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Smoking first turkey - first post too

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Have about a 14-15lb bird and was going to smoke it with hard-oak wood.

Question is do I still following the same temp/time instructions [30 min/lb] if I were to stuff the turkey with stove-top stuffing mix, which I was going to add, celery, purple onion, sliced mushrooms and chopped-up venison sausage. Pls let me know what you think?

I have a good-tyme two-door smoker with 18"[L-R] fire box...have a temp gauge with 3 ft wire where i can read w.out opening lid...was going to put turkey in a large foil pan, then cover when browned enough, basting with salt.pepper.butter.olive oil every hr.

Appreciate your input.

Merry Christmas,
Tom & Family
post #2 of 12
In my opinion never ever stuff a bird you're gonna smoke! Allows too much time for bacteria to grow in it and you're asking for problems. My rec is to temp the thigh at 175 and pull. Lots pull at 170, but I like to take it a little further.
post #3 of 12
First off welcome to the forum.
Second stop off at Roll Call and Introduce yur self
Third....This is just my opinion but stuffing a bird to smoke is an absolute No No....The stuffing leaves you too much of a chance for bacteria to get in there and make you or your loved ones very ill for the holidays.As you cook the bird the blood and other stuff will get into yur stuffing and you cannot get the temos in the stuffing hot enough for safety without over cooking the bird big time..Im not gonna comment on temps at all as I strongly believe you should not stuff and smoke a bird....Some of teh other guys will chime in shortly and may have some suggestions for you.....Good Luck

But this is another opinion that I found. Notice ALX's response on this thread. He has stuffed and smoked a bunch of turkeys with no issues. I almost erased my info above but its the way I feel...ALX is very experienced cook and with him saying its OK I woudl say go for it. i value his opinion very much.....Hope I didnt muddy this up too much..
post #4 of 12
Welcome to the site. Like mentioned below, stop by roll call and give all of us a good into. Name, where your from, smoking exp, stuff like that.

With that said, keep your Turkeys to a good size when smoking. 14# is really about the largest you want to go. Read the link scpatterson gave you, a smoke that ALX did. He won't steer you wrong. I personally would always be a bit leary of smoking a bird with stuffing simply due to the danger zone time/temp. 40-140 degrees, combine this with no or low oxygen and you provide the perfect breeding grounds for some nasty bacteria to develope.
Also, check out this link. Some good info.


Like we said, stop by roll call and if you have any other questions, by all means, just ask. Someone will jump in and point you in the right directioin. Great to have you here with us.

post #5 of 12
Well I sell alotta poultry. Personally I wouldn't stuff, make that on the side. But if ya wanna ya sure can.

Brine that bird, put it on about the middle rack a yer smoker, get yer box temps in the 325° - 350° range an smoke it. If ya wanna catch the juices, put the pan under the bird ta catch em.

Those temps will get ya through the danger zone an also give ya a nice skin texture.

Course, this just all my opinion, that an 50 cents get ya a cup a joe at juniors diner.

Good luck.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
First off, thank you guys for your feedback and I will post to roll-call when I wrap-up here.

You guys have me convinced not to stuff & smoke @ low temp's like 230...I like the higher temps and shorter cooking times anyway. As suggested, this time I will smoke without stuffing and just add that to the smoker towards the firebox side an hr or so before done.

I did brine the turkey [it is 16.5lbs, bigger than I thought] for the first time based on the site's' recommendation. Here are some final questions and I hope then will be good to go:
  1. Since I brined the turkey, is injecting still a good idea?
  2. Since I am not going to stuff [at least this time], what temp's would you recommend for a 16.5 lb turkey and min/lb suggestion?
  3. Do you guys see any problem leaving the turkey breast-up in a foil pan, basting as needed then covering with foil when browned enough?
Thank you very much and I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas.


PS - I am going to add some orange/citrus to my basting, which seems to have yielded some great results here.
post #7 of 12
If I were you I would read all these post that theses guy wrote for you and do just what they say cause after all yes they are that good. They will never lead you in a wrong direction we just don't do that here. We all love to smoke meat and food and really enjoy teaching others to do the same.
post #8 of 12
Yep - good plan laid out, based on the posts thus far.

#1 - a bird that big, gotta treat it like you would in the oven (but it will be better, cuz ya smoked it! :-)
Meaning - cook at higher temps.

#2 - no stuffing it, good call.

#3 - brine AND inject? I quit injecting a while back, because I'm too uncoordinated icon_wink.gif However, some do both, some do just the brine...like me. Either way, IMO - if you brine a bird that big - you are already on your way to a home run! It will really help.

#4 - I don't baste but 2 - 3 times throughout, but I get some rub UNDER the skin before I smoke. If you do it gently, trying not to tear the skin, that helps with flavor too.

#5 - breast up - breast down? This might depend on your smoker. Are there any hot spots? Remember this rule of thumb: the hottest you need to get the breast is 165°, anything higher starts to dry her :-)

The thigh needs to hit 175 - 180' ish...to be 100% done and safe and generally good to eat.

I smoke breast up, because of the way my smoker is laid out (offset). More heat towards the bottom so the thighs hit 170 about the time the top hits 155 tongue.gif

I hear a lot of folks say that breast up / breast down is the same for them, when they've tried it both ways. A lot of others flip the bird 1/2 way through or something...once again, defer to your cooking instincts. If you cook breast up, (good, safe plan, IMO) and the bottom looks like its browning too fast compared to the breast - flip it for 30 minutes...if the breast is browning too much, THEN give it a semi-loose foil tent on top, to protect the breast while the bottom catches up.

Hope that shed a tiny light on things. Good luck!!
post #9 of 12
I brine an inject turkey's cause there a larger bird. Just gives ya a chance ta add another layer a flavour. It sure won't hurt a thing.

I use a good rub on the skin, one with raw sugar in it cause it don't burn like processed sugar. That gives the bird a nice carmel color with out foilin it. Just how I do it. Yall will have to experiment some ta see what works for ya.

Breast up, breast down, tried it both ways several times, fer me, didn't make a lick a difference, Much a what I do is fer customers an presentation is important to them, so it's breast up. With an unstuffed bird, yer gettin heat comin at the breast from both sides anywho.

Bastin, it won't hurt nothin, but remember ever time ya open the smoker ya can add upta 15 minutes more smokin time. I spritz once in awhile, but find I don't do that much anymore with the drum smoker. Just dosen't need it.

Good luck, Merry Christmas an treassure the time with family.
Good Smokes
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Many thanks to all that helped with smoking my first turkey - the reviews from the family, in-laws, [very critical brother-in-law] and even my USDA-stamped wife, were all outstanding. :)

After I got the turkey to desired temp [smoked for from 9:00pm to 3:30pm], I pulled it with tray, basted one more time, put foiled back on and then wrapped in 2 large towels [too big for ice chest]. Did not cut into her until 6:00pm, but still juicy, especially from about an inch down from the top of the breast and all the dark meat...had a very nice reddish-pink ring on the outside. I would be interested in knowing anyone's technique for keeping a bird [or anything] as juicy as possible if you are not going to cut into it for 2-3 hrs, vs the 15 minutes I learned of on this forum.

Again, thank you gentlemen and I look forward to corresponding with you all/guys for many yrs to come.

Hope you all have a safe and prosperous New Yr.

post #11 of 12
No Queu View?????????????????????????????????????????????? ???
My feelings are Hurt
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry, when I got home, I left the d-camera at the ranch...the winds were gusting 45-50 mph with at least a steady 20-30 mph...talk about trying to keep a steady fire...i felt like the old 3-dayers in the full-pads working in that wind...have a good one guys - tstex
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