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Another turkey question

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by moodybubbles, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. moodybubbles

    moodybubbles Newbie

    I just got my smoker. It is a gas Cajun injector from cabelas. I tried it the other day and it seems to hold its temp. I did baby back ribs and Italian sausage. 2 hours of smoke then took the sausages out at approximately 3 hours but the ribs I left for 4 hours at 225-250 the whole time. Ribs were not tender or smoky tasting but reached temps of 170-180. Ribs weren't in there long enough I guess.

    Anyway the ribs made me more anxious about the turkey. I will do a brine tomorrow. After the brine for 24 hours or so I will Probably stuff some apples and celery into the cavity when it is ready to smoke. Try to get under the skin with some butter and herbs maybe tie up the legs and plop him directly on the rack, right? No need for a metal holder to stand it up? 225-250 for as long as it takes to get it to 160-165 then wrap in foil for awhile? How long will it take? I keep seeing folks say 5-6 hours or so. He is a 16 pounder so pretty big. My father in law used an old freezer setup many years ago and smoked his turkey for 16 hours or so. Using an electric hot plate to smoke so you know the temps couldn't have been very high. He claims the smoke is supposed to do the cooking. I thought the smoking motto was "low and slow" but I see so many with temps at 325 or so. I roasted in the oven at 325 for 5 hours so I thought the smoking was supposed to be much longer. I was thinking at least 12 hours.
  2. Well when smoking as with most poultry, you're gunna wanna smoke at a higher temp. Or else you'll end up with some skin that's rubbery as all get out. If you've had rubbery chicken skin, you'll know it's not great or very appealing...turkey skin is even worse. Lol. You really want that skin to crisp up. And don't worry about cookin to a certain time. Temperature is what's important. You can smoke something for 12 hours and it can be very over cooked or very much undercooked. That's why internal temperature monitoring is key.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF

    The USDA recommends you not smoke a turkey over 12 lbs  because most of the time you can't get a bigger bird through the danger zone in time to be food safe. This is also one of the reasons some people smoke at higher temps another reason is to get crispy skin in the 225 degree range the skin will be rubbery. The bird will not get as much smoke flavor smoking at the higher temps but the food safety aspect of it needs to be taken into account. If you want more smoke flavor you could go with a stronger flavored wood. The other thing you can do is spatchcock the turkey which basically means cutting the backbone out of it and pushing it down so it lays flat on the grate
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    The USDA needs to stop giving guidelines for smoking and just say cook them at (x) temperature for (x) lb turkey because my smokers like many get as hot as an oven does.   
  5. trigus

    trigus Newbie

    Ribs - you need to do the 3-2-1 (6 hour cook) at 225 degrees.

    Chicken and Turkey I have been doing at 365 degrees. Poultry does not need a lot of smoke, poultry is like a sponge with smoke. 
  6. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's a pretty big bird. I, personally, like my turkeys around 180 in the thighs, puts the breast around 175. Very moist still, crispy skin and no raw looking meat around the joints....a total turnoff to me for poultry.....Willie
  7. moodybubbles

    moodybubbles Newbie

    Thanks for all the Information. I've got it in the brine now. I want it done by noonish so I will get up early and go with the higher temps.
  8. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You will not be disappointed smoking at the higher temps,
  9. moodybubbles

    moodybubbles Newbie

    Also if I spatchcock it, how much does that reduce cooking time?