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.