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post T-day questions

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by duggy, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Hey everyone

    I smoked my first turkey today for a get together that I had with my friends and though my friends said that it was good and juicy, I was not satisfied! Well, I was mainly not satisfied because the skin looked like it was burnt. But I was following the internal temp the whole time and right when it got to around 160-165 I took it out and foiled it. But what ended up happening with the whole smoking of the turkey was that I started it in the smoker and I left it in there for roughly 4 1/2 hours and I realized that I couldn't keep the temp high enough in there and that at this rate, it wouldn't finish on time, so I finished it in the oven. When I took it out of the smoker it was a bit black but it wasn't that bad. But after I put it in the oven for 45 min, it turned a lot more black and a part of the skin on the breast peeled back as well. So I guess here are the questions

    1) Should it usually be pretty difficult to keep the smoker temp up in a charcoal smoker when cooking a turkey?

     (at one point i poured maybe 15 lit charcoal into the charcoal pan and the temp barely went up by 10 degrees, is that normal??)

    2) If the turkey starts browning too early and the internal temp is still far from being done, should I foil it early so that it doesn't get too dark?

    Thanks in advance for all your help!
  2. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I can't help much on this topic but someone will be along soon to help out. I'm gonna have to pay attention to this one, the wife wants a perfect bird for x mas.
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have seen several posts where the turkey's look burnt but they aren't. Not sure why they get this way. If you kept it in there for a long time and applied lots of smoke to it I can see but most of them they aren't only in there for 4-5 hours just like I do. The rub, brine, any anything else you apply to the skin can have an effect on the color so that may be where it lies but every case is probably a bit different. But in the future if you think its getting a bit more brown than you want you can apply some pieces of tinfoil to the the areas that are getting dark. I have seen several people wrap the wings and legs and even the breast in foil and keep the other parts of the birds exposed. 
  4. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    You didn’t say what kind of smoker you used other than it was a charcoal smoker.

    Eons ago I have done many a bird in en ECB with about the same results you have described.

    I have had better luck on a gas or charcoal grill.

    I now use Cookshack electric smokers and don’t have a problem.

    It can be a good idea to foil the bird early in the smoke once it reaches the appearance you desire.

    It’s all good, if you learn from it
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another thing is I have had many things in my day not look so good but they still tasted great. Chock it up to a success and a learning experience and keep on moving ahead. 
  6. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Like the others said, it depends on what you put on the bird to start with. Anything sugar based will turn on you and also if you get billows of smoke versus the thin blue smoke you hear everyone talking about. Live and learn, we've all been there. Good luck on your next try!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  7. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoking is an art as much a science.  You will learn to start with less smoke over a longer time period when you are doing the larger more dense cuts of meat.

    You can always cover with foil, but to get the mahogany color takes attention to the smoke levels that the entire piece is going to be subjected too.

    A lot of the really black looking stuff comes from over loading the smoker and having way to much uncombusted (in complete combustion in the fire box) components of the wood heading up to chimney.  Air in, plus fuel, plus exhaust out must all be monitored for proper combustion.

    You will get there soon enough if you just keep cooking large items. 
  8. Oh and I actually had one more question. When you smoke your turkeys do you guys baste it at all? Or do you just leave it in there and not touch it?
  9. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Ok, so you left it in the smoker for 4.5 hours and it was 160-165? 40-140 in 4 hours is the safe zone.  I would say your on track with that formula. If you use salt or sugar in a brine or rub expect the dark brown skin, that's the nature of the smoke job. Putting it in the oven shouldn't make it darker unless you broiled it which would burn the skin. Tell us what smoker you have and that would help. I don't know how long you have lived in La Crescenta, but do you remember "Jerry's Wood Pit BBQ" ? It was on Foothill and Lowell in the complex next to in-n-out burger, early 1980's. Just curious? 
  10. oh ha i'm much too young to remember that...i was born 1988 so yea I dont know about it. I wish we had a good bbq place around here though that'd be great
  11. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    Some baste, some don’t. Some sprits some don’t. Some brine, some don’t. Some inject, some don’t. Some rub, some don’t. Some cheesecloth, some don’t.

    Just depends on what you like. It’s all good.
  12. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You've got to baste, you've just got too!!! Just kiddin, as Arnie said some do, some don't. You've just got to try different things until you find what works for your taste. Personally, I baste with butter, chicken broth, anything I think will help! I'm allways tryin different things when I smoke something! (your never to old to learn)
  13. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I have to agree with everyone here too. Your rub can make the skin turn darker and less then pleasing color too. But it will all taste good and next time you may want to cut on the sugar in your rub.