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What are we doing wrong?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We have a camp chef smoke vault. My husband is usually in charge of the smoking. Everytime he smokes a turkey it has a really strong smokey flavor on the outer layer of meat but nothing in the center. We usually do an 18 pound turkey. He usually only smokes it for an hour or so. Is the turkey to big? Are we smoking it at to high of a temp? Do we need to smoke slower and at a lower heat? I hate that really strong smoke flavor. I would just like a more mellow consistent flavor. Thanks for any help!
post #2 of 14
are you brining?

if the smoke is too strong, use less smoking wood......its hard to get a true smoke flavor, IN MY EXPERIENCE, all the way thru the bird........IF there is a way, i am all in favor of hearing it

post #3 of 14
Hard to answer without some info..........
smoker temp?
Type of wood and style.......chips or chunks?
Brined bird?
How do you finish cooking it?
post #4 of 14
welcome to SMF.... head over to roll call

as for your turkey probs, like bubba said, it could be many things

if u are using a stronger wood like mesquite or hickory, the flavor will be overpowering on poultry, try using apple,maple or cherry.

also once u have the bird smoked, let it sit for awhile, the smoke flavor will be more distributed and develope better flavor. dont know why but Q has a better flavor to me the next day
post #5 of 14
The different woods having different strengths is a biggie. Poultry takes smoke rather easily and milder smoke is better. You have some good suggestions and I might suggest pecan also. I like it.
post #6 of 14
well, answer all those other questions too. It will help.

1 hour is just not enough time IMHO. Internal temp of bird has to reach 130 to 140 to take in as much smoke as possible before pours shut down. Deb said poultry takes on smoke quicker, but you may get some surface smoke, but I would say you need alot of time to work deeply into the meat. Even then, you may not really taste a smokey flavor deep into the bird, depending on size and 18 lbs is a good size bird.
post #7 of 14
If you're only smoking it for a hour and the smoke flavor is too strong, There's probally too much smoke. Being You want a real light smoke(thin and blue)Not billowing and/or white. The smoke will only penetrate the meat untill it reaches 140°.
I hope that helps a little.

I don't know if that will solve the problem untill we get some more information.
post #8 of 14
Whaaaaaaa???? Huuuhhhhh??? How do you smoke an 18 pound turkey in an hour? Are you oven baking it and finishing it off in the smoker for an hour?
The average for an 18 lb turkey would be between 10 and 13 hours on a slow smoker.
post #9 of 14
gluedto it...........meat will continue to accept smoke.......the smoke RING stops at 140..........

i thought your way too, untill some fine members here set me str8

as long as smoke is being added, the meat will continue to take it in......

post #10 of 14
I also own a Camp Chef Smoke Vault. Turkey is something I smoke a lot especially whole breasts.

Here are some suggestions:

Brine the bird The night before you plan to smoke it create a brine of water kosher salt sugar and whatever seasoning you like. I usually use a mix or orange juice maple syrup and brown sugar and ground black pepper and rosemary. Let the bird sit in the brine in a food grade container or a double wrapped xxl zip lock or turkey oven bag and keep it in the fridge.
The next day before the smoke rinse in thoroughly in cold water.

Use a higher temperature Usually cooking low and slow in a sm,oker you want to be at 225- 250. For poultry many feel that low temp isn't necessary because there isnt much if any internal fat to render or tough muscles to soften like in a pork butt or brisket. In addition cooking at that temp. will usually result in a soft rubbery skin. To get the crispy skin they use a higher temperature of 300 - 350 degrees. An even more important reason to consider a higher temperature in your case is the size of the bird. An 18 lb bird cooking at 250 will stay in the danger zone (40 - 140 degrees internal temp) way too long and you risk illness from the food borne bacteria that will thrive at that temperature range. Usually it's a better idea to go with a smaller bird in the 10 -12 lb range.

Longer time in the smoke When you say 1 hour I'm assuming you are then stopping the smoke or transferring the bird to your oven. That's not a very long time to expose the meat to smoke. A lot of people just use smoke for the whole duration. If the flavor of the smoke is too strong you can use milder woods. Fruit woods usually go very well with poultry. Apple and Cherry are commonly used. I really like orange wood for turkey.

Cook the bird till you get to an internal temp deep in the meat of at least 165 degrees to be safe according to the USDA. Some people like to go a little higher just to be sure.

I think perhaps next time you might be happier with the results.

Good luck.
post #11 of 14
Ya know d8due your right. My mistake it's the smoke ring that stops not the penetration.
post #12 of 14
Great information Ron! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #13 of 14
on a side note tho........i am going to try the mayo/mw and low temps.........to see how the skin DOES turn out, like ajthepoolman mentioned

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much. I think I have figured out what our problem is. We are using hickory and I think the flavor of the hickory is just too strong. I also think we are using to large of a bird anf I will go with a smaller one. I have never brined the turkey and will try that this time also. We have been finishing the turkey off in a ultimate turkey roaster but I think this time we will just do it in the smoker. Thank you all so much for your help! And happy Thanksgiving!
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