Thanksgiving Preparation: Maple Barbecue Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by murrgh, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    In anticipation of Thanksgiving (and the fact I could find a turkey at Publix) I've decided to try my first Turkey.

    It's a 12lber. Using the "Maple Barbecue Turkey" from Jeff, I started my brine tonight. Will smoke tomorrow after work!

    Plan of Action:

    • Smoker temp: 240 Degrees 275 Degrees
    • Smoke Duration: Entire Smoke
    • Wood: Pecan Apple - All I could find (Long story short - wood roaches found my wood chips...)
    • Water: Fill pan with leftover brine
    • No Mop

    The Smoke:
    Brined using the recipe given in link:

    ^^^ Plate used to keep the turkey submerged

    Went home at lunch and pulled her out of the brine, rinsed, then put into the fridge until I could get home:

    I expected the turkey to take 5-6 hours when I put it in. Here she was as I waited for the MES to heat up:

    And once heated, I put her in... I do not own a "stay-in" thermometer, I just figured I'd probe every time I would mop.

    So I made the mop sauce:

    And after the first 3 hours, I went to go mop and check temp. I mopped the part of the turkey I could see, then probed her as I rotated her to get the other side. And that's when I got worried. She was already at 178 degrees. So I took her out and wrapped her instantly to let her rest.

    So here's my half-mopped turkey:

    I finally decided to carve her and see the damage:

    I was shocked to find out that even though she went to almost 180, this was one of the best tasting turkeys I've had. The mix of Maple and Jeff's rub is ridiculously good. White meat was still moist as well as the dark meat. Because I had only mopped one side and it didn't sit on it in the smoker, I'm not sure what it would have done to the skin. As is, the skin isn't crispy. I feel like the 240 to 275 temperature wouldn't really have that much of an effect on it.

    Now I know there was some talk on whether or not to mop it: I say go for it. I tasted to mop sauce by itself and I would use that on a lot of things. I've got some ideas of things to try it on and will get back to you on that....

    But here are some things I learned/advice

    Notes and Tips:

    • Internal Probe Thermometer: You need one. Because I didn't have a stay-in, It cooked too long. I feel like this is a must
    • Jeff's Recipe: Not exactly a step by step. I want to redo this (and will) and figure out the IT to start mopping at. Because 3 hours later didn't work for me. Maybe keeping it at 240 would have allowed this time to work?
    • Turkey Prep: Make sure to dry the turkey in the fridge for 6-8 hours to get it dry. Mine was in there for ~5.5 and it was dry.

    Overall I would highly recommend this to anyone. I will be doing this again to try and work out the kinks and keep y'all posted. If there's something I didn't cover, let me know and I'll be glad to respond.

    Edited: Scaled down the pictures from Tapatalk... they were just too big.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  2. eljefesmoker

    eljefesmoker Newbie

    Following, can't wait to see how this turns out!!
    murrgh likes this.
  3. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Thanks! I also can't wait to get this thing started.... only 9 more hours until I can put her in....
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Its gonna have to be a slow smoke if you're gonna be serving this bird for thanksgiving! [​IMG]

    WHat's your plan? High temp smoke to crisp up the skin? what type of wood are you going to use for smoke?
  5. xray

    xray Smoking Fanatic

    Following, I want to see this! I plan on doing Jeff's recipe over thanksgiving week. I already have a bird in the fridge.

    Keep us updated.

  6. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Thanks everyone!

    Update OP with plan of action.

    Question: How long should I actually smoke for? I was thinking first 2-3 hours and then stop adding wood chips? (MES 30in)
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Running the smoker at 240, your bird should be done in about5 hours +/-. I run the smoke the entire time. Pecan is pretty mild so you won't be overly smokey.  Honestly if it was me I'd crank that MES up to the max 275° you will get better skin if you do. Also really dry the bird good prior to putting it in the smoker. Air drying in the fridge for 8-12 hours is the best. If you don't have the time use a hair dryer on low right before putting the bird in the smoker. I'd skip the mop, unless you like eating rubber...
  8. floridasteve

    floridasteve Smoking Fanatic

    Watching with interest
  9. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Interesting. Thanks for the advice. I'll go max on the temperature. As for the mop, I wasn't really sure about it, Jeff had mentioned doing it which is why I had planned for it.

    Now I'm thinking I should've done 2 turkeys to test this out...

    Anyone have experience with this and want to chime in?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. twoalpha

    twoalpha Smoking Fanatic

    I'm In
  11. xray

    xray Smoking Fanatic

    Wouldn't a mop be adding and basting liquid during the smoke? I wouldn't do this smoking poultry, only if I was grilling.

    If I remember correctly wasn't he just using maple syrup to help the rub stick?

    Let us know what you decide to do.
  12. xray

    xray Smoking Fanatic

    I remembered incorrectly, damn memory! Lol. I just looked up the recipe and there is a mop sauce used towards the end.
  13. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  14. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Went home at lunch to play with dry her out...

    Moved images to OP
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  15. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  16. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Consolidated to first post.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  17. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Consolidated to first post.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  18. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    I'll update with the damage when I try her out in 20 mins...
  19. eljefesmoker

    eljefesmoker Newbie

    Dying to know how this turned out!!!

    Some tips for next time:

    1)  Truss that bad boy up before putting it in the smoker.  I learned this the hard way, even cooking in the oven, when I prepped my first thanksgiving after moving into my own home a billion years ago.  This video should help:  

    2)  If possible, put the turkey in with the legs facing the back of the smoker, breast facing outward.  In the MES 30 (well, in mine at least), there seems to be a good concentration of heat towards the back of the cabinet.  The dark meat on the bird can take much more heat than the breast, so placing the turkey in "back to front" will help even out the cooking.

    3)  I know some warn against this, but i've done it for every turkey i've made... Get a "leave in" temp probe and put that sucker in before she heads out to the smoker.  The maverick is awesome, a bit expensive, but awesome... Helps you keep track of the temp in the smoker, as well.  Adding a pic to show the proper way to probe a turkey, since I did it wrong myself about 14,000 times.

    4)  Again, this will probably be controversial.... but I only cook my turkey to 161 degrees.  Soon as it hits (and holds) that temp,it comes out and takes a 45 minute rest.  I PROMISE you it'll be at or above 165 after the rest, and be super juicy.  Disregard that pop-up thermometer...most of those are set at a melting point of 170+ degrees, which is basically a CYA (cover your a$$) from the manufactuer.  HOWEVER, leave it in... pulling it results in a juice geyser as you cook, and I find that juice to be much tastier when it stays IN the turkey lol...

    5) Final tip... get yourself an AMNPS... look, I admit... I wasn't understanding all the hype, especially when the masterbuilt puts out some nice smoke with chips alone... but then I took the plunge and bought an AMNPS to use on a pork butt smoke.  Now I get it.  11 hours of perfect TBS coming out of the stack (oh yeah, btw if you do use an AMNPS in the MES30, get yourself a 3" 90 degree HVAC elbow and stick it right on the wide open vent.  For whatever reason, this stops that AMNPS from blowing out or getting starved for air... can't explain it, but i'm sure there's some science to it.  Also, pull the chip tray inside the machine out about 2", and pull the chip loader out so that you get some air flow going... I promise you won't go back to chips if you try it).

    Hope some of that helps, and let us know how it tasted!!! 
  20. murrgh

    murrgh Fire Starter

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015

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