My first Turkey

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 31, 2006
Kenosha, WI
I'm having a Christmas party this coming weekend with 18 people total. We're doing one traditional turkey and I'm going to be smoking a second turkey. I've been reading around the site trying to absorb all info I can. One thing I can't get a grasp on is how much time should I allow? It will be roughly a 13lb turkey that I'm doing on my ECB. One other note, I'm in Wisconsin and although we're having a mild winter so far (after one blizzard) the weather will probably be in the 30s to 40s. This last summer was my first summer smoking so I've done pork, ribs, chickens and such but never have I tackled this amount of meat at once. Also, what type of wood would you guys suggest? Any other advice on anything else is greatly appreciated!

Up in Smoke is right you sure don't want to be waiting on the bird when dinner is served!
My Thanksgiving 12.5#'r took 4.75 hours with smoking temp at 235*
You can alway wrap and put in cooler to hold which is better than waiting and putting off the planed eating time. (Moma won't like that!)

for my 2cts use apple for the wood and be careful not to overdo it.
Turkey and Chicken won't stand a strong wood or oversmoking in my opinion

There is a lot of peace of mind, while cooking, if you use two probes in the bird. One in the breast and the other in the thigh. they will both rise at different rates rather quickly but the last temp rise comes slowly.
Get the thigh internal temp to 170* and the breast will be there or a little higher. If the thigh probe really outruns the breast probe go by the breast probe as the thigh probe is probably misplaced. Some will say the bird is done at 165* and that is a personal preference I guess.

If you want it crisp, like your house turkey, yeah you pretty much need to or you could probably smoke it slo for a couple hour and then crank it up! Hang out and maybe you will get some optional opinions…the more the merrier! Ya always want a choice, if ya can get one! :roll: By the way, are ya going to brine that puppy the night before?…Itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s to die for!
I was actually going to brine it. I found a honey brine recipe from Alton Brown that sounds pretty good. Here it is:

1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7-pound) bag of ice

Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

The reason I asked about the skin is because my ECB is electric and therefore I can't get up to 300 degrees. I was considering either using indirect on my grill or possibly just smoking for a couple hours then moving to the oven to finish it off. Opinions?
Here was my last turkey brining recipe:
Brining recipe:
1.5 gallons of water, 1.5 cups kosher salt, 1.5 cups white sugar, 3 tbl soy sauce, 3 tbl Worchester sauce, 2 tlb black pepper, 1 tbl garlic powder, 1 tbl rosemary, 1 tbl fennel seed, some fresh thyme and three dried ancho peppers. The peppers were a late addition as my mother-in-law dropped a bag off to me.
SmokingnOOb, Did you try running your waterpan empty? That would take up your temp. Also make sure your skin is nice and dry, and rub skin with butter or olive oil. Ive also heard a salt rub on skin will make it crispier, of course it might make it too salty! :roll:
I read in another turkey thread about soaking cheese cloth in butter and letting it sit on the turkey, re-dipping it every hour or so. I think I'm going to give that a shot. Sorry q3131a, I wish I would've seen your post before I made the brine, I would've taken it a little easier on it. I think I might add a little water to dilute it a little. It's soaking now and going on tomorrow morning. Oh, and Up in Smoke, I'm going to give that empty water pan a shot too and see what kind of temps I get. Thanks for all the advice. I'll post some pics when I get them.
You are all welcome. I love trying different brines.

I have found that the smaller wings and legs need less of a brine than a whole bird. I usually cut the salt by 25 to 50% and only brine for a few hours. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.