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Incorrect Temperature Readings?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


Yesterday I smoked a 22 pound turkey which I brined for 18 hours and then put in the smoker (CookShack Amerique) at 225 degrees.  I figured it would take around 10 - 11 hours for the bird to be done, and was shooting for a breast temp of 165 to 170.  This was probably my 30th attempt at a smoked turkey at that weight, all done the exact same way, and all really good prior to this one. 


When 9 hours came, the turkey was at 150, which I had no issue with.  However, at 10 hours the turkey was at 151 and 11 hours also 151, and I was wondering if my thermometer in the turkey or  cabinet were having issues. I checked the cabinet temp with a calibrated thermometer and it was fine, then I put another thermometer in the other side of the turkey and it read 151, just like the other side.  So I upped the smoker to 250 and waited.  At 13 hours the turkey managed to get to 165, so I pulled it and let it rest for a bit.


I sliced the turkey and found that is was very overcooked, and looked like a turkey taken to a much higher finishing temperature.  While great tasting, the inside was still moist, but much dryer than normal for a smoked turkey.  The dark meat was even overcooked and not as good as usual.


The turkey was one of the Costco Butterball's that was not injected with anything, and it was a good brine, so I am absolutely stumped on this one. 


So - here is my question.  Is it possible to get unreliable readings from two thermometers depending on the structure/moisture or something else of a piece of meat?  Or, did my turkey simply bite and I should forget it and try again next time - :icon_smile:


Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving and on to planning for Christmas!

post #2 of 3
The only thought that I have would be to cook faster at 325-350*. I spatchcock mine for a more even cook. Try something like this next time to see what your results are.

Good luck, Joe
post #3 of 3

I consider myself an experienced and knowledgeable turkey cook.  I don't like buying frozen turkeys, preferring fresh.  I smoke previously frozen turkeys for broth and soups. 


Tuesday night I bought a "fresh" 17.3 lb all natural turkey and was surprised to find it was partially frozen.  I was unable to open the bird to allow brine in the chest cavity.  I put it in the brine knowing that the brine should help it thaw.  Even after 40 hours in the brine in a cold garage (daytime highs in low 50s, nighttime lows high 20s to low 30s) the ice I put in the brine barely melted so I figured the turkey most likely didn't thaw a whole lot.  


Checking the temp during the smoke I was getting readings all over the place in the breast and the thigh, as much as a 20F difference in parts of the breast alone.  I knew that was due to the interior of the turkey not being as thawed as the outer part, but I'm glad I checked various places in the breast and thighs to ensure the coldest parts were cooked to the proper temp.  The dark meat was fine but the outside of the breast was dry and the deepest part of the breast was juicy.  Overall I rated this years turkey a 6 out of 10, but it was safe.   

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