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First Smoke of Turkey (No Qview), Came out black. Why

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Did three 12 pound turkeys in my Lang 60. Started this morning, the turkeys went into the prewarmed smoker at 1:30. I used the Slaughterhouse recipies posted here. I added in rubbing down the turkey skin with mayonaise so it would come out crispy (read about this in one of the posts) before I put the rub I was using on. One bird was for my neigbor (first thing for someone else, hopefully not the last) and he needed it by 11:00. I ran the smoker from 250 to 350 on the smoker guage, it was less than that (starting about 50 degrees less) on a maverick ET-73 probe next to a bird. I used hickory to smoke it.

The birds came out coal black in color, not golden brown. Any ideas what would cause this? We just pulled the skin off and the meat still tasted good.
post #2 of 20
Sounds like creosote to me. Was your wood seasoned?
post #3 of 20
If I am following your time-line correctly, you put them in at 0130 hrs (1:30AM This morning) ran the smoker at 250 - 350 F on the guage untill 1100 hrs (11:00 AM this morning).

This is 9 1/2 hours of cooking at 250-350 degrees fahrenheit.

If this is what you did, then they were well overcooked and not surprisingly dark on the outside.

At this temp, they should have been perfectly done after say 5 hours or so, maybe 6 tops. It depends and you should always go by your calibrated thermometer to confirm ready-times.

No worries, we have all overcooked stuff. It's part of the learning experience. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was thinking the same thing.

Yes the wood is seasoned, but I seem to be getting thicker white smoke than I want sometimes. I try to preheat the wood by laying it in the back of the firebox before I throw it on the coals.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Could be, but they weren't dry at all. Yes, you have the timeline correct. Each bird had a digital temp probe in the breast. I cooked them all to 170 breast temp. Luckily, the neighbors bird was done on time. The two for me hit a plateau at 160 for a couple of hours.

250 to 350 is the temp range I was trying to hold it in. It did drop lower once or twice, after I was above 140 meat temp. Since I was over the 140 threshold, I didn't worry about it too much. The maverick remote temp probe worked well. I found it to be getting intermittent reception in the house though.
post #6 of 20
You might want to check and calibrate your thermometers. Turkeys should not "plateau at 160 for a couple of hours".
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Will do. Course, maybe it just seemed that long with all the anticipation. :)
post #8 of 20
Good catch on the timeline rivet, I guess didn't read it.

Yea 11 hours they should have turned to stone. I am surprised they were good. Seems like something is wrong here.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I must've spent more time under 250 than I thought.

I did notice a 50 degree difference between the Lang guage and the Maverick probe. The probe was on the elevated rack in between two birds. I figured the lower reading was due to the birds being relatively cold and sheilding the probe from the smoke.
post #10 of 20
Did you taste the skin? Mine was very dark also, looked burnt but was very tender and hardly smoked as far as flavor. I dont eat the skin personally but do make a stock with it. I used apple wood.

post #11 of 20
Totally off course a the time an temp, but how much sugar was in yer rub? Sugar will turn black durin smokin to.
post #12 of 20
I notice that you used a rub. If you used a rub with sugar in it the sugar will burn and blacken at 350 degrees.
post #13 of 20
Hmmm. I just realized that I had brown sugar in my brine and it took smoke quick within 10 minutes, but it came out good.
post #14 of 20
The skin on the turkeys I smoke ALWAYS turn out black too, but taste great, so never was a concern to me.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
This is the rub recipe
  • 3/4 cup paprika (Hungarian if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup celery salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
So yes, there was 'sugar', however, what I had in the cupbord was 'Splenda'. Perhaps a process as natural as smoking doesn't like 'fake' sugar.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Another question, Since a turkey is usally so big, and creosote is a problem when the meat is cold, has anyone ever tried 'preheating' the bird in the oven so that the smoke would be less likely to condense on the cold bird?

I'm sure the best solution is to stick with the thin blue and not produce much smoke to begin with. Just wondering if anyone's tried it.
post #17 of 20
Just like others have said-too long in the smoker and sugar in the rub.

Here is a link of the pics of my 4 turkeys that I did on my Lang.
Turkeys on the Lady

Temps ran between 275-300* and took 4 hours. Wood was White Oak for heat and Maple and Cherry for flavor.

Whenever a rub calls for granulated sugar, I use turbinated sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw) in it's place. It will take the higher heat without burning.

Link about Turbinado Sugar.
post #18 of 20
160 degrees is not a plateau with turkeys. The USDA recommends 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. I would have pulled them and let them rest under a foil tent to finish the last 5 degrees, not continue to smoke them for 2 more hours.

A lot can go wrong smoking turkeys, for the longest time I always did ham on thanksgiving because it is so forgiving. After a couple of good turkey smokes though, the confidence level goes back up.

Just to clarify about temps, if your thigh reads 170 and breast reads 160 or more, I'd pull it and tent it under foil for 20 minutes before carving. By doing so, your well within in the USDA guidelines.
post #19 of 20
I've never tried it. Best way of preventing creosote is to use well seasoned wood and allow the air to move in the box. You should never adjust the top dampers to control temperature. they should always be wide open when actively smoking meat to allow the smoke an escape.
post #20 of 20
I smoke ta 155° in the breast, carry over temps will run ya the rest a the way.
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