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Turkey Skin Issue

freakynorm

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I tried smoking a 9lb turkey this weekend. It came out really good. I used some herbs and butter under the skin, filled the bird with various fruits and put a light coating of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning on it. For some reason though, the skin was like leather. I've done chicken before the same way and never had that issue. Any suggestions on how to make it crispy and edible as opposed to tougher than old beef jerky? I smoked it at 230c until the breast hit 162c and let it rest for 30 minutes. Any tips would be appreciated! :)

turkey.jpg
 

mike243

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Ok i looked and 162c in American is 323.6 degree internal just a tad overdone or you meant F lol 240c is 446 also a tad high lol, I have had chicken render all the way out and be like tough thin paper, I suspected I had too much heat or cooked to long, this was before I had therms that worked really well.
 

pineywoods

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I'm going to guess those temps were F not C and the problem is at 225-250 degree smoker temp the skin will not crisp up. There are a few different ways you can solve this
Smoke at 225-250 to an internal of about 150 then put it in a preheated hot oven think like 350-450 until you get the internal up to 165 in the breast.
Smoke at 225-250 to an internal of about 150 then put in a preheated hot grill till an internal of 165 in the breast.
Smoke at 225 -250 to an internal of 150 then carefully put it into some 350 degree preheated oil and fry to an internal of 165 in the breast.
Increase the smoker temp to 325-350 and do the entire smoke at the higher temp or let it smoke till like 140-145 then increase the smoker temp to 325-350.
Those are the best ways I know of to get the nice crispy skin.
Personally I'll be doing the smo-fried thing again it's kind of like the best of both worlds smoked and fried in the same bird.
 

TuckersBarbeque

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Taking pineywoods suggestion a little further, just cook it at 350 from the start. You need a temperature high enough for the fat to render quickly, key word being quickly. Fat can start to render ~130, but it takes awhile.
Another suggestion is a 1 tblsp Baking powder + 1 tsp kitchen salt mix and then applied to the turkey prior to going into the smoker. That'll also have a fun chemical reaction to crisp up the skin if your low and slow is important to you. Typically, poultry (the breasts) is very lean and does not gain much advantage from a low and slow cook...
 

schlotz

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This works EVERY TIME: use your grill & rotisserie. Truss the bird up so legs and wings don't flop. Cook at 350ºƒ with no heat directly under the bird, and use a smoker tube. Bird will baste itself due to the roto and come out gorgeous looking plus the skin will be perfect. Been doing this for years.
 

freakynorm

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Well, I don't have a rotisserie so can't do that one. Yeah, the temps were supposed to be in F lol. I will try a hotter smoke. I did this one in my MES so my max temp is 300F. Thanks for the tips!
 

tallbm

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Well, I don't have a rotisserie so can't do that one. Yeah, the temps were supposed to be in F lol. I will try a hotter smoke. I did this one in my MES so my max temp is 300F. Thanks for the tips!
Yeah you are going to have a hard time with the skin in an MES.
Get it as hot as it will go and if you can put the bird on a vertical turkey rack (standing up) that helps get the airflow to run up and along the skin where if the turkey is on it's back it is tough for the hot air/heat to flow over the top of the bird/skin.

I've never done this but you could spatch cock and cook skin side down to get direct heat from the element.

Finally something you can do is smoke the turkey at a lower temp for until it hits like 135F in the breast THEN throw on a hot grill (350-400F+) and cook skin side down to blast the skin really well. If you spatchcock the turkey this would work really well as the skin would all be on one side with the flattened out bird.

I hope this info helps :)
 

JckDanls 07

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Welp... Myself I've never had much luck crisping the thick skin of a turkey... I just throw the skin away ...
 
Last edited:

pineywoods

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If my family can't eat the skin on chicken or turkey I may as well not smoke it cause they ain't gonna be happy and by the time they get done complaining I won't be happy :emoji_astonished:
 

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