I'm new to smoking, but it's something I've always been interested in learning. For our 20th anniversary, my bride purchased me a GOSM 34" 2 drawer smoker. To date I've smoked a pork butt, baby back ribs, eggs, and steak with varying degrees of success. As a newbie, I believe I was committing the usual rookie mistake of over smoking. Essentially I would load up the chip box with chips and see the billowing "white smoke of doom". After spending copious amounts of time on this site, I believe I've finally figured out what I've been doing wrong - but more on that later. More than anything, I was determined to finally have a smoked meal that didn't have a tinge of bitterness or over smoking.
I have been itching to smoke a turkey ever since I got the unit and, knowing I would do one for Thanksgiving, I thought August 2nd was a good time to do a dry run. I got the smallest bird I could find (16 pounds) and set about my work:
16 oz of creole butter
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
Pecan - chunks, not chips. One of the many things I've learned is that the chips just seem to burn up to fast in my GOSM. For this cook, I switched to chunks and I will never look back.
I prepped the bird by injecting the breasts, thighs, and legs with as much creole butter as the bird would take. This turkey would NOT be dry! After injecting, I spayed canola oil all over the skin to help hold the rub. I applied the seasoning all over the bird and stuffed the cavity with granny smith apple wedges and vidalia onion chunks to help even out the temperatures and for some aromatics. I covered the wing tips with foil for the first two hours so they wouldn't get too charred.
My target smoker temperature was 250 degrees using my Maverick 733. I slid the other probe into the breast and my target temperature was 165. I used one chunk of pecan at a time. When it stopped smoking (and I couldn't smell the smoke), I simply threw another chunk into the fire box. I pulled off all wood after the breast temperature hit 140 degrees.
Right as I slid in the bird
The bird after about an hour
Looking good after 2 hours. At this point I took off the foil on the tips
Obligatory pic of my beautiful TBS and my beer of choice on Saturday - the delightful Shiner Ruby Red. Plenty were consumed.
Out for a 20 minute rest - LOVE the color!
I was pretty excited and took a bigger slice than I intended, but it was SO flipping juicy.
Honestly, it was the best turkey I've ever eaten bar none. My family - and neighbors who collected during the day - agreed. There was no bitterness, the smoke was PERFECT, and the turkey was juicy to the point of melting in your mouth. I can't say I would do anything different next time, save for being a little less excited when carving.
Who says turkey is only for holidays?!?!