Rotisserie or Smoked Turkey

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RME

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Jul 28, 2022
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Saratoga Springs NY
For last few years I have made turkey on a rotisserie - wet brine, inject breast, kettle grill with Slow N Sear and a rotisserie attachment, grill temp about 350F, pull when breast is between 155 and 160 F, rest half hour or more. I toss a few chunks of apple wood into the Slow N Sear.

I bake stuffing in a pan below the rotating turkey.

This mainly works well. But also see people making turkey in a smoker at lower temperatures - e.g., 250F.

Does anyone have a preference for either technique? Or an opinion as to whether the rotisserie adds anything over just cooking over indirect heat?

Thanks.
 
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BigW.

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I recently bought a rotisserie and now my mind is thinking I may need to spin the Thanksgiving bird. Thanks for the hint. Smoked birds are also wonderful. You do need to crank up the heat at the end if you want crispy skin. Deep fry is also an option at my house. I may do 2 birds different ways just for the fun of it.
 
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SecondHandSmoker

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The rotisserie will baste the turkey in its juices, so that is always a plus.
Smoking a bird indirect at a lower temp allows the bird more time in the smoke but yields rubbery skin unless you crank up the temps toward the end like B BigW. said above.

If you like the results you're getting now using the rotisserie why change?

I am also a big fan of the using the rotisserie, so my opinion may be a little biased.
 

tallbm

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For last few years I have made turkey on a rotisserie - wet brine, inject breast, kettle grill with Slow N Sear and a rotisserie attachment, grill temp about 350F, pull when breast is between 155 and 160 F, rest half hour or more. I toss a few chunks of apple wood into the Slow N Sear.

I bake stuffing in a pan below the rotating turkey.

This mainly works well. But also see people making turkey in a smoker at lower temperatures - e.g., 250F.

Does anyone have a preference for either technique? Or an opinion as to whether the rotisserie adds anything over just cooking over indirect heat?

Thanks.
Hi there and welcome!

Your rotisserie bird sounds great.
I'm not sure I've ever had a rotisserie turkey but I imagine its as good or better than any of the amazing rotisserie chicken's I've had. Turkey to chicken is an easy comparison to make.

Of what I have tasted, my preferences are deep fried turkey = #1 followed by smoked turkey as #2 favorties.

If you decide to smoke the turkey I would highly recommend you do an equilibrium wet brine (which your wet brine may already be) and you ABSOLUTELY add cure#1 to the brine and inject the brine all over so the cure#1 can travel through the meat faster.

Cure #1 gives turkey that state fair/Disney smoked turkey flavor. Just measure it properly for the amount of water + turkey weight you have. It's mostly for flavor anyhow.

For smoking the turkey, you will want to go 325F or higher smoker temp.
Poultry skin wants to be rubbery or leathery if not cooked at a high enough temp for long enough.
Low and slow on a turkey will give you rubber skin. You want at least bite through skin, and crispy skin is the holy grail but not always achievable. The main thing is you can bite through easily, enjoy, and eat the amazingly flavored skin!

For smoke I use no more then about 65% hickory. I use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray and I burn 2 rows of Maple, Cherry, Hickory pellets where I use about 60-65% Hickory and then event parts Maple and Cherry.

Why 2 rows at the same time? Because Turkey smokes are fast usually finishing before 4 hours so double amounts of Thin Blue Smoke give me enough smoke flavor to really enjoy it.


That's the info I have for you and I hope some of it helps :)
 

chopsaw

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I inject and soak all my poultry . Results are always tender and moist no matter hows it's cooked . That being said I almost always cook hot and fast . 350 / 400 .
Here's how I like to do turkey breast .
 

mike243

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I smoke for a hour or 2 then into a oven bag and finish in the oven, this has worked out very well for me so no need to change up. If i had a marygo round I would like to try it lol
 

RME

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Jul 28, 2022
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Saratoga Springs NY
Hi there and welcome!

Your rotisserie bird sounds great.
I'm not sure I've ever had a rotisserie turkey but I imagine its as good or better than any of the amazing rotisserie chicken's I've had. Turkey to chicken is an easy comparison to make.

