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Smoking turkey

pg77

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Smoking a turkey for the first time on thanksgiving. Any and all recipe ideas and tips
Are appreciated.
 

ofelles

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spotchcock, wet brine if fresh dry rub with favorite rub on and under skin, on your smoker at 225F with pecan/cherry until 150 at the breast baste with butter last hour. rest for 20 minutes.
 

eddiememphis

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spotchcock, wet brine if fresh dry rub with favorite rub on and under skin, on your smoker at 225F with pecan/cherry until 150 at the breast baste with butter last hour. rest for 20 minutes.
That sounds like a bird with rubber skin.
The turk needs to go in the smoker with dry skin, brought up close to temperature then crisped up in the oven or a hot grill.
 

ofelles

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Yeah the skin was throw away but the meat was great.
 

sandyut

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splatcock and slaughterhouse brine. run it 240-250 till about to temp 165. crispy skin can be attained by buttering below and on the skin an d cranking the temp up towards the end.
 

noboundaries

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I do 4-6 turkeys a year. I get my smoker as hot as it will get, usually 300-350F. Definitely wait until you get clean smoke before loading the bird. I have smoked spatched, whole, beer canned, etc. Hickory and cherry wood give a nice color and taste. We love mesquite, but use half as much as any other wood. Do not use the water pan.

All techniques work. If beer canning, use only an inch of beer or soda in the can. Any more is a waste and slows the cook.

In a nutshell, I thoroughly dry the skin, coat with butter or oil, apply rub on and under skin, and load it in the smoker with the breast turned away from the heat source. If a vertical smoker, turn the breast away from the vent. I've found it cooks evenly, whether spatched or whole, if placed on the grate and not in a pan. You can put a pan on the level below the bird to catch dripping.
 

Nole4L

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I'll second the recommendation to spatchcock the turkey. It will cook faster and will definitely cook more evenly.
 

zwiller

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Smoking a turkey for the first time on thanksgiving. Any and all recipe ideas and tips
Are appreciated.
I advise against a first time on TG. Too much opportunity for error. Enjoy the holiday. Also, I much prefer oven roasted over smoked for TG. I you have to do it, maybe halve the bird, one in the oven and one in smoker or do 2 birds. All this being said, my personal favorite is Pop's low salt brine, netted, and long low smoke. Way too rich for dinner tho. Perfect appetizer for ball game or poker.
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Ill second sandyut sandyut post above. I brine mine in tips slaughterhouse brine, spatchcock, and smoke at 300 until the breast hits 165. Comes out great every time...juicy and crispy skin.

Ill also second doing a trial run prior. Nothing worse than something turning out like crap and ruining thanksgiving!
 

zwiller

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1+ OMG. First turkey... The memories. :emoji_laughing:

If I ruined TG my family would NEVER let me forget. :emoji_astonished:
 

tallbm

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Smoking a turkey for the first time on thanksgiving. Any and all recipe ideas and tips
Are appreciated.
Well my $0.02 would be:
  1. Brine, brine, brine the Turkey. No matter if it says "enhanced" or "solution added". If you do a brine where you add up the turkey and water weight together and then add salt at 2.25% of that weight then you will be golden and will ENSURE you do not have a dry turkey.... unless you overcook it lol
    Tip: prepare to get a 5 gallon bucket or a big meat tote/lug to brine a turkey AND I hope you have extra space in a garage fridge to that can hold the bucket/tub + turkey

  2. If you want to avoid rubbery skin and ensure edible (maybe crispy, maybe not, but definitely edible and not rubber), then look to smoke your turkey at 325F or higher if you like

  3. If you aren't going to brine the turkey then option #2 is to go buy Tony Cachere's Creole Butter injectable marinade
If you don't brine or you don't inject then chances are you don't have a good turkey and it will be DRY DRY DRY. If you don't smoke at a hot enough temp or throw the turkey on a screaming hot grill to fix up the skin, chances are you have a rubbery skinned turkey. It is hard to manuever a turkey on a grill so having good smoker temps to begin with will avoid the issue.

I hope this info helps and here's a few pictures of some turkey's I've brined and smoked at 325F for inspiration :D
Turkey Galantine: Deboned, brined, stuffed with stove top stuffing, and smoked at 325F



Just a Brined and smoked Turkey

 
Last edited:

noboundaries

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Answer...trial run. TG is still two weeks away but they are already on sale. If you have a freezer, pick up two turkeys and smoke one now. Save the second for TG. The first one can be taste tested and frozen for soup, sandwiches, etc. It will tell you whether you want to put a smoked one on the table for TG, or stick to the oven.

There are years I do a turkey the week before TG, one on TG, and one the weekend after TG. $.39/lb is cheap protein that ends up in sooooo many dishes.

BTW, my first turkey ever, decades ago, was oven baked and dry as chalk using my family's technique. I threw out the family recipe, did cookbook research, and have been enjoying moist and tender turkeys ever since.

Avoid low n slow. It doesn't work for turkey skin and complicates a simple cook. The only thing intimidating about a turkey is the size of the bird and the expectations of the diners. It's just a big-ass chicken. A trial run takes away the threat.
 
Last edited:

sandyut

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Brine, brine, brine the Turkey. No matter if it says "enhanced" or "solution added".
YES! I drank the "dont use enhanced, solution added" kool aid once. Had to buy from whole paycheck and was not worth it what so ever! I buy whats on sale, what kroger has etc. brine it, and its always great.
 

tallbm

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I'm also 100% in on the trial run. At 325F a 22pound turkey smokes runs just under 4 hours for me.
This a fast smoke so not much time is spent there compared to most smokes.

We haven't mentioned it but the major time spent on doing turkey is the process of defrosting and then brining the thing. You may need 4-5days to defrost in the fridge and then I brine turkeys a minimum of 3 days. If you brine you can get away with a turkey that is still slightly frozen in the center and the brining process will still work without an issue.

So in a 4 day defrst and 3 day brine u are looking at 7 days of prep BEFORE you pull it out and season and put on the smoker! This probably kills more turkey smoking attempts than anything else!
People run out of time, panic, skip steps, and in the end make a poor turkey.

So moral of the story, TRIAL RUN to figure out the prep just as much as the actually smoking/cooking.
Just be sure you prep with a turkey that is about the same size as the one you plan to smoke for Thanksgiving. If you do a 12 pound turkey now and a 25 pound turkey later you will be in for a big surprise in the differences lol.
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Here's a question...who prefers what type of smoking wood with turkey?
 

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