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Couple First Turkey Questions


Joined Nov 21, 2010
Hey guys, wanted to throw some random, yet unrelated, first turkey questions out there.  I've been reading and researching for a few weeks now, and as the day is approaching, still want to get some opinions.

First, I will be doing a fresh, never frozen 12 lb locally raised bird from the local butcher shop on my 18.5" WSM.  I will be using Tip's brine.  I think I'm going to skip the injection this time around, just go brine.  Obviously, some butter and olive oil for the skin and under.  Also planning on some apple, carrots, celery, and onion in the cavity.  Still debating on that.  Going to aim for 250*-275*, as I'm hoping to get something close to crispy skin (I'll broil if needed for a few minutes)

The first question is, what is the consensus on the water pan?  Full?  Empty?  Clay saucer?

Secondly, breast side up?  Down?  Flip?

And lastly, any special recipes for gravy from the drippings?  I think I may be more excited about that.

Thanks in advance guys.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I use a drip pan but I usually use one of the throw away ones so you don't have to clean it. Also breast side up/down/flip is a personal preference. Some will say it makes it better one way vs. another but it comes down to your personal preference. The best advice I can give is to try it both ways and see what you like best. I know that doesn't help you out right now but with most smoking procedures its all about personal preference. 


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 12, 2009

Ok welcome to SMF. Now for the bird I would always run water in the water pan or you could run some sort of juice in there to. I haven't found that if you use juice that it does any good anyway. Then to the breat up/down. I always run the bird breast up just for presentation. I think that it looks better then alot of grate markings on the turkey's breast meat. Now for the gravy I don't have a special recipe for that cause that is the wifes job and I usually don't keep the drippings anyway. So enjoy your first smoked bird and don't forget the Q-view


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 5, 2008
You might not get enough drippings to make much gravy, so you can try doing what I plan on doing.  Get one of the disposable pans like rbranstner suggested, and add a little chicken stock to it.  That way you will have enough stock and drippings to make gravy.  Now for my gravy recipe, it's very simple.  Put your liquids (your stock and drippings) in a pot and slowly bring to a simmer.  I have a shaker container (I'd take a pic to show you, but it's being delivered with the rest of my house goods) that I put 3 heaping TBS of all purpose flour in, then fill the rest w/ water.  Next shake your shaker to mix the flour and water, making sure there's no clumps.  Once it's all shook up, slowly add it to your liquid while wisking.  Remove from heat and there you go, you have gravy.

The shaker cup looks like a protein shaker that you can find at GNC or other health food stores.  Try checking the the cooking sections of Walmart or any other place like it.  If you can't find one, you can always use the protein shakers.  Once it comes in and I get it unpacked, I'll post a pic of it if you'd like.


Joined Nov 21, 2010
Awesome guys, thanks for the tips.  I think I'll go breast side up, to avoid some grate marks and make for the pretty presentation.  This is going to the in-laws after all.

I'm thinking I'll do some water in the pan, but put a drip-pan with some chicken stock and an onion maybe on the lower rack of the WSM to catch the drippings.

The gravy will be an experiment, but I'll keep you all posted.  I'll try to get some Qview as well.  Thanks again!

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