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How much wood to smoke a turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by rmloan, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. rmloan

    rmloan Newbie

    Yesterday (Thanksgiving), I smoked my first turkey.  I used hickory and cherry wood on top of the coals.  The 12 lb. bird was on the smoker for 8 hours.  I kept hickory or cherry wood on the coals for most of those 8 hours.  Although my family raved about the bird, I thought the smoke taste was a bit too rich.  What is a good rule of thumb for the percent of time to keep wood smoking on the coals?

    If this subject is already addressed on the forum, I would appreciate a link. 


    The New Guy
  2. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Seems like a long time to cook a Turkey?  What temps did you smoke at and what temps did you smoke the bird to?  I cooked a 12 pound bird at 235° for about 5 hours until the breast was @ 165°.  I had smoke the whole time.  The bird was very moist and had great color to it.  It may have been a lot colder where you were so maybe that was why it took so long to cook the bird.  Poultry takes on smoke very easy so you just want a very thin blue smoke coming out of the smoker.  If it is white smoke the bird is gonna have a too smokey flavor to it.  I think your problem was not too much smoke but the bird was on for a little bit to long but without knowing the conditions (smoker type, outside temps, wind) I am just taking a shot in the dark.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just don't over do the smoke. Easy to do with newbies. You really can back off quite a bit once you reace a 140 degree internal temp of meat, as pores start to close up then and accept no more smoke. The surface of meat will still take on smoke though. Just keep that smoke thin and blue.


    Good smoke on right.
  4. rmloan

    rmloan Newbie

    Thanks for the reply.  I think you are correct about the bird being on for too long and the smoke too heavy.  I need to check the smoker thermometer and my meat thermometer.  I kept the smoker at 240 to 260 degrees.  The smoke was a bit blue in color.  I will get a digital meat thermometer.  I planned on six hours to smoke the bird plus an hour to rest it.  I kind of started stressing as dinner time got closer and closer.

    I am in Collierville, TN just east of Memphis.  It was not cold outside.  By the way, I see you are in Spring, TX.  I was raised right off West Mt. Houston Rd and I-45 (many years ago).

    The smoker was made by West Texas Welders.  They made it for my Dad as a retirement gift.  It is made of two 30 inch pieces of heavy gauge still pipe. The pipes are welded together at about the half-way point.  I keep the coals in  the bottom part.

  5. rmloan

    rmloan Newbie

    Thanks for the great pic.  I posted a reply to ECT01 with a pic of my smoker.  I think it may take a while to post a pic since I am new.  Thanks for both replies.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  6. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Ecto1 on this, seems like a long time for a turkey, I live in northern IL, and I've done 14# birds, and it never took that long
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree seems like a really long time in the smoker. My 9 birds all took around 4 hours each and they were in the 13-15 lb range.