My first smoked turkey.

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Mar 6, 2006
My Computer
This thanksgiving I want to do my first smoked turkey. I've fried one every year, and will this year also. But I wanna do a smoked one too. And I need help.
1. I'm going to find out what time we will eat, So I need to figure out what size bird I'll need and how long it will take to smoke it.

2. By the look of every thing I've read brining is the way to go. But because it's brined does it still need to be injected or is the brining enough?

3. What is the best type of wood to use for smoke? My local supermarket only has mesquite, and hickory. I have a local guy that sells firewood I could check with him or order online.

4. Should I time the bird to come out just before we eat or should I do it ahead of time wrap with foil and cover with towels and place in a cooler?

5. Anything I missed about a smoked turkey, please add any info possible.
I plan on smoking a turkey also, i'll brine it over night, trim off all the fat, put a rub on the in and out side, smoke it heavy for about 3 hrs aboput 200-225, after that ,i'll crank up the heat ot about 350 and finish it off. 18lb turkey.

Brine i'll use is 3 gal water, 4 cups kosher salt, 1gal apple juice or sweet cider, 4 cups sugar, 8tbs pepper,3 tbs rosemary, 3tbs, thyme, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 cup white drinking wine, 1/2 cup worchestershire sauce.

Rub-- what ever is near, brown sugar, garlic powder, rosmary, thyme

after smoking heavy for 3 hrs, i'll brush it with oil and just bake it off-about 350

cherry, maple, locust and oak wood, what ever is handy in the pile.
i'll wrap it in foil when i take it out for a while before we set it on the table
i want it done about an hr before serving
If you brine there is no need to inject the brine should be enough.
I just did my practice bird on Sunday, and I used a small amount of apple and it seemed like the turkey absorbed more smoke that pork or beef has in the past. I've always read that turkey or chicken is alot easier to over smoke tham other meats so I'd be careful with the hickory or mesquite.
As far as resting the bird, if you want crispy skin I would not wrap in foil after the bird is done, I just treat it like a bird from the oven and let it rest for 15- 20 minutes uncovered.
What temperature are you planning on smoking at? I was a reluctant to smoke the turkey at a high temperature at first but after doing it that way I don't think I'll be going low and slow with a turkey in the future.
From what I found Dutch did an 11pd and a 12pd bird @250 for 7 hrs. so I was going to use that as a starting point.

So I'm going to brine and not inject.

I tried looking around my town and found that ACE hardware carries BBQers DELIGHT wood pellets, But I never used pellets before so I emailed candy and sent her a pic of my smoker and she recommended for the volume of my smoker to use two foil packages of the apple pellets, let 1st one smoke for 45 mins, than add the 2nd.

Not to foil, so I guess a 11 - 12pd bird 6 - 7 hours, so I will start it at about 71/2 - 8 hrs before we plan to eat, that will give me around 1/2 - 1 hr rest time before carving.
After the smoke is in the bird does the rise in temp from 250-350 make it any less moist? also do I remove water pan in the smoker before raising the temp? Also for a 11-12 pd bird how does that effect cook time, I'm using a internal therm so I'm not worried about over cooking but trying to time the bird being done, rest time, time of meal.
To get to that temperature you would probably need to empty the water pan. However if you roast her too long at 350° she may dry out! I would think maybe smoke her at 250° and the last hour crank her to 350° to crisp the skin up. Your thoughts, brothers? :roll:
Last year I did mine beer can style on my GOSM. I cooked it at 350 the whole time. I think it was about 2 to 2.5 hours. I didn't brine it either and boy was it delicious. It was a 12 #er. I've kinda gotten into doing breasts lately. I usually smoke them at about 275. The whole purpose of low and slow is to take a piece of meat that is basically unedible and turn it into something magical by breaking down the connective tissues. Poultry doesn't need to be cooked as low as pork and beef to be tender and juicy. Plus you have the whole danger zone thing with poultry at lower temps. You can get wonderful results at higher temps. But if you want to smoke at 225, I would suggest using a smaller bird. I think a bigger one such as an 18# turkey would be too big at a real low temp.
350 will be fine. I use that temp for all of my beer can chickens and I have no problems. I am doing a beer can turkey for my workplace this thanksgiving.

BTW, if the bird gets done early will it hurt it to wrap it in foil and put it in a cooler?
I grew up watching my step dad smoke turkey every Thanksgiving and decided it was time for me to break the proverbial cherry. I bought a brinkmann water smoker. I had a blast putting it together today. Now Im nervous. I remember aspects of the process but alas, not all. Im about to be smoking the main turkey for Thanksgiving for my wife and her parents so I want to make sure it comes out just right. I plan on getting a 12lb bird and smoking it for about 7-8 hrs. Ive got a couple questions tho...

Recommended wood and where to find?
I need to buy coals..any recommendations and where to find?
Do I use alot of wood for it or does a little go a long way?
Was thinking of using an apple cider concoction for the brine and the water to smoke with...any ideas/recommendations on this?

Any additional tips would be very much appreciated!

hey woody,

this is going to be my first brining experiment, i am going to try your recipe however, i have one question. do you think it would be ok to add some garlic cloves, or would the sweetness of the molassas, surgar and sweet cider be a bad combination?

or really i guess any one could answer this question.
Buzzard, you are in for a treat if this is your first brining experience. WOW. I think the garlic would go fine in the recipe that you are looking at.

Buzzard, I'll sometimes smash a couple of garlic cloves and then seperate the skin from the breast meat and then rub the cloves over the breast meat. Go easy when working your hand under the skin so the skin doesn't tear. I like garlic with just about any kind of meat.
that will work, im a little timid about rubbing under the skin, i will break it, i just wanted to make sure it would be ok in the brine with all the sweets.

this is my first go at it, my friends have more confidence in me then i do.

but if it goes well, i will have made it to the next level of becoming a smoke master, that will bump me to level 2 of 1034.
ok here is yet another question i just thought of (will this ever end) on the brining recipe, i knoticed he was using an 18lb turkey. i am using a 10.5lb turkey but using a 5 u.s.g. bucket. should i not use as much ingredients? or use the same cause it wont matter it will only absorb what it can. i am planning on brining it from about 10pm-8ish am is that too much? i can wait till midnight or later to start my brining.

by the time i am done i will be able to write a complete essay, and probably get a 95.

good one smoke, i just hope my other chick dont get jelious is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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