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Original poster
Nov 22, 2006
Have a New Braunfels smoker, fire box on the left type. Smoke two to three times per year.

Doing a 19# turkey today. Bought it before I knew it was too large to smoke. I should have had the store split the thing in half for me but it was too late for that.

So....I cut out the backbone, then pretty much mangled the thing trying to remove the breast plate. It's much larger and better attached that a chicken's!!!!

Anyways, I laid the thing skin-side down on the rack and she's smokin now.
Sorry...I didn't get a pic. After eight hours the breast meat was up to 150 and I couldn't get the temp up high enough to finish it there. Another 30-45 in the oven at 375 finished it up.

Why is it the meat temp stops rising (at 150 in this case)? The over thermometer next to the meat read 250 but I swear the meat wouldn't budge for an hour at least.

Think it would have been better had I (1) had it in the brine for 24 hours instead of 12, and (2) had a salt-less rub for the outside. On the whole, everyone enjoyed it, seeing as there was only a half-full plate of levtovers. I'm personally not a turkey fan - always hated this particular holiday because of dry turkey and the Dallas Cowboys.
Pampered Chef instant read...since I as boiling water to fit my son's mouth guard just now I'll stick the thermometer in there too.

Done. Read close to 215 in boiling water but I did have the heat on under the pot still...

I should have said I used the same thing to check temp while in the oven...pulled the turkey out at 167 or so...

I am ordering a temperature thingy with a probe on it.
Close enough
I'm sure Dutch will let you know as soon as he reads this post himself, but here is his wisdom from an earlier post, albeit it is a different meat, but the principle is the same; - I haven't figured out to do the fancy quote in the forum so here is his post cut and pasted:

"Smoke that brisket to 170 deg. Wrap in foil with a good splash of your spray/mop-back into the smoker until it reaches 190 deg. Wrap in several old towels and place into a blanket lined cooler for a couple of hours to rest and redistribute the juices then slice or pull and serve. Keep in mind that a piece of meat this size will hit a plateau and youâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ll think your thermo has gone south on you. DONOT adjust your heat, Just leave it alone-Itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s is during this time that the heat that has built up in the muscle mass begins to break down the connective tissue which in turn will make the brisket tender. Be patient with it and it will reward you a great meal. "

-so don't run out and buy a new thermo yet, unless you want an excuse to do so anyway!
HotDog88GT, We're going to have to get you outside and smoking foods more than just two or three times a year. Our goal will be to get you smoking at least two or three times a month if not more.

You have to keep in mind that when you smoke with lower temps. (250* in this case) it will take longer for the internal temps. to reach the target temp. I haven't heard of turkeys hitting a plateau but with a bird that large it could be possible. Since poultry doesn't really benefit from "low and slow", I usually try to get my temps up to about 300*. But then thats just my preference.

As for the 215* reading on you thermometer-it's close enough since water generally boils at 212* at sea level. In Food service I was taught to calibrate my thermometers by using an ice water bath. Fill a drinking glass 1/2-2/3 full with crushed ice then fill the glass with water. Allow to sit for five minutes then insert the thermometer halfway in to the ice water. Thermometer should read 32*. The reason they teach this method is because the higher you go in altitude, the lower the boiling point of water plus the fact that the water will take longer to boil.
Good point about the ice water. Another reason is hard water with lots of minerals and foreign matter will also boil hotter.
I'd speculate that a turkey with a fairly dense stuffing would be a possible candidate for the temp plateau, but of course I'd trust all knowledge to Dutch first.
Ordinarily, that would be true WholeSmoker. But since HotDog basically cut that bird in half, there's no organ cavity to fill. Although I have on occasion lifted up the skin on the breast meat and stuffed the area between the skin and the breast with diced veggies and such. I guess you could put a bit of bread stuffing in there. It doesn't hold a whole lot- but it's an idea anyhoo-
Where'd you say you were from??? Must be up in Redskins country :) Welcome to the board anyway :)

Stars (and Cowboys) fan in CO
The dreaded "Hold Time", is what competitors fear the most. As Dutch stated, it is unusual in Poultry, but it does happen. Many factor may come into play.....but as they used to say on TV........"Don't touch that dial!".

Having your signature "Q hit hold-time prior to turn in is your worst nightmare, but at home.....have another beer and wait it out!

I'm also wondering if the ash at the bottom of my fire box was giving me problems as well. After 6 hours it really starts to build up. As for 300F I'll keep that in mind next time I do turkey.

And, as for 2-3 times per month, we'll have to wait for April or May since I live on the southern edge of the Tug Hill region of NY. As soon as the temps get more seasonable I'll be having to dig my smoker out of the snow.
You are correct! It is very important to clear the ashes from your Firebox during cooking, when you see them building up. This restricts air-flow and effects your cooking temps.

I bought a 20 Gal. glavanized trash can (hard to find these days), and fill it about 6 inches on the bottom with water. Using a flat-head head shovel, I simply sccop it out and into the can. Works great!

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