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Smoking Whole Turkey in a UDS.

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by rcwbud, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. rcwbud

    rcwbud Fire Starter

    I have a recently home built barrel smoker and it is working beautifully on pork and chicken. I would like to do a whole turkey, a small one, as sort of a run up to Thanksgiving. I am going to do it in a pan with some brine in the pan with onions and other veggies in the pan for flavor. I am hoping that cooking it in the pan keeps enough of the direct heat away from it so that it does not burn the edges, wings, and legs. 

    Several questions: 1. How hot, 2. How long? and 3. Internal temps of legs, thighs and breasts? I am not going to put a ton of smoke on it, a few chips but mostly the charcoal. Not sure about injections but am open to trying it. Any ideas and suggestions are very much appreciated. I have never cooked one and need all the advice I can gather here. Thanks in advance.
  2. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    I usually smoke a turkey every year for Thanksgiving. I actually use a brine from a newsletter a few years ago, it's a cranberry brine and my family likes the taste of it. Here is the link to it. I use this and don't inject. It stays moist and is flavorful. Only thing I changed from TE recipe was using just cranberry juice, not a combination.

    Be careful what size bird you get, anything too much over 12 pounds can stay in the danger zone too long.

    I put mine in a cooler with ice on my deck overnight to brine it. But the temps in Philly that time of year allows me to. I also let it sit uncovered in the fridge for a day to let the skin dry out.

    I just let mine cook right on the grate, if you feel some parts are getting too brown, you can always cover those parts with some aluminum foil. I've never had that problem, and I cook mine at 325.

    As far as time, if I remember correctly last year, it took somewhere between 3 and 4 hours at 325.
  3. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    Sorry, forgot the internal- 165
  4. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    [​IMG]Hello and welcome from East Texas. This is a great site, lots of information and great people that are willing to throw in their two cents worth on about anything   ......... Good luck with the bird !



  5. rcwbud

    rcwbud Fire Starter

    Thanks much.
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    For temps u usually smoke my turkey in a 285-325 smoker. Pecan cherry apple or a mix of those woods are all great for turkey. I usually do a 14# birds and figure about 1/2 per pound to get to and IT of 165 in the thigh.

    I brine my turkey for 12-18 hours then let the bird air dry in the fridge for 12 hours prior to smoking.

    I use a simple rub of salt pepper garlic and paprika.

    Do not stuff the bird if you are going to smoke.

    Once you hit your IT place the bird in a foil pan wrap with foil and let rest for 45min-1hr before carving.

    I will foil the wings and legs if it looks like they are getting to dark.
  7. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    This may help, had it filed in my Food prep folder.

    Turkey Basics: Safely Thaw, Prepare and Cook

    When preparing a turkey, be aware of the main safety issues: thawing, preparing and cooking to adequate temperature.

    Safe Thawing

    Food Thermometer Truths
    • Always use a food thermometer to guarantee that foods are cooked to a safe-to-eat temperature.
    • Some food thermometers must be calibrated to ensure that they read food temperature accurately. Find out if your thermometer can be calibrated by reading the Fill a pot of water with distilled water and bring to a rolling boil.
    1. Hold the thermometer probe in the boiling water for one minute. Do not let the probe touch the pot.
    2. After one minute, the thermometer should read between 210° and 214° F. If it does not read between these temperatures adjust the thermometer manually to 212° F. If the thermometer cannot be adjusted manually do not use it until it is serviced by a professional.
    Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The "danger zone" is between 40 and 140°F — the temperature range where food-borne bacteria multiply rapidly. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, if it is in the "danger zone."

    There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven.

    Safe Preparation

    Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to other foods. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.

    Safe Cooking

    Be sure the turkey is completely thawed.  Check the internal temperature at the center of the meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
  8. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Sorry that's not accurate... You can do huge turkeys in the smoker and you don't have to worry about that.  Not sure what kind of smoker you're using or if you're blocking the heat from getting to the bird or not.

