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Turkey Defrosting and Smoking

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I bought an almost 15lb turkey (didn't join this forum until after I bought it and read all the comments about using smaller birds) and put it in the freezer on Saturday at noon.  It is now Tues morning and it doesn't feel like it's defrosted much. Since I want to start brining it tomorrow morning, would it hurt if I were to defrost it in water today?

 

Also, having just seen the comments on the 40-140 rule, what temp would you suggest for my Visions smoker to get the temp up quickly enough?  I had thought about starting it about 300 then when it was up to 140, lowering the temp to about 225?  I do have an Oregon Scientific remote thermometer with a single probe (when I replace it, I will get a dual probe so I can get the actual temp of the smoker and not depend on the Visions thermometer.

 

Thanks...Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and Happy Smoking.

 

Larry

post #2 of 13

I would just start brining it now. That way you are killing two birds with one stone.

 

As for temp, I would start around 250 and monitor the temp. Then you can adjust up or down as needed so it cooks in the proper amount of time. 

post #3 of 13

Your going to want to cook your bird at as high of a temp as you can ( 350ish ) otherwise you will get inedible skin.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I thought the idea was to cook low and slow?  Are you saying cook it at the whole time at 350?

post #5 of 13

Well there's two camps around here when it comes to poultry. The low and slow crowd and the High and fast crowd. I belong to the later. The higher temps will get you a smokey bird with crispy skin like what you get in the oven. The low and slow will get you a super smokey bird, but the skin will be rubbery.   With either method, make sure you take the time to air dry the bird. This will help with the skin crisping up. I do this in the fridge overnight. Place the bird on a rack over a drip pan and place in the fridge (min 8-12 hours prior to smoking). If you don't have time to do this hit the bird with a hair dryer on low right before going into the smoker.

 

For me the process looks like this: Brine 2 days, rinse pat dry apply rub and air dry overnight in fridge. Stuff cavity with fresh herbs, onion, garlic, lemons into 350° smoker and done in 3 hours (14-16 pound bird spatched 165° internal temp in breast or thigh). Loosely cover wit foil for 30-45 minutes on cutting board. Carve and serve.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dirtsailor2003.  I prefer the crisper skin (we have been frying turkeys for years, this will be a first for smoking). I was actually going to stuff the turkey with cut up apples and oranges when smoking.  I am water defrosting it now and will start brining when it's defrosted.  I had heard mention of drying it out in the refrigerator but hadn't really thought about it but since I'm starting the brining 24 hours earlier than I had planned, I think I will do that.

 

We also have  Turducken that will be on the gas grill but I can defrost that one tomorrow.

 

Larry

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeordieLaforge View Post
 

Thanks Dirtsailor2003.  I prefer the crisper skin (we have been frying turkeys for years, this will be a first for smoking). I was actually going to stuff the turkey with cut up apples and oranges when smoking.  I am water defrosting it now and will start brining when it's defrosted.  I had heard mention of drying it out in the refrigerator but hadn't really thought about it but since I'm starting the brining 24 hours earlier than I had planned, I think I will do that.

 

We also have  Turducken that will be on the gas grill but I can defrost that one tomorrow.

 

Larry

Sounds like you have a solid plan. Good luck and don't forget to share some photos!

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post
 

Well there's two camps around here when it comes to poultry. The low and slow crowd and the High and fast crowd. I belong to the later. The higher temps will get you a smokey bird with crispy skin like what you get in the oven. The low and slow will get you a super smokey bird, but the skin will be rubbery.   With either method, make sure you take the time to air dry the bird. This will help with the skin crisping up. I do this in the fridge overnight. Place the bird on a rack over a drip pan and place in the fridge (min 8-12 hours prior to smoking). If you don't have time to do this hit the bird with a hair dryer on low right before going into the smoker.

 

For me the process looks like this: Brine 2 days, rinse pat dry apply rub and air dry overnight in fridge. Stuff cavity with fresh herbs, onion, garlic, lemons into 350° smoker and done in 3 hours (14-16 pound bird spatched 165° internal temp in breast or thigh). Loosely cover wit foil for 30-45 minutes on cutting board. Carve and serve.

Case you have messed my plans up! I was set on smoking at 250-275 but now I might have to go to 350. My only problem is I am smoking the day before, vac sealing, then reheating in a water bath. Have you done that before and still maintained the crispy skin? 

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmaddox View Post
 

Case you have messed my plans up! I was set on smoking at 250-275 but now I might have to go to 350. My only problem is I am smoking the day before, vac sealing, then reheating in a water bath. Have you done that before and still maintained the crispy skin? 

I have not had good success with the skin staying crisp after being in the fridge. That includes birds cooked in the oven. It won't be rubbery though just not crisp, more bite through.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post
 

I have not had good success with the skin staying crisp after being in the fridge. That includes birds cooked in the oven. It won't be rubbery though just not crisp, more bite through.

That's what I was thinking. I might still go hot and fast just to save some time. Thanks 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Now I have a brining question...all the recipes I see call for ice in the brining solution.  If I'm going to be keeping the bucket in the refrigerator, do I need ice??

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeordieLaforge View Post

Now I have a brining question...all the recipes I see call for ice in the brining solution.  If I'm going to be keeping the bucket in the refrigerator, do I need ice??

Nope. If you boil it just make sure it's cooled down to 40 or below before you put your bird in the bucket. This time of year mine sits in the garage. It's currently snowing and my garage is colder than my fridge.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks...I'm down here in the "south" (just south of Memphis, TN) and it won't be that cold.  Supposed to be 65 on Thanksgiving day.

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