Turkey, Chicken Smoke & Q-view

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Nov 15, 2010
Rural Nebraska
This past Sunday afternoon I cooked two Turkeys together with a capon chicken. My parents and I had a meal together with the chicken later in the evening. Then I gave one turkey to them and sliced the other at home for use during the week bagging the rest and freezing.


Set to go in the cooker


1 hr. @ 350 deg. with heavy smoke, then down to 265-270 remainder of cook, smoke for 35 min. longer


One of the turkeys at 5 hours




Chicken platter at my parents


Turkey slices out of the fridge Monday A.M. at home

Each of these birds were in brine 14 hrs. and then returned to refrigeration the same amount of time prior to cooking. In a large pot I combined all the brine ingredients including about 1/2 the amount of Morton Meat Cure typically used and the balance using kosher salt. Fresh poultry herbs and a few different seasonings with a little bit of brown sugar. And then, divided the mixture into three separate containers the next morning. The turkeys were about 13.5 lb. each and the chicken 7-8 lb. I believe. The second rack and forth rack in my cooker has about a 20 deg. heat difference so they were done at about the same time up to 165 deg. Then put in a cooler foiled for 35 minutes while transporting. When I arrived at my parents I opened up the cooler to chill the turkeys outside and took the chicken inside for our meal.

This was the fist time I had cooked a "capon" chicken and I got a great deal on it about half price. For final seasoning before going into the cooker I combined a little under 1 Tbs. each Penzeys Mural of Flavor, Mignonette Pepper and Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt with approximately 3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil that I had mixed together the night before applied using a rubber glove. Underneath the skin on top of the breast of each I placed several slices of truffle butter with black truffles. Part of the breast skin of the chicken was missing so I had to improvise slicing some of the skin off the back end of the bird. Each had a third of an Asian pear inside their cavity.

I used strictly olive wood for this cook flavored with gin the day before using my crock pot method and then put into plastic bags for use. 7 medium-sized chunks added two at a time that were warmed on my cooking chamber before added to the coals for a total of 1.5 hrs smoke. It was about 25 deg. outside most the day while cooking with a slight breeze. This meat has a really great flavor with the truffle butter added and was moist and tender.
Les, the short answer is that I wanted to avoid higher amounts of nitrate. My mother has heart arrhythmia so that was most the concern there plus I don't know that the higher amounts on a regular basis are necessarily good either. Normally, I go a little bit lighter on salt too anyway and I hadn't used these type of meat cures for awhile so decided to give the idea a whirl in combination. When I was growing up, we used to brine turkeys with "sugar cure"  quite regularly which our barber would smoke for us. Later, I made an electric smoker out of a smaller gas ceramic oven. Well anyway, most generally using the nitrates was part of our curing process, my parents did it quite a bit and enjoyed it quite a lot, especially during the holidays . Also, hadn't used any of it yet with the smoker I now use so wanted to give it a try to see how it would work out with smoke penetration, etc. while going on the light side taking into account health considerations while still experiencing some of it.

Well nitrate or salt your brds look awesome for sure.
Truly outstanding Q view!  Those birds are breathtakingly beautiful, Mark!

I really dig that first picture with the smoke coming off the cooked bird.  And that first picture of the cut up bird rocks my world, too.

Wow!  That's some good eating right there!

Very nicely done!

Thanks everyone.
  I was really pleased with the way these turned out.

For whole birds I kick up the heat right out of the gate with lots of smoke for one hour with a little bit more up to 1.5 hours after I decrease the heat. You can even go higher than that for a little less duration but that's the way it was working. For individual pieces, I'm at around 230 to 240 deg. for the first hour and then kick it up close to 350 for about a half hour before backing down to 225-230 for the balance of the cook. One of these days I'll post those with a recipe I use. The butter underneath the skin makes quite a bit of difference and I like putting a pear in there either whole pierced or cut into pieces. When I checked the temps everything was dripping just like I wanted.  

The olive wood really tastes good for poultry. Sometimes I use it in combination with some grapefruit for more smokiness. The olive to me is somewhat like mesquite so I have to be careful to not add too much. Another combination I like is apple with maple, it can get on the sweet end though. That or pecan and a little bit of maple the pecan makes a nice brown color too. My wood gets pretty dry so that's why I try and get the moisture ratio back up and I've taken a liking to doing that through using the crock pot. The chunks shouldn't be wet just moist I've learned. I don't foil the wood chunks hardly any now except for when I'm heating the chunks on the cooking chamber before adding them to the coals. For the most part, there's a good blue smoke that way. Sometimes, I might have to crack the lid a touch so it can breath a little better. And avoiding not having too terrible much charcoal going at one time. With these I added another chimney full of hot glowing coals to finish up.
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