    A way to get birds done faster is spatchcocking them.      
  9. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    Even if you're cooking at a lower temp? Everything I have read has cautioned against that. However I've never tried the spatchcock method on a turkey.
  10. Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Using older methods of low and slow you do want to keep the birds weight under 16 pounds. However if you are smoking at higher temps, like you would in a standard oven then you can do bigger birds. You just need to adhere to the 40-140 in 4 hours rule.
  12. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Here is what the CDC recommends  No reference to size


    Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Check the internal temperature at the center of the meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
  13. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    You'll want to go 325 @ a minimum but  i like 350-375 range.     I'm doing a couple of  15-20 lbers and not expecting anything over 3.5 to 4 hours.   I am using 2 separate smokers but regardless it doesn't take long if you're spreading out the poultry via spatchcock and going a higher heat.   UDS also tend to cook faster because of the direct radiant heat...even if you're using a (holy) diffuser. 
  14. flyboys

    flyboys Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for correcting me on that! This will make my Thanksgiving plans this year a lot easier!
  15. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hello RCWBUD,

    [​IMG]  to the SMF, the best BBQ site on the web.  Whatever you need to know about the fine art of BBQ you can find it right here, from recipes to technical knowledge.

    One thing you need to know about us is that we like to see pictures of your creations and your gear.  We call it Q-View and its basically the [​IMG]!!!

    So, don't just talk about your food, show it!  Otherwise you may get a gentle reminder, like this...

    [​IMG]   or this...[​IMG]

    Good Luck and Get Smokin'

  16. rcwbud

    rcwbud Fire Starter

    Whoa the turkey turned out fabulous. A friend of mine gave me a few ideas and I ran with a couple others and it was sensational. He suggested that I stuff the bird with Jimmy Dean Spiced Sausage after punching some holes in the rib casing of the breast. You then make a tunnel from tail to neck hole and turn it over breast down. I put it in a pan and put equal parts water and apple juice in the pan, about a cup. I seasoned the bird with butter, pepper, salt, and some seasoning mix over the counter. Got my Barrel Smoker fired up and put her in there, in the pan.

    Each hour I basted the bird, actually a whole breast by Butterball, and kept it cooking at about 315 to 325. It took three hours to get it to 175 internal all over the meat. I let it set for about 40 minutes and cleaned it. I put the big slices into one container for sandwiches and then took all the small pieces and the bone clean meat and mixed it with the sausage in the food processor. Ground that fine for sandwiches too and it was unreal tasting.

    The meat turned out super moist and good and done. It just could not have turned out any better. That recipe is a keeper and I can't wait to do two of them for Thanksgiving. This Barrel Smoker is the bomb!

    These pics don't do it justice. It was/is a lot better than it looks. This was breast was just a little under ten pounds. I am going to do two like this for Thanksgiving. I am consistently surprised at how short a time each cook turns out to be in the Barrel as opposed to my Masterbuilt Electric unit. Butts that took seven hours in the MB take about 4.5 to 5. This turkey was done in 2:45 and it was exactly done. Everything we have done so far has been moist and perfect. Not sure why the difference in time but it is a nice surprise. This cook took about eight pounds of charcoal and I think it could have only taken five or six. 
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Looks great! We are doing a breast this year instead of a whole bird, as its just gonna be me and the wife. I cant wait!
  18. billyj571

    billyj571 Smoking Fanatic

    Looks awesome doing one tonight.
  19. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    Welcome to the Smoking  forum.   You’ll find great , friendly people here, all more than willing to answer any question you may have.  Just ask and you’ll get about 10 different answers—all right.  LOL.   Don’t forget to post qviews.

  20. bkvanbek

    bkvanbek Newbie

    Talking about "Danger Zone" and all. So what if some bad bugs got in your turkey, if you get the right temperature the bugs die.....right?