• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Thanksgiving 2013 - DRAMA ALERT!!! Whole Fresh Amish Turkey and Assorted Turkey Thighs and Legs

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
Greetings all!

So I've been a little light on the smoker use through the late summer and fall, due to some health issues my wife has been having.  However, we aren't traveling to see the in-laws in Connecticut this year, so we decided to hose a Thanksgiving gathering of our own this year.  We decided on a 14lb fresh turkey from the meat market she works at, and we're pretty excited.  I did a test run on the smoker to make sure I could hit the required heat levels, and you can see the results of that test run here at http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/152990/cold-weather-test-run-turkey-parts.  So, we're ready to rock 'n' roll!

Here's the plan:
Tuesday 11/26  
Prepare turkey brine7:45 AM
Chill brine8:15 AM
Pickup donuts (cook fuel)8:30 AM
Pickup charcoal (smoker fuel)8:45 AM
Pickup turkey9:00 AM
Rinse turkey9:30 AM
Add turkey to turkey brine9:45 AM
Pickup legs and thighs11:30 AM
   
Wednesday 11/27  
Prepare parts brine7:00 AM
Chill parts brine7:30 AM
Remove turkey and rinse7:45 AM
Towel dry turkey7:50 AM
Turkey to fridge for air dry7:55 AM
Rinse parts9:00 AM
Add parts to parts brine9:10 AM
Remove parts and rinse9:05 PM
Towel dry parts9:10 PM
Parts to fridge for air dry9:15 PM
   
Thursday 11/28  
Start chimney lighter7:00 AM
Load fuel to smoke box7:10 AM
Coffee, coffee, coffee7:15 AM
Dump chimney into fire box7:20 AM
Remove turkey7:30 AM
Towel dry turkey again7:35 AM
Oil and rub turkey7:40 AM
Turkey to smoker7:45 AM
Remove parts11:00 AM
Towel dry parts again11:05 AM
Oil and rub parts11:10 AM
Parts to smoker11:15 AM
Remove turkey to tray12:30 PM
Foil tent turkey and rest12:35 PM
Dampen smoker air flow12:40 PM
Remove parts to tray12:45 PM
Foil tent parts and rest12:50 PM
Carve turkey1:00 PM
Serve turkey and parts1:15 PM
Add wood chips for cheese2:00 PM
Remove cheese to trays2:05 PM
Cheese to smoker2:10 PM
Remove cheese4:10 PM
Vacuum seal cheese4:25 PM
Blast chill cheese4:30 PM
Distribute cheese to guests4:45 PM
More to come!!!!
 
Last edited:

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
View media item 271724
Stay tuned!

So here comes the first update.  I started the brine using Chef Jimmy's brine as a base recipe, and throwing a couple of my own twists in.  Here's the modified recipe:

1/2C Coarse Sea Salt

2T Paprika

2T Gran. Garlic

2T Onion Powder

2T Dry Thyme

2T Black Pepper

1C Apple Cider Vinegar

2C Apple Cider

1t Tabasco

1-1/2 Gal Cold Water

6 Leaves Pineapple Sage (fresh from my now indoor herb garden)

Some Q-view so far (or technically off-Q view, seeing as how the fire doesn't start until Thursday, but I digress...)

Simmered the brine to marry the components, then chilled with ice.  You can see the pineapple sage leaves floating on the top

View media item 271680
Got to Duma Meats in Mogadore at 9:00AM sharp, and there were already people in line ahead of me. Hey, just because my wife works there, doesn't mean I get special treatment!  Just heard from my wife that it's absolutely crazy now.


Turkey takes a dunk in the brine. Threw some clear plastic wrap on the edges to help the lid seal so I don't splash any out while I move it.

View media item 271682
Nestled in the new fridge, ready for the "power cool" cycle. To the left, you can see stacks of cheese I plan to smoke after the turkey and requisite smoker cool down.  Also, there have been comments and speculation that I purchased the new fridge just to have more room to store pre-smoked and smoked meats and cheeses.  I will neither confirm, nor deny those statements.


View media item 271683
Just got back from the poultry market with the turkey pieces
 

waywardswede

Meat Mopper
252
21
Joined Aug 5, 2013
Nice, what a plan, down to the minute.  I'm not that disciplined, more power to you.  I'm in for the updates!
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
They're obviously all approximations, but a good gauge if I start falling behind.  With so many moving pieces to Thanksgiving dinner, it helps to at least have a barometer.
 

foamheart

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
10,972
2,805
Joined Apr 4, 2013
 
Nice, what a plan, down to the minute.  I'm not that disciplined, more power to you.  I'm in for the updates!
All that coffee, he might have forgotten to add something in his itinerary ........
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
OK, so time for some updates...

