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Smoking a Turkey for the 1st Time and need help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Greetings all!

 

I have an MES 30" smoker and will be smoking a 16 3/4 pound turkey.  I have a general idea of how I want to do this after reading several posts on the forums, however, I could definitely use some assistance on multiple questions I have because I have never done this before.  I have had my smoker for about 6 months and have smoked multiple types of meat so far and all have turned out great thanks to all the people on this site providing rookies like me with many years of knowledge.  I need to tap into all that great knowledge again, thank you to any that can help.

 

My plan is to use the Slaughterhouse brine for 24 hours, I have a few questions on this:

 

1.  Because it is store bought, should i use less salt in the brine?

2.  After I take the turkey out of the brine, how long should it sit before I do my rub?

 

I am planning on using a poultry rub I really like on this bird and will use EVOO to coat it on and under the skin, I am not planning on doing injections.  For the smoking, I am planning on using Applewood chips (I like the tangy flavor they give to poultry), but I am open to suggestions.  I am going to smoke it at 275 degrees.

 

1.  Any ideas for what to put in the turkey's cavity for flavor?

2.  I am trying to get a rough cooking time estimate, any ideas?

3.  Is EVOO ok to coat the turkey in or am I better off with melted butter?

4. Any suggestions for what to put in the water pan in the smoker, (beer, water, apple juice)?

 

Thanks in again to any help you all can provide me!

 

Dave from L.A.

post #2 of 10

I do turkeys on my basic Bass Pro kettle smoker all the time. I have done a few of them stuffed with herbs and apple pieces but honestly, now I just go at it unstuffed. I brine for two full days and find at around 250/275* it takes approx 45 minutes per pound or less. I do baste a few times during the cook and have used both EVOO and Butter and a combination of the two. I really don't find much of a difference. It really seems more about making a super beautiful skin than anything. In the pan I always use half and half apple juice and water...

 

I will let it rest wrapped up in foil for about and hour or more before cutting...

 

I have a 15 pounder on as we speak... I am trying to time it with two boston butt's and 2 small beef briskets. Lots of fun!

 

Good luck with your bird!

post #3 of 10
Nothing bad ever happens to me. So, why should I care? ;)

Sounds like a good plan...

I put just put a good amount of spog w/ paprika everywhere including the cavity. My wife likes to put a cut up onion and a couple of Rosemary twigs in the cavity.

The last whole turkey I did was a 14 lber at 280 and it took 5 1/2 hours. I quartered one and took a little over three hours at 325.

I have never used a water pan in my life so can't help there...

Edit: I saw Oingo Boingo open for U2 in '83! Best concert I have ever been to...
post #4 of 10

Howdy Dave:xrocker:

I'll chime in. First off on your wood, apple should be fine. I personally like cherry. Nice flavor and really nice color. I have used both olive oil and butter and have settled on a combination of both. Your temp sounds good. I do at 275 in my MES. I don't put anything in the cavity except some of the rub and whatever you decide to baste with. On your timing, the largest I have done is a 14lb and it took between 6 and 7 hours.

post #5 of 10

Look at the label on the bird and try to see if it is already brined. It doesn't necessarily matter, you can brine it again but you could leave out some of the salt if so. I find these days if I get poultry that has been enhanced or liquid added or whatever I don't brine. I had one turn out real hammy and I am kind of gun shy now on that. I like to spatchcock birds of all kinds now. They cook more even and more surface area gets smoke. They also cook quite a bit quicker. You might not have room in there for a fully spatched bird though. I like sea salt, black pepper, thyme, rosemary and lots of old bay. If you do brine don't forget to wash it all off and dry your bird out really really good before seasoning and smoking. Keep us posted on what you do and ask away. Happy smoking. timber 

post #6 of 10

Personally I use a bit less salt in my brines when I know I am going to rub or sprinkle salt based seasoning and why seasoning these days isn't 50% salt? If a brine is 1 to 2, salt to sugar I will edge that back a little. Maybe 3/4 to 2. And if using canning salt its 2/3's to 2. Difference is grind adds density/weight to volumn.

 

I am confussed on this currently also. If I fan dry for a pellicle (the most preferred method besides over night reefer), does it make sense then to rub oil (suntan lotion)? I usually do that. Dry it till a pellicle is formed, thats the yellow subsurface fat, and it becomes tacky.

 

I nearly always cook mine much lower, I like 220, and I'd figure 30 to 45 mins./lb. Thats just an estimate.

 

Long ago I used expensive oils on mine, even the "Flavored oils", Then I realized its just suntan lotion, its so if it gets overly hot the skin doesn't crack and break and it also holds on the spice rub. Why waste the good stuff?

 

For years I swore by cranberry juice in the water pan, but then I realized it wasn't a water pan. Water pans are in units that can steam. And after a few tests I realized I was just imagining I could taste it. So either fill it with sand for a heat sink, or leave it out completely. The MES30 doesn't need additonal moisture unless you are opening it alot and we all know better than that.

 

lastly and most importantly. You say you have mastered a chicken and you like it. Why change that? Its a holiday..... everyone will be hungry, go with what you already know and work on changes for next year. Pizzahut can be a lifesaver and a great Christmas meal story for years to come. As long as it was your Brother-in-law who did it. LOL

 

Relax, enjoy it, and you know what to do. Let everyone else realize you have already mastered your smoker.  No Stress! More refreshments.

post #7 of 10

I'll tell ya how I do it and hopefully it will help you out. My responses are in red below your questions

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boingofan View Post
 

Greetings all!

