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Turkey Tune-Up - Page 2

post #21 of 56
This is one of the best posts Ive seen...Man this really looks great.....Points for sure....I look forward to the Thanksgiving post with all the neighbors birdspoints.gifpoints.gifpoints.gifpoints.gif
post #22 of 56
Dang, that looks great!!!

Definitely gonna give this a go. I've done smoked turkeys before on an old charcoal grill, so I'm looking forward to doing it on the Traeger this year.
post #23 of 56
An excellent post, with first class instruction and photography! And the meal wasn't bad either! icon_wink.gif

post #24 of 56
Gotta get me a blender with a tach.... gotta..... Hemi..PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif
post #25 of 56
Looks Great!

A Couple of questions though, as I am new to smoking turkey:
1) What is/are the advantages of stuffing apples & Onions inside, does it affect taste?
2) I like the idea of putting butter, thyme, sage under the skin, but would that allow some of the juices to escape during the smoke by actualling allow air/smoke under the skin?

Going to do my test run this weekend for turkey day and just am curious as to these techniques. Feel free to give more if they come to mind!
post #26 of 56


Great post and results. I can only wish to be able to do half as good. Given it was 11lbs... what were you temps and eventual cooking time? I too am planning a T-Day turkey for the first time.
post #27 of 56
I second that motion.
post #28 of 56
Thread Starter 
I put apples, herbs, and onions in the cavity so they would sacrifice their moisture instead of the moisture being drawn out of the bird. The more aromatics you put in the cavity, the more it will infuse into the meat. There wasn't a distinct onion or apple taste to the bird, but more a delicious sweet smoky taste. I'm sure it was the combination of the apple, aromatics, smoke, and brine, it all combined beautifully...I won't change a thing. You can think of it like putting a beer can up a Chicken's keester to make beer can chicken. It provides some moisture, and some essence into the final product.

If you do put a compound butter under the skin, it doesn't allow air in and moisture to escape...actually it would work opposite of that. The skin drapes on the bird and doesn't allow air under it. The extra butter (fat) bastes the bird and the herbs give a great flavor.

For your turkey, you want to stoke the smoker up to 325° or so because turkey doesn't have as much fatty tissue as ribs or butts. By cooking them faster (not low and slow) you preserve the flavorful juice in the meat and don't dry them out. At 325F, 15-pound bird will be done in about 3 to 3.5 hours as a starting point...I think my bird took about 2 1/2 hours.

If your bird comes with a pop up thermometer, take that out and insert a probe into the front of the breast so the tip is in the center of the thickest part of the breast (usually right where the popup thermometer was). At 165°F in the breast it is safe according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). From the USDA site:

A whole turkey is safe cooked to

minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F throughout the bird as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures. Turkey breasts must reach 165 degrees. More than likely, when the breast is at 165° the thighs are likely to be higher than that. To ensure a moist bird, besides brining it, I recommend that you take it out of the smoker when the internal temp of the breast reaches 160°, 165° max. My rationale is this...If the temp is 160°F in the center of the breast when you take it off, it will rise at least another 5°F as it rests. Be sure to use an accurate thermometer (I use my therma-pen) to make sure you are good to go. Cook to temp, and not to time...this will make sure you have a fantastic bird for your special day. Good luck and take lots of pictures.

I also use this same philosophy for smaller birds on the smoker...they come out great too!
post #29 of 56
Is it possible to smoke at a lower temp, I use a MES and i don't know if it gets to that temp...

looks great!!!!
post #30 of 56
WOW!!! You really set the bar high for the rest of us!! All around great job. PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif

My mouth is still watering and I just ate dinner too...

I gotta see if I have a roaster pan that will fit in my ECB on the rack above the water pan so that I can try the gravy idea. I love's me some gravy!!!

Where can I find a blender like that?? That thing ROCKS!!!
post #31 of 56
Yes, you can smoke at a lower temp but you will not get a crispy skin. Once in the distant past someone posted that they had heard or read that if you rubed the skin with cornstarch it would crisp up at these lower temps. I have never tried this and havn't found anyone else who has. So don't know if there is any merrit to it.

post #32 of 56
Wow excellent job

post #33 of 56
Question, I tried catching the drippings and making gravy last year and it came out waaaay too smokey.

How do you keep the gravy fixins from becoming too smokey, pull it sooner? If so, how long do you leave the gravy pan in?
post #34 of 56
Thread Starter 

You will have to judge. It is makes a difference with what type of smoke (wood) you are using. If you only want a little bit of smoke, pull it sooner and finish in the oven. I have let this gravy go the distance with the bird, and it wasn't too smoky, in fact, it was absolutely delicious!

Good luck!
post #35 of 56
Excellent points bbq engineer.I think the fact the birds are done outdoors with fuel and a bit of smoke gives the whole bird a better taste then a oven....
post #36 of 56
I too have a MES and was planning on smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving. Is there a benefit to smoking in the MES at 275 until a certain temp/time then pulling and putting it in the oven at 350 (or whatever you are supposed to cook them at) and finishing it off? I don't mind waiting the extra time, but if there is little reason to smoke after, say 2 hours, then why not speed things up?

And, wow man, spectacular work. It is inspiring... I almost want to learn how to really cook. So far I am the grill and smoking expert of the house, but am cautious about showing too much culinary prowess. biggrin.gif
post #37 of 56
Why on my WSM i cook at 340 degree on average.Speeds up cook and crispy skin.....Still have to watch internal to prevent dry/overcooking...

I have seen lots of folk smoke and then finish in oven at higher temps.I do not have a MES myself....Few hours in smoke will give you some flavor....And the drippings are loaded with flavor...
post #38 of 56
Generally use hickory chunks and some maple and oak that I cut down. Maybe the problem was they made a rue out of the drippings and your recipe has all the liquid and veggies/fruit already in it.

Plan on giving yours a shot. I'll be up at 4:00 AM to start the smoker. icon_neutral.gif
post #39 of 56
Looks excellent!!! I was sitting in class yesterday looking at this while doing a little research on here for thursday and man, by the time I got out of class I was STARVING hahaha. I know you stated the ingredients in your brine and rub, but any chance of quantities of the ingredients for us newbies? :)
post #40 of 56
Thread Starter 

I use a 1:1:1 ratio for the important ingredients...

1 cup of salt
1 cup of Brown sugar
1 gallon of water

The rest is flavoring aids and since I'm really a "pinch of this and dab of that" guy, I suggest that you use a few shakes of the other ingredients along with a drizzle of molasses. I also use this when I brine salmon, and Mrs. Engineer is spoiled for eating out, because my salmon is always so much better than what she can get in a restaurant.

Take some pics of your bird and let us know how it turned out. Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving.
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