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First time smoking a turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by kooter, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Ive been reading about turkey smoking question is am i supposed to use a brine and a rub?
  2. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes......birds are about the only thing I brine for about 24 hours...then wash off. Dry bird. I then use olive oil rubbed on then a very liberal dose of my rub inside & out. Rest overnight. Some will not cover bird in fridge letting skin really dry out for crispy goodness. Dealers choice on that. Next day b4 smoking I take room temp butter, make a compound rub with more seasoning and gently push up under the breast skin jamming as much of the compound butter in there as I can. This will melt and baste the ta-ta's. Do not stuff the cavity. OK to stick an onion or orange/apple etc in there but no stuffing. Smoke away.....I prefer thighs IT around 175, assuring no bloody joints. Will be delicious and beautiful to look at......Willie 
  3. Thanks for the advice willie ill let you know how it goes
  4. I have a brining question. While reading various recipes on roasting turkeys (not smoking).....when brining is mention, most times they point out NOT to do it if the turkey is already injected with solution, claiming it is like "double-brining" and can make meat mushy.

    What is everyone's take on that?
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Kooter,welcome and hope you come to call this home for all your BBQing needs.

    Willie has you covered and leadiing you fine...I have only one sugestion . . . bite the bullet and get a 'Good" thermometer.

    That said , have a great Holiday and as always . . .
  6. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Welcome Kooter,Chef Willie really nailed that down for you. Will be the best bird you ever had.
  7. Sweet, I didn't even have to start a new post! My first time for a turkey as well, thanks for the info Willie! I do have one question though, do you like to cook low and slow or hot and fast for turkey? Do you baste/mop at any intervals during the cook?
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  8. ...I guess that's two questions, lol...
  9. Guess no one wants to answer my question???? :(
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I normally inject turkeys. I have never found anything to make meat mushy, although brining for too long will cause a change in the meats density, making the meats springy? Sort of like you chew and it springs back for more.

    I wouldn't eat anything that was mushy.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Maybe I can help. Chef is pretty busy this time of year and may not be here with an immediate ask to your question. Seems folks are more inclined these days to fast cook a bird, although I have tried it and yes you get a crisp skin I found the breast meat to be tuff. I will cook mine lower and slower, then maybe the last approx. hour take it to a hot oven to finish if I decide I want crisp skin. If crisp skin is important I would probably deep fry it, that maybe why I dislike fried.

    As to mop/baste/spritz it depends upon your cooker. Low and slow electric smoker you should not need it. Hot and heavy in a stick burner I might hit it maybe once and hour the last two hours although I don't know it would really be needed. Moping/basting/spritzing is normally reserved for when you want an excuse to show off what you are cooking in my humble opinion. Think about it, you rub down any meat before cooking. to ensure a crisp outer seal to retain the juices. If you have sealed it to retain juices why would you think Moping/spritzing/basting would help?

    Course we all know smoking is about individual tastes and learning how to make your personal interpretations work, mastering your own pit.

    These are just my opinions and we all know what opinions are like, right?.

    Hope it helps, Merry Christmas, and remember to enjoy the smoke.

    BTW here is where I tried hot and fast;

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  12. Thanks!! I always inject too...never any problems. To clarify cuz i can see where i wasnt clear....when i said "turkeys already injected..." i meant some store bought poultry will say "contains 15% of a solution of broth, salt, & spices". Been told that is partly to add weight (read...paying for liquid) but it also acts like a brine. Didnt notice thats what i bought till after i got home.... :(
  13. For low and slow would 200 deg work?
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depending upon your smoker..... 230 to 250 should do. Are you using an electric or a fire burner?
  15. I'm using an MES with AMNPS. Bird is about 10.5 lbs. I should anticipate about 8 hrs u think?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Somewhere like 6 to 7 probably, but remember to allow for resting also so you have a fairly large smoking window there. I always plan to allow for a half hour if possible because, well I am sure you know why. But I have done 15 mins in a hurry, and a couple a hours if not. Just be careful about leaving it out too long, but I have never had one last long enough to worry about it, (OH and don't forget to save those bones, bits & pieces for a gumbo!).

    I mean the above link seems it was a 14 lb turkey, at 275 and it only took 4 and 1/2 hours. So I am sure you're close enough.

    Remember with an AMPs to open the vent because like a fire place it needs to draw air thru, no air, no smoldering pellets in the AMPS. Once its smoking good, you can adjust the vent to fit your smoke. Or just leave it open this time, learn how to adjust it next time.

    Don't forget to take some pictures so we can see what and how ya did.

    Its not too hard, remember the cavemen could do it, just remember to relax, have patience, act like you know exactly what you are doing if anyone asks, and enjoy the smoke.

    Oh and when ya get a chance, click the "My Profile" icon above on the tool bar and take a min., but if nothing else make sure and enter where you sleep at night so we'll all know. In a lot of conversations here it will make a difference. Thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
    jimmy jam likes this.
  17. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Foam for answering those questions while I was frantically trying to avoid Christmas shoppers while scoring a .99 # ham from Safeway. And, my answer to Jimmy Jam is 250 degrees, or as close as I could come, on a propane smoker with temp swings. I now use an electric unit and the dial max is 250 so that's where I pretty much do everything with good results. Totally agree with the High Priest on mopping, spritzing etc. Used only to dazzle those gathered around the smoker, like hungry mongrels, drinking my beer and hoping to snag a loose rib or something. It's fun to watch the saliva start running sometimes while you squirt AJ around or have a mop dripping some concoction everywhere while slathering it on a rack of spares. I'm thinking close to 6 hours for a 10.5 bird, but always allow extra time to hold it so you can relax & not be stressed. And again, Foam is absolutely spot on with saving the carcass for stock making. The turkey scraps make a fantastic Gumbo along with that stock...with plenty to share with pals. Enjoy the smoke, dazzle them with your swagger around the pit and be humble when the compliments roll in. Merry Christmas....have fun.....Willie
    jimmy jam likes this.
  18. Thanks for all the great tips guys.  I'm about 5 hours into cooking this bird, and the skin has browned nicely, internal temps currently creeping up on 150, with my temp set at 230 for low and slow.  Not too many drippings are escaping that bird anyway at the lower temp, but I think I loaded a little too many pellets into the AMNPS because it appears to have caught across the top of the row and made it burn down too soon.  However, it's still making a nice thin smoke  so I don't think I'm going to disturb it, especially since I'm well past the halfway point of the cook.  I think I'm going to take it out just below 165 deg since i'll be resting it for a bit while we wait for guests to get here, then I'll pop it in a high heat oven to finish it off.
  19. Thank you willie, everything didnt go completely as planned.  I own a propane smoker, and we delt with a cold temps (23 wind)  that wouldnt allow my smoker to get above 200. finished the bird on a weber kettle for the last hour and half. Still turned out awesome. Everyone loved the turkey thanks again.
    jimmy jam likes this.