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My Thanksgiving practice run

jakester

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This past Saturday I smoked my first Turkey and overall I was happy :-).

I dry brined for 2 days and then let it sit in the fridge overnight uncovered. I couldn't find any Tony C's injectable marinades so I just melted one stick of butter and 1 cup of Tuscan chicken broth and injected the bird all over. 

This was a 12# turkey, smoked on my 14.5 WSM with pecan wood. I kept the temp between 300-325 degrees and took about 3.5 hours.

One thing I would like to try to fix for next time is get the skin from being so dark. 

 

noboundaries

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Nice job on the turkey!  Whenever I've had really dark skin I think it is due to one or two things.  First, I loaded the bird too early and the smoke was too heavy.  Second, the temp was too high for too long early in the smoke.  Looking at your bird, I'm wondering if there is sugar in the dry brine you used.  Sugar can turn it dark too.
 

jakester

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There wasn't any sugar in the brine at all, but you might have a good point about putting the turkey into the smoker too early. It didn't taste bad or anything just darker in color then What i would've liked to have.
 

bdskelly

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Nice bird Jake! point! b
 

SmokinAl

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I think the bird looks great!

I like the color!

Nice job Jake!

Al
 

jakester

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Thanks Al! Thanks to you and all of the great people on this site I am learning a lot. 
 

zwiller

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I think the color is great too!  Once that is sliced up it would be perfect.  If that is too dark for you use less wood/smoke.  Remember you want thin blue smoke/TBS.  Takes some experience to dial this in. 
 

jakester

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Actually the smoke flavor was great (wouldn't mind if it was more smoke). I guess i'm just used to having a nice golden brown bird and with smoke you kinda of lose that. 
 

noboundaries

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Actually the smoke flavor was great (wouldn't mind if it was more smoke). I guess i'm just used to having a nice golden brown bird and with smoke you kinda of lose that. 
For more smoke flavor you can always put a little water in the pan.  Don't use much, maybe a half gallon to three quarts.  Fire up the WSM for a hot n' fast smoke, get it up to temp, then add the water.  Be VERY careful because the water will flash to steam when you add the liquid and you can get burned.  Then add the bird.  The water will drop the chamber temp initially but it will boil off, then the chamber temp will climb.  The moist environment will cause a smokier tasting bird, then the dry environment will allow the skin to crisp up. 

I dry smoke turkey in my WSM and get the color you are talking about, but the bird has a light smoke flavor (long story. My wife is a "super taster," an actual condition).  Below is a 16.3 lb Butterball I did a week ago Saturday in my WSM, high temp the whole time.  Mix of 50/50 hickory and cherry wood mixed in Kingsford Original briquettes.  Melted butter and seasonings only on the skin.  No basting.

 

salesbbq

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Doing a bird for my buddy on the UDS today.

Her she sat in a brine for 26 hours and got her all cleaned up ready for some injection and dry rub


All seasoned up and full of butter. Tried to throw some paprika on to get an even color but that was a fail. Used a little kosher and rib tickler.


An hour into the cook and its smoking right around 250. Wanted to cook at higher temp but the pan Im using is so big I feel its restricting airflow. I have all 3 valves on the bottom open and the top vent open all the way (as always) and its now right at 260. Since I had to drop the rack 5 inches to fit the bird on I added some water in the ban to act as a heat shield along with the pan. Also trying to spray her down with apple juice every hour and see if i can keep that skin golden brown.

 

noboundaries

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I use that EXACT same pan in my WSM filled with 12-15 lbs of veggies.  The veggie pan is on the bottom level, the bird on the top one. If you need to increase airflow, grab three of something you can put on the top edge of your UDS, like three small pot holders.  Evenly space them around the edge then put the top back on.  You want to keep the heat in the smoker but allow more air to flow through to stoke the fire. 
 

salesbbq

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I use that EXACT same pan in my WSM filled with 12-15 lbs of veggies.  The veggie pan is on the bottom level, the bird on the top one. If you need to increase airflow, grab three of something you can put on the top edge of your UDS, like three small pot holders.  Evenly space them around the edge then put the top back on.  You want to keep the heat in the smoker but allow more air to flow through to stoke the fire. 
I cracked the lid for air to leak out (ever so lightly) and the grate temp is hanging in around 270. When you said 3 of something I automatically thought back to the old MRE heaters lol. Their directions of placing them on a rock or something....
 

dirtsailor2003

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Actually the smoke flavor was great (wouldn't mind if it was more smoke). I guess i'm just used to having a nice golden brown bird and with smoke you kinda of lose that. 
So what type of wood did you use?  The type of wood can also make a difference in the color.
 

noboundaries

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I cracked the lid for air to leak out (ever so lightly) and the grate temp is hanging in around 270. When you said 3 of something I automatically thought back to the old MRE heaters lol. Their directions of placing them on a rock or something....
MREs............(place shudder here)............. Saltiest food on the face of the Earth, for a very good reason though.  After a family conversation recently revolving around memories of SPAM, I went out and bought a tin.  Fried it up for breakfast.  Man oh man, memories of MREs (and their predecessors) came flooding back with the first bite.    We need to stick to discussing turkey!
 
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dirtsailor2003

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I used pecan which tasted wonderful!
Pecan is a great wood. It would not give the bird the dark color. So I vote for too much smoke. High temps are also not the issue. If that were the case then every oven roasted bird would come out just as dark. Cherry will impart a deep mahogany color which i think looks really good. 
 
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