Thanksgiving over my head!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gitaryzt1985, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    I've only been smoking for about a year, and I've been appointed by the family to start a new smoking tradition on Thanksgiving.  I don't mind, heck I'm in love with smoking at this point, but I think I might be over my head here.

    On the menu:

    2 Turkey Breasts

    2 Pork Shoulders

    1 Smoked Cheese Dip and italian bread

    The cheese dip is pretty easy and only takes an hour at the end.  It's a mixture of italian cheeses, cream cheese, garlic and roma tomatoes.  I also throw the bread in foil on the smoker and it turns out really nice....I digress...

    The real issue for me is going to be the turkey and the pork shoulder at the same time.  I've never done either and have a few quick questions.  I'm ok on cook times and temps, but I am a little unsure about flavors and injecting.

    1)  I thought about injecting both the turkey and pork with a mixture of 3 parts apple cider to 1 part Jack Daniels and some brown sugar and salt.  Do you guys inject into turkey and pork shoulder?  Should I add anything else to the mixture?

    2)  I know that shoulder takes less babysitting than ribs, but is leaving it on the smoker all there is to it?  No foiling?

    3)  This is just a newbie question.  I did a brisket one time and halfway through I put it in a foil tin with some cider and jack daniels and covered it with foil.  It got me thinking, should I smoke the turkey and shoulder in a foil tray to allow it to sit in its own juices, or should I just put them on the grates?

    Sorry for newbie questions, but just learning!
  2. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    In my humble opinion you shouldn't inject your butt it will just make you look like Kim Kardashian!! Haha all jokes aside. Never injected a butt before. Simple rub and you're good to go. A lot of folk round here brine their birds. Don't start getting panicky you can do this!! Yes you can just leave it on the grate but you can also foil when it hits about 165ish if you want. You'll sacrifice some of the bark if you do this but it is still turn out okay! Do some quick searches to see what other members have done regarding turkey cooks.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  3. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Sounds good to me...I tend to over complicate and over flavor....

    Definitely brining the turkey in a mixture of apple cider, water, brown sugar, salt, and pepper corns.  I usually spritz my ribs with cider and jack every 30 minutes, so I planned on doing the same with the turkey, but 30 minutes may be too frequent and let too much heat out too often.
  4. Smoke the pork ahead of time and reheat in a crockpot for dinner. Cook the bird day of. Don't make it hard on yourself. But that's just my .02.
  5. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Do it ahead of time be a part of the feast. The day before, or if you have to the weekend before. You can pull the pork bag it freeze it heat in simmering water on T-Day the turkey breast can also be frozen thawed the day before and heated in the oven with what ever else is in it. Hope all turns out great for you have a Happy T-Day
  6. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep, I'd agree with Brooksy. I've done numerous whole turkeys with just a good rubbing and some compound butter mix under the breast skin to help with the moisture. Only ate breast as a kid, now only prefer dark. I have brined birds and found it an OK option IF I have the time etc. Spritzing is debatable.....some do, many don't and I personally usually don't. I'll admit, if there are folks hanging around the smoker, popping the lid and spraying some mist in there is the 'wow' factor but doesn't really accomplish much except add cooking time. Try and catch the drippings for gravy making....I normally place a disposable aluminum pan under the bird...have fun, enjoy the Holiday.....Willie
  7. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Now that is a plan!  I could seriously manage that.  I could take a half day on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and get the butts done that evening and then smoke the turkey next day.  I don't know why I didn't think of that!

    If using the crockpot to reheat, how exactly should I do that?  would I add any liquid?
  8. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Put a drip pan under the butts use the drippings when you reheat
  9. If you are going to foil the shoulders, and I would suggest it to speed things up if you only have a half day, just put them in foil pans, or put the foil pans under them to catch drippings. Then at foil time cover them in the pans well with foil and cook to final IT. You are planning on pulled pork right? So go to 200-205. Rest them in the pans for an hour and when you open them you will likely hve a few cups of juice. Skim the fat and save the juice. You can then dump the juice adn meat into your crockpot and let it heat up on low a few hours for serving at dinner while you concentrate on the turkey. You can also add in some finishing sauce if you think you need a bit more liquid.
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Though I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions to do at least the butts beforehand, what if someone wasn't able to? I mean there are lots of folks who either don't have the time beforehand or fail to plan ahead ( I usually fall into the latter category) but still wanna smoke multiple meats for Thanksgiving. All is not lost. First, figure out a temp where both meats will be happy. We know turkey likes a hotter temp, and of the two, is the least forgiving. So let's say 325. The butt will do fine at that temp too.
    Now the timing. The butt will take longer, say 6-7 hours at that temp, plus an hour rest time. Give it 10 hours just to be safe. So, you set your smoker to 325 and put the butt on 10 hours before its time to eat. The turkey breast will likely take 2-3 hours, to be on the safe side give it 4. If you plan on eating at 5, get your butt on at 7, then put the turkey breast on at 12:30 or so. Remove each when done, wrap in foil and everything will be ready for dinner time. You've gotten a good night's sleep, impressed the family with your smoking prowess and haven't stressed everyone out.
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm a do-aheader and often have big gatherings to cook for... time to me is a cook's best friend , learn to manage it and your job will be simpler.

    As was said, do the Butt the day before(you can give it a great rest for helping the tenderizing) , then when pulled place it in a Slowcooker with some Finishing sauce and it will be fine. Even if you hold it overnight in the Fridge , you'll be ahead of the


    Breast will be a nice early morn. smoke for lunch (Fresh) or you could do them the day before and slice , vac-bag and hold for a  boiling heat - up the day of...

    Have fun and . . .
  12. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Thanks guys! Lots of suggestions and awesome info!

    We have to eat around 12 bc some family has multiple houses to visit that day. I think Ill take the day off of work on Wednesday and smoke the butts and take care of the turkey the next morning before dinner.

    Another family likes cold turkey so I could realistically do the turkey the day before as well and serve cold.
  13. I don't think I caught what type of smoker you are using?

    I smoke pigs and birds differently so that's why I suggested doing them separately. But if you have the room and your family likes their turkey cold go for it all at once.
  14. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    Im using a cheap charbroil horizontal offset smoker. Lots of surface area but doesnt maintain the heat well.
  15. Well let us know what you decide and how it goes with some q view!
  16. To reheat pork (I assume you are pulling it?) - 

    Pull off the smoker - let rest as normal then pull.

    Get a vacuum sealer, seal the bags up and either fridge or freeze. If you like sauce you can add a little bit in there as you seal it up.

    The next day - like the poster above said - go ahead and just simmer in boiling water for awhile. It's impossible to over cook because the water isn't getting above boiling.

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