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New MES, 2nd smoke, 1st bird.


Joined Nov 13, 2018
Well after pouring through a whole lot of posts here, I had enough (hopefully) info to tackle a thanksgiving bird without a dry run. I just got the MES last week so that wouldn't work as 2 birds in a week would be too much for Momma Bear who is not fond of turkey.

Any way got the frozen bird last friday and thawed in fridge until monday night, a 12.3 lb butterball.
I had an idea of the brine I would use from lots of posts/suggestions here but was advised as I was preparing the solution on what would be best. No big deal as this was a grand experiment from start to finish. The final ingredient list:
2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
6 bay leaves
a couple tbsp black pepper
1/8 - 1/4 cup soy sauce

Into a roasting bag in a big stewing pot and into the fridge for 1 1/2 days.

Wed. morning take bird out of brine, rinse and pat dry.
Prepared the rub wed. pm
Black pepper
Cajun seasoning
Garlic powder
Onion powder
No salt seasoning
Crushed red peppers
Poultry seasoning

We were looking at a noon dinner time so figuring 30 mins per lb at 275*
we got up at 3am to preheat the smoker and rub the bird. In by 3:30 at about 250* and sleep for a few hours. After half hr I sat up and remembered I didn't add the cherry chips
fir smoke. Got that taken care of and relaxed a bit. But only a little because of the general thought of the MES temp probe being off. It did read 150* IT in the breast after 4 hrs and 160 after 5.
I checked with the manual probe and it went past 170 so out came the bird for a rest and we kept the bird under foil to hopefully keep it moist but I kinda worried it would be a bit overdone.

So after sitting for 3 hrs we did put it in the oven at 375 for 1/2 hr to maybe crisp skin and warm it up. Started carving it up and skin tasted good to me, maybe a bit spicy for the others so I kept it on the legs & wings but removed from the white meat.

Dark meat was nice an juicy, I thought the white was a little dry but everyone else thought it was great. Maybe after reading on here, I was expecting/hoping that the white meat would actually be almost dripping with juice. But if everyone else thought it great then I guess it was. ( Maybe noone else has ever had anything but a bit overdone ).

Anyway, tomorrow I should receive my Inkbird IBT-4XS for more accurate temp control
so next smoke ( this sunday ) will be a prime rib brisket. Yum

Thank you all for the excellent suggestions and advice. Now to start reading up on the beef section.



Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 15, 2012
That's a good looking bird - ya got there. There's a very small window of time between moist and juicy and starting to dry out. Glad to hear it was well received.

Point for sure.


Joined Nov 13, 2018
I was very pleased with the skin's color, crispness & taste.
Looking forward to more research here and much more actual "practice"


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 25, 2017
Awesome result for your first go with the new smoker. Congrats.

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