Of what I have tasted, my preferences are deep fried turkey = #1 followed by smoked turkey as #2 favorties.

If you decide to smoke the turkey I would highly recommend you do an equilibrium wet brine (which your wet brine may already be) and you ABSOLUTELY add cure#1 to the brine and inject the brine all over so the cure#1 can travel through the meat faster.

Cure #1 gives turkey that state fair/Disney smoked turkey flavor. Just measure it properly for the amount of water + turkey weight you have. It's mostly for flavor anyhow.

For smoking the turkey, you will want to go 325F or higher smoker temp.
Poultry skin wants to be rubbery or leathery if not cooked at a high enough temp for long enough.
Low and slow on a turkey will give you rubber skin. You want at least bite through skin, and crispy skin is the holy grail but not always achievable. The main thing is you can bite through easily, enjoy, and eat the amazingly flavored skin!

For smoke I use no more then about 65% hickory. I use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray and I burn 2 rows of Maple, Cherry, Hickory pellets where I use about 60-65% Hickory and then event parts Maple and Cherry.

Why 2 rows at the same time? Because Turkey smokes are fast usually finishing before 4 hours so double amounts of Thin Blue Smoke give me enough smoke flavor to really enjoy it.


That's the info I have for you and I hope some of it helps :)
Thanks and was just doing a 5 percent brine overnight. Hadn't thought to cure with pink salt and didn't know what equilibrium brine was until I just now asked the Google. Will try the pink salt equilibrium cure.

Will do a test bird before Thanksgiving. My girlfriend is a traditionalist and it took a few years to convince her to let me cook turkeys on the rotisserie. Which people now agree works out better than in the oven.

Can recommend trying a heritage turkey like a bourbon red. They have a higher percentage of dark meat.

And may just keep doing it on rotisserie. As from all these replies smoker temperature and rotisserie temperature would be about the same and either way I am adding wood chunks for smoke. So cooking environment the same but get whatever added benefit there is from the rotisserie.

I will document and post when I cook it.
 

clifish

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I have never spun a turkey but have done a couple ducks. Any need to score the skin on a turkey like you have too on a duck to let the fat render?
 

RME

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Jul 28, 2022
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I have never spun a turkey but have done a couple ducks. Any need to score the skin on a turkey like you have too on a duck to let the fat render?
I actually managed to set my house siding on fire trying to rotisserie ducks. They caught fire. Then the grill caught fire. Then the house siding caught fire. All happened faster than one might think.

Only fatty waterfowl need to be scored. Turkey or chicken come out well by brining then drying and sitting in reefer overnight uncovered to somewhat dessicate skin. I also like so spray duckfat onto turkeys and chickens during the cook.
 
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clifish

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I actually managed to set my house siding on fire trying to rotisserie ducks. They caught fire. Then the grill caught fire. Then the house siding caught fire. All happened faster than one might think.

Only fatty waterfowl need to be scored. Turkey or chicken come out well by brining then drying and sitting in reefer overnight uncovered to somewhat dessicate skin. I also like so spray duckfat onto turkeys and chickens during the cook.
yeah, I did it on the kettle away from the house, came out great. Brined it in Oakridge BBQ brine, added cure #1 and orange extract. Made a Grand Marnier orange sauce for the glaze.
 

tallbm

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Thanks and was just doing a 5 percent brine overnight. Hadn't thought to cure with pink salt and didn't know what equilibrium brine was until I just now asked the Google. Will try the pink salt equilibrium cure.

Will do a test bird before Thanksgiving. My girlfriend is a traditionalist and it took a few years to convince her to let me cook turkeys on the rotisserie. Which people now agree works out better than in the oven.

Can recommend trying a heritage turkey like a bourbon red. They have a higher percentage of dark meat.

And may just keep doing it on rotisserie. As from all these replies smoker temperature and rotisserie temperature would be about the same and either way I am adding wood chunks for smoke. So cooking environment the same but get whatever added benefit there is from the rotisserie.

I will document and post when I cook it.

Yeah if u are getting good smoke from the chunks then u are getting best of both worlds.

