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First smoked turkey story

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Good Morning all. While I am not new to the art of outdoor cooking methods, I am new to these forums. I have found a ton of useful information already. I thought I would share my experience so far with my first smoked turkey.


Did all the prep work last night and up this morning at the butt crack of dawn (4:30a) to get the whole works going. Somewhat of a challenge today. Not only is this my first turkey, but I also have 50 degree temps and rain to battle with. I built an enclosure from a shipping gaylord that I can put over the smoker in case I have issues with maintaining a decent cooking temp. Anyone who has used this particular smoker knows what a challenge cooking in cooler temps can be.


I am using a Brinkmann vertical electric water smoker modified with a Brinkmann temp gauge mounted in the lid and 7 pounds of gas grill lava rock ( much better than the bag of pebbles it comes with). In the water bowl I am using a 50/50 mixture of unsweetened apple cider and water. For the wood I went with foil packs of cherry wood chips. I know chunks are the way to go but I couldn't find them in the cherry variety.


The bird itself is a 16 pound Butterball that I brined with a simple salt water solution for 12 hours. I crammed 2 giant macintosh apples into the cavity, I like the taste it gives grilled rotisserie chicken so I thought what the hey. A light coating of olive oil followed by a dry rub that is a concoction created by a couple of local Northeast Wisconsin guys Mad Dog & Merrill. They have a signature line of spices and rubs specifically made for outdoor meat cooking. I went with the Gramma Hazel's Rub. A nice all purpose rub for just about everything you can grill or smoke.


So the bird went on at about 5am this morning. It took longer than I would like for the smoke to start rolling (almost an hour) but now at 3 hours later I have a nice gentle blue column of sweet cherry smoke escaping the hood. It is a decent 270 inside the smoker and I have not had to use my gaylord cover yet....but the temp is expected to start dropping around 10am so I'm sure it will be soon. I am using a Chefmate digital wireless thermometer to monitor the bird which is at 125 right now.


So I hope this all goes well. I have been researching for the last 2 weeks and found more tips than I care to count. Hopefully the hand full of them I am using will pay off. 

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

I wanted to add that I look forward to sharing in these forums. Looks like a good group of people to be around!!

post #3 of 8

Welcome to SMF! How's the bird doing now. We all like to see your work so don't forget to take some photo's.

post #4 of 8


Bring on the Qview biggrin.gif

post #5 of 8

Welcome to SMF its nice to have ya.. Have fun and Happy smoking

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

My apologies. I neglected to take pictures, and to be honest; once the bird was brought in it didn't take long for the guests to start picking at it out of curiosity. It was my first smoked turkey after all so the threat of having to order pizza was heavy in the air!


The project turned out very well. The meat was moist and had subtle cherry/apple taste. The combination of the brine, whole apples in the cavity, and apple cider in the water pan really made for a moist smoke. Everyone was very happy including my very picky 12 year old.


It took 8 hours to get the job done. I had to tend it more that I would have liked because of the weather but all the work was worth it. I don't think I would change anything in the set up and preparation for the next time. I would have rather used chunks so I will have to look a little harder for cherry chunks but the foil packs did their job.


Onto the next smoke!! 

post #7 of 8

Meatindude, welcome!  Good job under difficult circumstances.


As you can see, lots of friendly folks from all over the world are here. Since we cannot look over your shoulder, we would all love to see your photos. Ask questions, and take advantage of all ther resources available. Enjoy it all.

post #8 of 8

welcome to SMF! and congrats on your success! sounds like your bird did well considering your temp issues. first.gif

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