed, the food will get done in it's time,allow for problems,and if it gets done before your serving time,wrap in foil and place in a cooler wrapped in towels.drool.gif. Oh, use the old frayed towels,the Wife caught me on that onewife.gif and I still have a knot on my Gourd.frown.gif


Have fun and...

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks stan.  I'll remember that and will try again this weekend.



post #13 of 17



i used lump mesquite charcoal with hickory.  The smoke was thick and white.

  This could be part of your problem

post #14 of 17

Newbie here, but you certainly had too much smoke if it's thick and white.


Did this exact same thing with my first boston butt.

post #15 of 17
Did you use the minon method or did you light all of the charcoal at one time?
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

I tried the minion method but had hickory wood/charcoal on the bottom.  There was  70 percent hickory wood and 30 percent charcoal (unlit). I place the hot charcoal from the chimney on top of it and let that go for 10-15 minutes until the temp set at 230.  I love this forum with all the great help for NEWBIES.  Thanks to all that make this the BEST forum ever.

post #17 of 17


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