Removed the bird from the brine. I set it on my beer can chicken stand to hold it upright so it can air dry in the fridge another 24 hours. It's a nice looking bird.

View media item 271991
Into the empty stock pot and back into the fridge. If it still had a head, it would be peeking out.

View media item 271992
Meanwhile, brine batch #2 is chilling in the fridge, getting ready for turkey parts.

View media item 271996
Stay tuned for more!
 

leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
3,029
214
Joined Sep 19, 2013
I'm not sure which is more impressive, your beautiful food, or your precision schedule and masterful organization!

Wow have you folks just got it together! Terrific post!

Have a wonderful holiday and here's to great health things improving too!!!! Cheers! - Leah
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
Thanks Leah!

So, the fun continued.  I decided to leave the parts in the brine for another hour, just to give a little more time for all of those flavors to circulate.  I also decided to do a fresh batch of rub, since I was running low.

Rinsed off and in the process of being dried

View media item 272286
Back into the fridge for some cool dry time

View media item 272287
Made myself some fresh Bubba Chix rub (Chef Jimmy's recipe)

View media item 272289
Finished two days worth of tasks. The big one awaits!


Well, that's it for Wednesday.  See you all tomorrow, and best of luck to everyone doing a smoke of their own!
 

leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
3,029
214
Joined Sep 19, 2013
Well that just continues to sound magnificent! happy holiday (officially) and happy feasting!!! Beautiful stuff! Cheers! - Leah
 

sprky

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,924
36
Joined Jun 26, 2007
I'm impressed.  I do a time line in my head and have yet to keep with it, something always goes wrong or comes up. Perfect example I was going to start smoking turkeys mid AM yesterday 11/27, didn't get started till 2 PM due to a snfu. This link explains what went on http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/153165/back-to-making-tbs-and-smoky-goodness  . Going to be a LONG day tomorrow I may be able to grab a couple hours shut eye around 6 AM if I'm lucky.
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
Thanks folks.  Here's the morning update...

This is the Thanksgiving morning scene, after two days of snow.


Chimney started


The bird. Yep, still dead.


Rubbing on some olive oil


And applying the rub

View media item 272336
I loosely packed the cavity with apple slices, two sprigs of rosemary, and a sprig of sage. I like using fresh aromatics in the bird.


On my Weber rib/roast rack and ready to hit the smoker


IT...IS...ON!


More to come!
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
Oh no!!!  I checked in on the turkey a little over an hour in, and found the front end of the bird (facing the firebox) got blasted by heat.  Apparently, my carefully placed baffle plate slipped, leaving the turkey to get blasted by radiant heat.  Though I don't mind a little char here and there, I probed the meat to find it was also cooking that end WAY faster than parts of the breast, and was a full 20 degrees ahead of the thighs.  My answer to the problem was similar to my reaction....

I flipped the bird.

View media item 272382
I removed the roast tray and flipped it over.  It's an EXTREMELY risky move, and may have dire consequences.  I'm also in a full-on heat retreat, as I have pulled back to a safe 250 degrees to prevent this from becoming a Thanksgiving turkey BRUNCH.  Crispy skin is an afterthought now, as the crispness of the front resembles a grand piano finish.  I'll pump the heat back up for the parts.

Now I know what you're all thinking.  I just violated the cardinal rule of smoking...I was fooling around the smoker mid-smoke.  However, it's my belief that the benefit of attempting to restore temperate balance to the bird outweighed the risks.  Will my move reflect the wisdom of a seasoned veteran, or will my toying with the smoke turn out to be a rookie mistake?  Stay tuned...
 

disco

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
10,454
4,197
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Looks to me like you are going to have a meal to be thankful for and that is on top of a having a wife who works in a meat store!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Disco
 

piaconis

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
500
22
Joined Jun 9, 2012
Well, it was a successful smoke, but a photo fail.  I missed the final pic of the bird as I had hungry guests in front of me.  So, here are some pics from along the way..

Parts are looking good, main bird is resting


Check out the smoke penetration on the carved breast


Finished parts, along with the carved parts from the main turkey.  Everything was done right on time.


Well, I missed a whole-bird pic, but you can see the carcass and the smoke penetration


My plate, with all the fixins


Cheese is on...early Christmas present for my guests


Finished product, being vac sealed and sent home with guests


Thanks for following my Thanksgiving!  Hope you enjoyed yours as well!
 

leah elisheva

Master of the Pit
3,029
214
Joined Sep 19, 2013
Well that all looks like a perfectly beautiful holiday!!! Thank you for sharing! Cheers! - Leah
 

driedstick

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,980
610
Joined Nov 3, 2011
Dang nab it  great detailed post and great pics, Looks like you had a great turkey day.
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.