 

I have an MES 30" smoker and will be smoking a 16 3/4 pound turkey.  I have a general idea of how I want to do this after reading several posts on the forums, however, I could definitely use some assistance on multiple questions I have because I have never done this before.  I have had my smoker for about 6 months and have smoked multiple types of meat so far and all have turned out great thanks to all the people on this site providing rookies like me with many years of knowledge.  I need to tap into all that great knowledge again, thank you to any that can help.

 

My plan is to use the Slaughterhouse brine for 24 hours, I have a few questions on this:

VERY good Brine I have used it myself. I now use a variation of it. I brine mine for at least 48 hours, I have gone as long as 5 days, but normal is 2-3 days.

 

1.  Because it is store bought, should i use less salt in the brine?

I use 6 OZ Kosher salt in 1.5 gallons of water That's approximately 3/4 cup

2.  After I take the turkey out of the brine, how long should it sit before I do my rub?

I dry mine with paper towels, then rub if I am.

 

I am planning on using a poultry rub I really like on this bird and will use EVOO to coat it on and under the skin, I am not planning on doing injections.  For the smoking, I am planning on using Applewood chips (I like the tangy flavor they give to poultry), but I am open to suggestions.  I am going to smoke it at 275 degrees.

Apple wood is a good choice used it many times. I now use pellets in a smoking tube and use pit masters choice Gives GREAT flavor. I think its better than just apple.

 

1.  Any ideas for what to put in the turkey's cavity for flavor?

I use nothing, tried it several times but saw no difference.

2.  I am trying to get a rough cooking time estimate, any ideas?

I always figure 30 min per pound, most of the time that is ample time. I have had them go a bit beyond that time before as well so add an hour. I try to smoke around 250, 

3.  Is EVOO ok to coat the turkey in or am I better off with melted butter?

Will work just fine. If I am adding rub I make a past of butter cut with EVOO and mix in my rub.No idea on amount as I just drizzle it in and mix till i get a good paste (think tooth paste) then mix in my rub. 

4. Any suggestions for what to put in the water pan in the smoker, (beer, water, apple juice)?

I use plain old tap water. 

 

Thanks in again to any help you all can provide me!

 

Dave from L.A.

Hope this helps ya out.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boingofan View Post
 

Greetings all!

 

I have an MES 30" smoker and will be smoking a 16 3/4 pound turkey.  I have a general idea of how I want to do this after reading several posts on the forums, however, I could definitely use some assistance on multiple questions I have because I have never done this before.  I have had my smoker for about 6 months and have smoked multiple types of meat so far and all have turned out great thanks to all the people on this site providing rookies like me with many years of knowledge.  I need to tap into all that great knowledge again, thank you to any that can help.

 

My plan is to use the Slaughterhouse brine for 24 hours, I have a few questions on this:

 

1.  Because it is store bought, should i use less salt in the brine?  Check the turkey.  On the packaging it should say if it is "enhanced" and with how much.  It isn't unusual to see 8-12% solution.  If so, definitely cut the salt in the brine in to 1/2 or 1/4 the amount recommended. 

 

2.  After I take the turkey out of the brine, how long should it sit before I do my rub?  I don't have room in my refrigerator for the size turkeys we get (18-20 lbs) so I take it out of the brine, pat it dry, let it sit while the smoker is coming up to temp, pat it dry again, then apply the rub.  I use a brining bags in an ice packed cooler to brine my turkeys.

 

I am planning on using a poultry rub I really like on this bird and will use EVOO to coat it on and under the skin, I am not planning on doing injections.  For the smoking, I am planning on using Applewood chips (I like the tangy flavor they give to poultry), but I am open to suggestions.  I am going to smoke it at 275 degrees.  If you have any cherry add that to the mix.  Cherry definitely adds a nice color.  I'm using a charcoal smoker though, not electric, so keep that in mind. 

 

1.  Any ideas for what to put in the turkey's cavity for flavor?  I use a turkey cannon so I don't put anything in the cavity.

2.  I am trying to get a rough cooking time estimate, any ideas?  A turkey cannon will speed up the time so take that into consideration.  At 275F chamber temp my last 18.3 lb turkey took 4 hrs 15 minutes.  I had the smoker loaded with the turkey and about 15 lbs of veggies in a drip pan on the level below the turkey  Just go by internal temp on the turkey at 165F at the coldest part, usually the thigh.   

3.  Is EVOO ok to coat the turkey in or am I better off with melted butter?  I've used both and now prefer nothing on the skin except the rub.  I've had turkeys turn out too dark from the smoke when coating the skin with a fat, but that could be just my technique.  With nothing on the skin they come out beautiful, below is an example.   

4. Any suggestions for what to put in the water pan in the smoker, (beer, water, apple juice)?  I dry smoke, nothing in the water pan.  If you use anything, just use water.  The rest is a waste of beer, apple juice, etc. 

 

Thanks in again to any help you all can provide me!

 

Dave from L.A.

 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your answers and suggestions, very much appreciated!

 

I am cookin this bird on Friday and will definitely update you all on how this goes and will include some (hopefully good) pics

post #10 of 10

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