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Smoke a turkey for thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jerzeybob, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. I want to smoke a turkey for thanksgiving but have read so many conflicting reports, smoke at 300 to 350 degrees which?  Would smoking at a lower temp hurt.  I know there is no muscle breakdown necessary but a lower temp would allow for more smoke. really stuck.  Thanks for any help.
  2. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    300 to 350 is what to shoot for.

    That temp gets it done quicker and crispy skin.

    Poultry takes on smoke easy.  So I dont try low temps for more smoke.
  3. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Poultry just doesn't benefit from lower temps and absorbs smoke more readily than other meats... a little dab will do ya  ;)

    Spatchcock and 350 for me. 
  4. dalglish

    dalglish Fire Starter

    Going to do a turkey breast for some 'pre-thanksgiving' dinner this weekend and have seen the same conflict when it comes to temps. I actually found my way back to this site after a few years away by this article from Jeff :- http://www.smoking-meat.com/october-2010-smoked-bone-in-turkey-breast

    "Once the smoker is clicking along at around 225-240 degrees F, place the turkey directly on the grate breast side up. At around the 3 hour mark, insert a digital probe meat thermometer into the breast of the turkey to begin monitoring the internal temperture."

    Hmm, I wonder if it's just down to whether you want a crisp skin or not?
  5. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I've done Turkey's at 250...but they are right poultry absorbs smoke pretty easily. if you want to slow the process a tad..you could start at 250 for maybe the first hour, then 275 the 2nd, then 300-350 to finish and crisp skin

    if you have a larger turkey you might want to reverse that and smoke hot at fist to get the temps up then once your close to a safe temp slow down the heat a bit
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
    dalglish likes this.
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always chug along at 250-275 on my turkeys. I brine with Tip's Slaugther House brine and then rub a mix of butter, sage powder, and fresh cracked pepper both on and under the skin, then smoke with a mix of apple and hickory. Every single one comes out moist, melt in your mouth tender, and super tastey!
    dalglish likes this.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I used to do low and slow, but the last couple years I have been smoking my turkeys at a higher temp. I did two last year one at 285*, cranking the smoker up to 325* for the last 45 minutes or so.

    Then I did one in May and ran the smoker at 325* the whole time. Set it and forget it! Moist juicy meat, crispy skin. That's how I'll be doing them from now on!

    For this thanksgiving we are going to do a bone on breast instead of the whole bird. Been using the same brine for years but going to switch it up and try the Slaughter house brine just to see what all the fuss is about!
    dalglish likes this.
  8. I use 325-350*F. Most importantly, get from 40 - 140*F in under 4 hours. I think the Butterball site recommends 325*F.
    dalglish likes this.
  9. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brine, splatchcock (just a personal preference), 325F, applewood.

    Over the years I've had a ball playing with brine ingredients.  I consider brining essential and lean toward sweeter brines adding honey, agave, sugars, or molasses to the brine.  I never use store bought and always use kosher salt.  I've always used a water brine but this year I'm going to add fresh pressed apple cider to the water base because it is cheap during our local apple season.
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am that one, the token..... If I use a large breasted turkey, GM'd, I will do low and slow because on the really big breast I think the breast is tuff. If its the non-GM'd, non-enhanced turkey then I'll run for speed. >250 degrees.

    I have not done that many fast, but in my mind, it made a difference, and I'll blame it on the turkeys being GM'd for those huge breasts.


    There is no one way to smoke, there is only the way you like.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  11. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I know Thanksgiving is over but Christmas is just around the corner, literally, especially this year.  Does anyone beer can or turkey cannon their turkeys on their smokers?
  12. cappyr

    cappyr Meat Mopper

    I been meaning to try drunk turkeys for years now just neva got around to it.  We eat lots of turkey.  It's healthy and economical and very versatile.  There is seldom a time 1 or 2 aint in the freezer on stand by year around .  We shop the sales, and stock up when they git below a dollar a lb.  The ones we got for this falls holiday season we scored for 59 cents a lb.  We fry, smoke, bake, and boil and debone them.  Use left overs in stews soups jumbalayas gumbo etc etc.  We make a wonderful turkey loaf that I think I posted somewhere.  But some how aint got one drunk yet.  Every time I see one of those big cans of Fosters beer I think that would be about right size, for insertion.  or a big bean can???? If any of yall beat me to it let us know or I just may hafta break down and do it ma self.[​IMG]
  13. radsmoke74

    radsmoke74 Fire Starter

    Did a turkey ceramic beer can style today I put redds red apple ale, some fresh herbs a cut up apple and some broth down in the ceramic. I brined the turkey and rubbed with everglades rub just before putting on smoker. Ran temps at 345 and at 3 hours got a 161 temp fixing to pull and wrap to rest in a cooler. Wood was apple and peach mix with a peice of pecan. Used wicked weekend warrior lump coal. Have not tasted yet but this thing is flooded with juices and smells and looks great. First time doing a turkey this way. Here's a pic!
  14. cappyr

    cappyr Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the post,  the bird looks great.  If I do one I was gona add a shallow pan under the turkey to catch drippings and help rolling the heat around the bird in an effort to keep legs from cooking to fast.  That's my winner winner drunk chicken dinner technique[​IMG]
  15. radsmoke74

    radsmoke74 Fire Starter

    Ok kids tried out my beer can ceramic turkey and for fun I gave them a leg and this is what was left after about 2 minutes lol I think I'll be smoking more turkey like this!
  16. radsmoke74

    radsmoke74 Fire Starter

    I did have a drip pan but it was a little small I agree I could have used a bigger pan I did put apple juice in it as well I normally use a pizza stone as a base for drip pan and to deflect some heat but I broke it a cpl weeks ago and need to get a replacement but other than that this may be best big bird I've done! Turned out great!
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I see that bone and remember the piranhas in the old cartoons, where they stick the leg in the water and pull out the cleaned bone....LOL

    That would make a dog cry.