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1st smoke

Hoosier1989

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Hi guys first time smoker. Did a 19.5 lbs turkey for 9.5 hrs aimed for 225 temp but chased it the whole time. Also the skin turned black and bitter is that creosote? Used 95%mulberry with a few chunks of brabford pear and maple. Looking for advice thanks.
 

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kilo charlie

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Welcome to SMF!

With poultry I would smoke at higher temps and shorter times. 350F ish for much shorter time - that big of a turkey closer to 3 to 4 hours I am guessing. Based on the picture of your smoker you can easily spatchcock the turkey and cook it a little more evenly too.
The skin turned black because it's burnt and over smoked and it doesn't appear you had a clean burning fire.

There's likely to be some better answers from some smarter people coming up!
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Agree with the others above. That turkey is oversmoked and the billowy white smoke is the cause.
Also, don't cook by time, cook by internal temp (IT).

Edit: Also cooking a 19.5# whole bird is pushing it food safety wise. Best to spatchcock gobblers that size.
 
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Hoosier1989

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I made the mistake of think the more billowing white smoke the better. After some research I found that's the opposite of what you want. Kilocharlie why higher temps and shorter times? Besides the skin being better I was more than happy with the bird it was very moist. Smokingupnorth I finished at 225 according to the thermostat on the lid. Should I be using less wood with the exhaust opened up for a cleaner smoke?
 

Hoosier1989

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Agree with the others above. That turkey is oversmoked and the billowy white smoke is the cause.
Also, don't cook by time, cook by internal temp (IT).
So I need to invest in a probe to do this right? I've always used grills and fire pits that I've homemade and never temped the meat just done by looks. This is my first real smoker.
 

PPG1

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Welcome to SMF. A first time smoke is generally an experience. After you learn a little more on Fire management it will become more enjoyable. I agree with everyone above "to much of the wrong kind of smoke" If you have the "want " to smoke meat you will pick up the method quickly by following advise from some of the oldtimers on this forum
 

SecondHandSmoker

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So I need to invest in a probe to do this right? I've always used grills and fire pits that I've homemade and never temped the meat just done by looks. This is my first real smoker.
Yes, you will need a good programmable digital probe thermometer to monitor both IT and smoker temp.
Having been a long time griller, I would use time as a general guideline only. I used an instant read thermometer to check the IT while grilling/smoking on gassers.
 

Hoosier1989

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Joined Jun 20, 2021
Agree with the others above. That turkey is oversmoked and the billowy white smoke is the cause.
Also, don't cook by time, cook by internal temp (IT).

Edit: Also cooking a 19.5# whole bird is pushing it food safety wise. Best to spatchcock gobblers that size.
Is a 19.5 lb bird unsafe because of how long It take to get up to temp?
 

smokeymose

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I made the mistake of think the more billowing white smoke the better. After some research I found that's the opposite of what you want. Kilocharlie why higher temps and shorter times? Besides the skin being better I was more than happy with the bird it was very moist. Smokingupnorth I finished at 225 according to the thermostat on the lid. Should I be using less wood with the exhaust opened up for a cleaner smoke?
Welcome to SMF from another Hoosier!
Higher temps will firm up the skin some and get it done quicker.
225 is too low a temp for poultry, especially that big.
You're on the right track with opening the exhaust all the way, controlling the heat/fire with the intake dampers. Maybe less wood.
I get the best thin blue smoke from my offset at 260 to 280. Everything cooks fine at those temps.
Yeah, get a probe that measures the chamber at the grate where your food is. Factory thermometers are notoriously inaccurate.
I've been chasing temps around with mine all morning LOL! That;s the nature of most stick burners.
Don't give up :-)
 

tallbm

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So I need to invest in a probe to do this right? I've always used grills and fire pits that I've homemade and never temped the meat just done by looks. This is my first real smoker.
Hi there and welcome!

The guys are right on with their info.

Yeah get a dual probe (or more) wireless thermometer. Use 1 probe in the meat to get the Internal Temp (IT) and another probe fixed at rack level to get the most accurate smoker temp. Can't trust any onboard thermometers. I suggest a minimum of 4 probes and 6 probes is the best. This allows you to put probes on multiple racks or along a rack as well as in multiple pieces of meat.

With poultry (turkey and chicken) the skin will be rubbery unless you cook at 325F+ or do some other time and labor sucking things. I prefer to let the heat do tall the work plus with big birds like 19+ you will safely cook the bird at those temps.

Once you have a multi probe thermometer life will get easier and food will get way better.
Turkey is done when the IT deep in the breast meat is 165F. Every bit that it goes over 165F makes it drier and less flavorful so nailing it something that a temp probe will allow you to do.
Other cuts of meat like pork butts and briskets are done when they are tender never by time or temp. However, temp will tell you when to check for tenderness so it is important again.

You can get whole chickens for cheap and keep practicing and you can start to nail your fire and smoke management while practicing with whole bird poultry. Also you can start to practice brining or injecting (I prefer brining) which will be important for whole birds and turkey to get the best flavor and juiciest birds you can make!

I hope all this info helps and keep at it :)
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Hoosier1989 Hoosier1989 The main thing is to not get discouraged just because your first smoke didn't turn out as expected. Practice and patience is key. Plus, you can always seek advice here on SMF. There is no such thing as "stupid questions" here at SMF because we've all been there!
 

uncle eddie

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Hi and welcome from Central Missouri.

Thanks for posting, especially a bad experience. It will help others learn for sure.

I smoke a LOT of turkeys and have found the best size (for us) is in the 10-12 pound range. My smoker has a top temp of 275F (MES40) which still makes rubbery skin...but to fix that I finish it in the oven for about 15 minutes to crisp the skin. If you can get your smoker up to 325F or 350F, you should have really nice results.
 

Colin1230

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I can't add anything to the great advice already given but just want to say welcome, glad you joined us.
 

mike243

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I personally would skip the Bradford pear, it bears no editable fruit that I have ever know off, its a ornamental tree . to much smoke at the end will cause bitter bark , if early it has a chance to mellow out towards the end of the cook,also welcome to the site, lot of folks around here that can help out on most any thing
 

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