My first turkey -- a few questions

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bigorangesmoker, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. I've been reading a lot here and still have a few questions about smoking my first turkey, which I want to do tomorrow.
    Here are my variables:
    1. 13-lb. fresh turkey.
    2. I have the Brinkmann electric smoker and I use mesquite chunks for smoke. I am in Central Florida, so cool weather is not a problem. It's still very warm here.

    1. I know what brine I want to use, but want to make sure about time. For my 13-pounder, I figure 9-10 hours. Is that correct? Most everything I am reading here says about that much time with folks brining it overnight. I will also rinse the turkey after brining.
    2. With my Brinkmann electric smoker, any idea of how long it might take? I am not opposed to moving the turkey to the oven after some time on the smoker, as long as it has gotten some good flavor for a couple of hours or so. If I do move it to the oven, what temperature there?
    3. This question sort of goes with No. 2 as I am not 100 percent sure at what temperature to pull the turkey. Is it 165 degrees?
    4. When I pull the turkey, how long do I let it rest? I have done several Boston butts and have wrapped them in foil, thick towels and put them in a cooler to rest anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. All have come out very nice. Do I wrap the turkey in foil and towels and put it in a cooler like the Boston butts? If not, what would I do and how long?

    I know there are lots of quesitons here, but I appreciate anything anyone can do to help. I've enjoyed learning a lot here and, hopefully, can get some specific answers to my questions.

    P.S. Don't hate me too much for using an electric smoker. For our family's lifestyle, it's the best choice at this point. I hope to graduate to a "real" smoker sometime soon!
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The amount of time really depends on the salt content personally I like Travcoman's Brine Recipe and I brine it overnight.
    Personally I like to hot smoke turkey to crisp the skin I smoke at 325 or so but many electrics won't go that high but 275 should get a crispy skin.
    I would guess 4-6 hours depending on smoker temp but take the bird to 170 internal in the breast and thigh
    Usually I will tent foil the bird for 20-30 minutes before carving if you go to long the skin will get soggy
    Good luck and hope you have a great smoke
  3. Piney,

    Thanks TONS! Major props for helping out. Your answers will, hopefully, lead to a good first-time turkey smoke!
  4. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No need to worry about that, lots of folks here use electric and I started out on an electric Brinkman gourmet and turned out many good smokes, all that matters is that you can smoke tasty meat on it.

    9-10 hours for the turkey would be fine, you could even let it go as long as 12 hours if you needed to.
    Make sure to turn the bird a few times while it sits in the brine.

    Jerry gave you great advice about the skin so if you can get your smoker to run at 275-325 then go with that for temp, if not then you could either just not eat the skin or finish it off in the oven, lower temps and the skin will be chewy.
    I pull my birds at 170 but for me I have found thatthe last place to come to proper temp is in the thickest part of the thigh so I like to place my probe there.
    Don't wrap in foil and towels like you would with pp or brisket, I also lay a tent of foil over the bird and let it rest about 15-20 minutes before slicing.
    Good luck with the smoke.
  5. Thanks so much Piney and Fire, I sincerely appreciate the help. The turkey is tented right now and will be sliced in 15 minutes or so. No pictures this time ... too concerned about getting everything done correctly. Hopefully, this will turn out nice and I will be much more comfortable when I do another one for Thanksgiving.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Sounds great be sure to tell us how it came out. What smoker temp did you use? Details man details [​IMG]

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