Smoked Turkey - Rubbery Skin

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by peterwells, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. peterwells

    peterwells Newbie

    We have decided to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving - in preparation last night I did a test smoke with at 12+ turkey. Smoked at around 240 for 4 hours with apple wood

    The meat is great but the skin is rubbery - Should I expect this or is there an alternative
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Higher smoking temp is needed, at least for the finish.  To get bite through or crispy skin you have to render the fat out from under the skin and caramelize the proteins in the skin.  You have a couple of options:

    1. Smoke at a higher chamber temp.  Smoking poultry at 300F, 325F, 350F or higher will give you a moist bird and crispy skin.  If you are going to put butter or oil on the skin make sure you have a good burn going (TBS - thin blue smoke) before you add the bird or it will come out kind of black (the voice of experience talking).  I just put rub only on my skin to get that great color. 

    2.  Smoke at a lower temp like you did then finish in the oven at 425F to crisp the skin.  I've not done it but I understand it works.

    Above are two turkeys I smoked in the WSM last TG.  The first one had nothing on the skin but rub.  The second had butter and herbs applied on the skin but I loaded it a little too soon.  The skin was delicious on both but not very pretty on the herb butter coated skin.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As mentioned above higher temp smoke or finish in the oven.

    Another option, which is my wife's favorite I to remove the skin all together and smoke the bird naked.

    Save the skin for making schmaltz.
  4. peterwells

    peterwells Newbie

    Thanks - helpful - did you put any butter under the skin
  5. peterwells

    peterwells Newbie

    thanks very helpful - cic you put any butter under the skin
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    These guys have you covered. Only thing to add is, if you are finishing in a 425°F Oven, pull the bird from the smoker when the breast IT is 145-150° and let the Oven finish the cook to an IT of 165...JJ
  7. Good information.  Is that 165 temp taken at the thigh or breast?

  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Breast...If you don't Truss the Turkey or Spatchcock the Thighs should end up around 175° as the Breast hits 165. You want the Thighs cooked thoroughly and to the bone, so if the Breast goes over a few degrees. don't sweat it...JJ 
  9. novasbc

    novasbc Smoke Blower

    I was coming to this board today to ask the OPs question.

    The same thing happens when I smoke chicken.  On the chickens, I take them off, turn my barbecue pit up to it's max, and it crisps up the skin real nice.

    I was wondering if this would translate to a bigger turkey.

    The next time I do a turkey, I'm going to separate the breast when it's done, so that would make it easier to get the temperatures right.

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