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Original poster
Jul 17, 2006
I am a newbe. I need all kinds of help. I am afraid I have gotten myself in a bind. I didn't know anything about smoking until I joined a Q team last month. As luck would have it, it was the Kansas state championship. Boy am I hooked. I watched and asked as many questions as I could think of. I started with the setup and ended with the turning in of the meat. Now, I am going to cook??? a turkey for compitition in Sept. I don't even have a smoker as yet. What is the best kind to buy? I am open for any and all suggestions. I need to know as much as you can teach me about the cooker and the preperation of the turkey, or anything for that matter. I am looking at brining as apposed to not brining. I may not have enough time to brine. I don't know what time they are going to inspect the meat but hopefully early the day before the compition. Turkey is the first thing to be turned in which is 12:30. HELP!!!! What a tall request. Sorry, but I am desperate.
pudgy, Welcome neighbor!!

You do have a lot on your plate, but fear not, you can do this, no problems.

For a smoker, I would recommend a Weber Smokey Mountain. A high quality cooker that won't break the bank and has a relatively easy learning curve. Don't know where in KS you're located, but if you're near the KC area you can pick one up at Smoke 'n' Fire in south Overland Park for $250 with a real nice thermometer intsalled. You can also find them on the net for around 2 bills, but you usually end up paying a little shipping. I've seen them for under 2 with free shipping but you usually have to wait for deal to come around to get that price.

Most commercially available turkeys will already be brined. The label will say injected with a xx% solution..... This means brined. This is good for a contest, because a turkey requires 24 hours in a brine to get the job done. The downside is you can't add any flavors to the brine so they can be a little plain. You can inject the bird to add flavor, but most things that have flavor, will color the meat and that is probably not good for appearance scores.
I suggest going with the best turkey you can find, Butterballs are great as they have been injected with butter in addition to the brine.
Get your cooker as soon as you can, and get some practice in so you can try a few different things for flavor.

Cooking turkey is a little different than cooking a pork butt or brisket that needs long cooking at low temps to tenderize tough cuts of meat. A turkey isn't tough, and will benefit from more heat to get it cooked quickly so as not to dry out the bird. Cooking at 275-325 is a really good way to get a juicy bird.

Most importantly, don't overcook poultry, this is the fastest way to dry it out. A good digital probe type thermometer to monitor meat temps will help a lot with this. 5-10 degrees before the bird is done, get it off the fire and let it sit loosely tented and heat that's in the meat will complete the cooking process.

Let us know what kind of cooker you decide to go with and we'll do our best to get you started off on the right foot with it.

Best of luck and happy cooking.
Well Scott pretty much covered the whole thing.

Only thing I can add: Welcome Pudg!
thanks for the advice. I am going to buy the weber this weekend. Hopefully, I can start cooking then.
Welcome to SMF, pudgy. Most all BBQ compititions require the use of charcoal (lump or briquette) or wood fires. Going with a Weber like Scott said is the Best way to go. I think I've seen more Webers in use in a cook-off than I have seen custom built rigs. To get in the proper mind set, check out tulsajeffs' 5-day eCourse. There is a lot of information in that course that will make things easier for you in the long run.

Best of Luck to you. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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