Need help with my thanksgiving turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by beers-n-bbq, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Im gonna be smoking the thanksgiving turkey this year and i got some questions....

    First off ill start off by saying what i am gonna do.

    I have a 19.13lb turkey and im going to smoke it in my propane smoker trying to keep temps over 300, prob closest to 325 as i can stay. Im debating on brining it, ive been searching online for some brine recipes but i would love some suggestions from some of you guys here. I will be making my own rub. Im going to cook it in a roaster pan and im gonna stuff some onions, carrots, celery and rosemary spriggs up the butt.

    Now the questions i have...

    Is it best to brine it? And if so whats a good brine recipe and whats the suggested time to brine? 24 hours?

    If i smoke the turkey between 300 and 325 about how long am i looking at? Somewhere in the 6-7 hour range? I will have a probe therm in it so i will be monitoring i just wanna know for planning purposes..

    Also what IT should i take it to in the breast?

    Whats the best wood for a turkey? I have chunks of cherry and hickory...

    How long should i smoke it for to have a light smoky flavor but not overpowering likei smoked the hell out of it?

    Also should i inject it? And if so, what would you recommend injecting it with? Melted unsalted butter?

    I really dont wanna serve a dry bird and i dont want it to be done at like 8pm(planning on eating between 530-6) so i really could use some help. Ive done like 8lb chickens before but not a bird this big and i dont wanna mess it up.

    Is it worth smoking a turkey or should i stick to the oven? My fiance wants me to smoke it but im nervous were gonna wind up just eating mashed potatos and stuffing for dinner...
  2. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Also do i have to worry about the danger zone with the 19lb bird at temps of 300-325? I keep seeing people say not to smoke birds that big cuz of the danger zone

    I wanna smoke it but im not sure its worth the risk..
  3. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    You can never go wrong with brining. But if you inject, brining is not really needed to get a juicy bird. There's many brining recipes but a simple salt, sugar and apple juice is hard to beat. 12hours (overnight) is plenty long enough I believe. Personally, considering your plan, I would brine and skip injecting. Your smoking temp plan is solid. Hickory and cherry are great choices. I take mine to about 178 in the thigh (the breast will take care of itsself). takes about 5-6 hours. I also like to mix the rub with softened unsalted butter and rub under the skin (about a stick) prior to smoking!
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  4. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Oh, rest assured, it will be awesome! Smoked turkey for Thanksgiving will ruin any future plans of EVER cooking it any other way...promise!  
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
    bigtrain74 likes this.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The USDA recommends that you keep the bird to 12 lbs and under BUT that's in a smoker running around 225 to get it through the danger zone in a timely fashion. You however are smoking it at oven temps so it shouldn't be any problem. If you'd cook it in the oven at 325-350 then what is the difference in the smoker at 325-350 other than the addition of smoke.

    Here's another link for you
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  7. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Thank you for the responses, i really appreciate it...

    So if i smoke it 325 or higher i shouldnt have a problem with the danger zone?
  8. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Oh ok thank you i didnt see your reply before i posted
  9. smokeburns

    smokeburns Smoke Blower

    I'm going to do the same thing. What I've done every time and comes out amazing every time is use pops slaughter house brine recipe. (Just type it in search engine above) I also add to that recipe about 8 cardomon pods crushed and add to the already amazing brine ( cardomon pods will make a big difference). Then I normally brine it for at least 11/24 hours , any longer than that it starts getting real salty. I also spatchcock the turkey. This way not only do you have a great presentation. But the turkey cooks evenly and is pretty much done at same time. Smoke at 300. Until IT 160 (in the breast) then pull it off. (Usually done in 4 hours when spatchcocked) Let it rest with foil over top and the residual heat will carry it to 165. Another way which is what I'm going to do is pull slightly earlier at 155 then throw over direct heat on the grill and do a reverse sear. This will crisp that skin up so you can get that nice bite through. " I hate soft skin" . Just be careful not to burn it. But make sure the center of that breast says 165. TRust me on this about that slaughter house brine though. I promise everyone at that thanksgiving table will be complimenting on how they can't believe how moist and juicy that turkey is. As for a rub I will be drying the turkey completely off and rubbing it down with olive oil. Then for the rub I'll probably use that Belgium blue moon beer rub, and a little bit of jeffs rub I just made up. But just a little. Cause it has salt in in it and I think the meat will have the perfect balance of saltyness from the brine. Hope this helps ! Good luck.
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Is the bird "enhanced" or organic? it will say on the packaging if it is. If it's enhanced there's no need to brine, inject or anything else. Enhanced birds come injected with a brine solution already.

    As for smoking I say go for it. If your smoker can hit 350, or even 325, pull out the Betty Crocker cook book and follow the times as a guideline. With that said still cook the bird to temp. 165 in the breast or thigh and the bird is done being in the smoker. Don't forget though that the bird needs to rest a good 45 minutes in a loose tent of foil prior to carving.

    For your bird if figure a 4 hours plus 1 hour for resting and another 30 minutes for I didn't plan this well and it's not done yet. That gives you a good buffer, but if you are really worried, that bird will hold heat wrapped in foil and a towel in a cooler for 2+ hours so you can add another two hours to your cook if you want to really safe.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  11. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    No you will basically be at oven temps. If your really worried about it spatchcock it
  12. smokeburns

    smokeburns Smoke Blower

    If you spatchcock the turkey you don't have to worry so much about danger zone at lower temps. Well when I say lower I mean 300 plus ( for poultry) The turkey will cook quicker and more even.
  13. bigtrain74

    bigtrain74 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When doing higher temps on a gasser just be careful of lighting your chips/chunks on fire which could ruin your thanksgiving dinner sending you out for Chinese food this year. Take it from experience... [​IMG]
  14. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    The bird is in the smoker, cherry wood is smokin....been in about 45 mins temps holding around 320-325

    I will post some pics later, forgot to take a before pic...

    I injected it with melted unsalted butter mixed with my rub and put some onions and celery in the butt
  15. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds great! 
  16. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Man this thing cooked alot faster than expected, IT in the breast is at 155 already, im gonna have to put this sucker in a cooler for like 2hrs
  17. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Still in the smoker...more pics coming later
  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nothing wrong with that. Better to be early than late! You'll be the hero of the meal!
  19. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Haha youre right about that...i kept seeing all different times everywhere so i planned on 5 hours I cut the temp down a little while ago. Gonna pull it out in like half hour or so and put it in the cooler for a little while.

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