This was my first attempt at smoking turkey, and I'm pleased and surprised to say that it was an overwhelming success! I'm thankful to the people over on my first post ("noob trying to grasp all this") and to Kenji at The Food Lab / SeriousEats. Our family and extended family generally don't like turkey, but this year everyone raved about how moist, tender, and tasty the turkey was. Even my niece, who doesn't eat turkey, gobbled it up! :-)
First, the bad news. I'm going to have to call Masterbuilt Monday about my MES 40 (20070311). It just won't come up above 225 if there's food in it. It'll read 275, but every thermometer in there reads 220-225. I don't know whether it's underpowered or something else is wrong, but I'm confident this will eventually be resolved, whether through a new part or exchanging the smoker.
But enough of that - the good news! I spatchcocked the turkeys (one whole 13 pound bird and one 6 pound breasts with bone). We wet-brined the whole bird using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman (and it was excellent!), and dry-brined the other. Both were, and still are, tender and moist.
In fact, I used a guide from this site! http://www.smoking-meat.com/november-12-2015-spatchcocked-turkey-with-herbed-butter
I was pretty dang nervous, but now I'm looking forward to smoking several other things in November.
Thanks, all, and I hope you have a great weekend!