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Did I just ruin a 22lb bird?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So this is my first time smoking a large (22lb turkey) and first time smoking a turkey in my Masterbuilt electric smoker.


I am worried I screwed something up:


I started the turkey at 240 degF at 8am.  When I finally opened the door to check on it at12:30pm I saw that most of the skin on it was peeled back from the breasts and the breast meat was starting to separate from the bone. The internal temp was still pretty low (~100deg) but I'm worried I  did something wrong to cause the skin to peel away like that.  Has anyone else seen anything like this?


The bird was brined for 24 hours in the same buttermilk brine  I normally use when I am oven roasting.  The skin/meat never behaved that way in the oven though...


Any ideas?  Should I just take deep breaths and wait? Transfer it to the oven?


Edit: Already moved it to an oven to get it out of the danger zone as quickly as possible.  Juices still run when I jab it with a thermometer and the meat feels moist/tender so I don't think I made turkey jerkey.  I'm Just worried about why the skin peeled like that.  I can deal with it not being pretty as long as its still edible.

Edited by mjn12 - 11/20/15 at 10:19am
post #2 of 7

Did you take some pictures of it? Poultry skin shrinks during cooking and each one will shrink a different amount. Are you cooking the bird whole or did you split it in half? Are you using a checked/calibrated thermometer? If it was only 100 degrees after 4 hours you might have a problem with being in the danger zone for too long. Did you inject it? 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I must have toggled the thermometer in Celsius and gone through to the cavity when I temped it from the smoker. D'OH.   I just temped it again after 30 minutes in the oven and its a little high - 170'ish in the breast and thigh. I lopped off a piece of meat from an inconspicuous area and it seems fine.  A little drier than in the oven but not a disaster



I just don't understand how it finished so fast.  The internet (weber, butterball, etc) made it sound like it would take 8-12 hours for 180, I usually stop at 160 and let it coast to 165.


This bird was cooked in 4hours and it was supposedly "overweight".

post #4 of 7

Have you checked the temps on your MES. If I set mine to 240 it runs at 280 or more. But even if it was closer to 300 that was still really fast. I am stumped on this one. 

post #5 of 7
Got me too , but I've had Butterballs cook quick in the Oven too! Nature of the meat . . . however if your therm . is correct and temps are good , I'd check for meat color , and if you achieved 165*F internal meat temp. , you should be good .

Just my 2cents worth biggrin.gif

Havefun and. . .
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Sorry for not getting back sooner.  I didn't get any pictures.  The bird was edible but definitely over cooked.  If not for brining it would have probably been jerky. 


I was thinking about it (read: lamenting a far less than perfect meal for 20 people) and I realized that since the bird was touching all four walls of the smoker on the middle rack it was probably touching the temp sensor which, if I remember correctly, is mounted right on the back wall. of the MES. 


This could have cause the smoker to run at full bore and still read very low.  I didn't realize that the smoker ran hot at the higher settings but I agree, 20-40 degrees wouldn't have overcooked it in 4 hours.  Once I get back out to the garage to clean things up I'll have to see if there is turkey drippings on the temp sensor housing.

post #7 of 7

The bird going wall to wall could definitely cause problems. If the bird was blocking the heat to the temp sensor that element could have staid on constantly putting a lot of heat to the bottom of the bird. That is why I always place my Maverick probe next to what I am cooking and go by that temp. 

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