I'm guessing you may still be curious enough to cure and smoke a turkey even at the high temps to see how it comes out. It may also help your girlfriend NOT think you are trying to replace your current rotisserie approach and save you some grief hahaha.

If it comes out amazing and different you could then always casually mention "hey this was so good why don't I do another smoked turkey for thanksgiving this year?!"

You will for sure get a different and totally amazing flavor from the cure alone. It's worth smoking one just to get a cured bird under your belt to see what you are missing.

I hope this gives u some good info to move on :)
 

bakerman

Meat Mopper
Nov 19, 2011
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I just got my rotisserie 2 weeks ago. I am planning on spinning a turkey for Thanksgiving. I dry brined my turkey last year for smoking. It helped with the skin a lot.
I did see a YT video where the chef put bags of ice on the turkey breast before spinning. The claim was to have the dark meat and breast be done at the same time( breasts cook faster according to the video). Not sure about that, but it might work.

My question is: do I need to inject the turkey if I rotisserie it? I will probably dry brine it again, my wife loves crispy turkey skin.
Thanks for the timely thread.
 

RME

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Jul 28, 2022
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Saratoga Springs NY
I find injecting the breast is a noticeable improvement - even though I have already wet brined the whole turkey. Generally what has worked well for me is wet brine for 24 hours, dry, salt and pepper and let it sit in refrigerator uncovered for 24 hours, inject breasts with chicken or turkey stock. Then truss, spit, and rotisserie. I also use a Slow N Sear to hold briquettes and wood chunks on one side of the grill so it's spinning in and out of direct heat. If you don't have a Slow N Sear then just pile the briquettes on one side parallel to the spit. I keep heat at 350 on the indirect side. I also occasionally baste with duck fat.

Pull it off when breast is between 155 and 160, erring on side of too cool than too warm. Then let it sit, spit in, for at least 30 minutes.

Removing wishbone before cooking makes it much easier to remove the breasts and slice them across the grain.

Then I make turkey stock out of the carcass. Which I use as injection and for making stuffing next time I make turkey.

Can also cook something - like stuffing - underneath turkey.

I also find the heritage breeds a noticeable improvement over supermarket turkeys.

I could probably simplify the above process - but since it works for me am reluctant to experiment and possibly wind up with 14 pounds of turkey that is less than popular with people.

And next time I am definitely trying a pink salt #1 brine as was suggested.

Overall rotisserie may be an underappreciated acessory.
 
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Ducati62

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Nov 21, 2022
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I didn’t know a rotisserie was available for the Yoder. Can I ask where you purchased yours from??!
Bill
 

clifish

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Spinning a turkey is nothing but good eats! I do it at 350º on the grill (indirect heat method) and add a smoker tube full of pellets. Always results in a succulent smoked bird with great crispy skin.
started the wet brine tonight on both turkeys
 

RME

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Jul 28, 2022
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Saratoga Springs NY
started the wet brine tonight on both turkeys
So rather than usual rotisserie turkey decided to do Aaron Franklin's roast turkey. Which is pretty much 325F on the smoker, and later in cook put turkey in an aluminum tray and dump a bunch of cubed butter on top, then after cook and while turkey is resting use melted turkey infused butter to make a sauce. I will post separate thread with results.

But has anyone done this? Turkey is now in a buttermilk brine and still time to change cooking method. Am not sure why I feel compelled to change things up when rotisserie turkey has been a crowd pleaser for years.
 

gmc2003

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So rather than usual rotisserie turkey decided to do Aaron Franklin's roast turkey. Which is pretty much 325F on the smoker, and later in cook put turkey in an aluminum tray and dump a bunch of cubed butter on top, then after cook and while turkey is resting use melted turkey infused butter to make a sauce. I will post separate thread with results.

But has anyone done this? Turkey is now in a buttermilk brine and still time to change cooking method. Am not sure why I feel compelled to change things up when rotisserie turkey has been a crowd pleaser for years.
I think I'd go with the known/proven way for the holiday meal, and save the experiments for a later date. You don't want to screw up the holiday feast.

Chris
 

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