First time turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by linedpaper, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. linedpaper

    linedpaper Fire Starter

    I'm going to do a practice run turkey before Thanksgiving rolls around.  My practice I'm going to go a bit smaller if I can find it, but game time will be about a 15lbs turkey.  In the past before I had a smoker I've always done a dry brine and oven bag.  While the skin never came out crisp, the meat was moist and that's what my guests cared about most.  This year I'm going for the smoker instead which means no bag.  I'm wondering if a wet brine would be better for this, I know there are differing opinions, but it seems to be the favored method.

    I'm also trying to decide if I should spatchcock the turkey or not.  For this size it doesn't sound like it's required, but the skin might come out more crispy if I do.  I'm also doing a 5k in the morning so I'll have a bit less time to sit around home than normal and if I spatchcock it seems it would shorten up the time a bit.

    Lastly I see some people suggesting cooking closer to 325 and others more in the 250-260 range.  Any suggestions in regards to this?


  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I prefer a dry brine. One thing with the bag is you trap moisture and that will make for non-crisp skin.

    I like to spatch the bird. Dry brine and make sure the skin is air dried. Best to do it overnight in the fridge if you have the time.

    Higher temp smoke, 325 is best for all poultry. You'll get a smokey bird, moist meat and crispy or at least good bite through skin.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I think Case has you covered.

    The only thing I would add would be if your smoker won't get up to 325, then you can pull it out early.

    About 150 IT & finish it in the oven or on a grill to crisp up the skin.

    As Case said spatchcocking is the way to go.

  4. linedpaper

    linedpaper Fire Starter

    Thanks for the info!  I have a SmokeVault, haven't tried to go much above 260 yet so I'm not sure how hot I'll be able to get it.  
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    No problem with a Smoke Vault.

    I have one & it will easily do 400 degrees.

  6. linedpaper

    linedpaper Fire Starter

    Thanks for all of that info!  With a dry brine spatchcock turkey at 325 or so, any guess on how long I should allow for that?  Aim for an IT of 160 or so?


  7. jakester

    jakester Smoke Blower

    Did you do your practice run? If so how did it turn out and what method did you use?
  8. linedpaper

    linedpaper Fire Starter

    I never had the time as I was out of town too much on the weekends leading up to Thanksgiving and couldn't find a turkey at the store prior to then.  I just have to get it right the first time :D

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