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Golden brown turkey skin? Need help!

kevin james

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Looking for any tips and/or tricks to get that beautiful golden brown skin on a whole smoked turkey.

I watched a video from Malcolm Reed (How To BBQ Right) and he recommended spraying the skin with a cooking spray like canola oil. I tried that but it didn't seem to work out to well. While my turkey was moist and delicious the skin was very dark by the first time I checked it, almost looked like the rub was burned an hour in to the cook. Not sure what caused it. I was smoking at 275 on my reverse flow stick burner, and the fire was super clean the entire time, no dirty smoke at all, and also no temp spikes. It was about a 14 LB bird if that makes any difference.

Since the turkey was great in all other respects, I decided to practice getting the skin color right on a whole chicken this last weekend since it's smaller and cheaper. This time I patted the skin dry and just applied a light coating of the same rub, no oil. The skin was much better on this bird, not overly dark, but still did not have that golden brown color I'm after.

Any help or advise would be appreciated as I'm hoping to get this dialed in ASAP before Thanksgiving!
 

TNJAKE

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These are obviously chickens but a birds a bird. I brush on Cajun butter throughout the smoke and get this color. I do the same for my turkeys
20200607_193012.jpg
20200328_181704.jpg
 

noboundaries

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I'm an oil on the skin guy, but shoot for a chamber temp in the 325-350F range. I've done 400F before and it still turned out great. Clean smoke is essential. A hot chamber helps in that area.
 

gmc2003

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Here's the first one I did on my WSM.


Chris
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Bump the temp for sure. 325-350 works great. I usually spatch and do that in my gasser and always have nice crispy skin
 

cooter79

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I usually slow smoke at 220-235 and then once it gets to 140 IT I will crank the temp to 425 and it will give it a nice and crispy skin. I have done EVOO with my rub as well as no EVOO and it turns out great both ways.
 

pineywoods

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There are different ways to achieve the brown skin. As was mentioned you can smoke it at anywhere between 325-400 and get crispy brown skin. As was also said you can start out at 200-225 then bump the temp at something over 325. You could also smoke to about 150 internal temp then put it into a 350-400 degree oven. Or my personal favorite smoke to an internal of 150 then carefully drop it into some 350 degree already hot oil and finish it there.
We call the last method smo-fried I did one that way when my wife had to work Thanksgiving in the ER then every year she worked it I had to cook more and more turkeys because a bunch of the staff had heard about the turkeys and would come down to the ER for lunch but hey at least the others supplied everything other than the birds and a couple double batches of Dutch's baked beans one spicy and one not.
 

kevin james

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Thanks for the ideas everyone. Gonna practice on another chicken this coming weekend and try some of your recommendations.
 

radioguy

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Start out by drying the bird before the cook, pat dry with paper towels, let it set another 30-60 minutes, dry again. I also read do not use butter [stick] as is has some water moisture in it, only use oil. Also use higher temps.

RG
 

pineywoods

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Thanks for the ideas everyone. Gonna practice on another chicken this coming weekend and try some of your recommendations.
Another one I forgot to mention is that you can use turbinado sugar also know as sugar in the raw in place of the brown sugar and it doesn't burn as easy as brown sugar. You can usually find the sugar in the raw at Walmart. Just swap it using the same amount you would of the brown sugar. I use it in all the rubs I make in place of brown sugar.
 

Bearcarver

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So much for the High Heat needed:
The picture below came from the last 2 hours having a Smoker Temp of 275° (My MES 40 Maximum temp).
And this tells everything that was done to it, from start to finish:
Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast

IMG_2360.jpg
 

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