Turkey smoking questions.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by smokinfam, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. smokinfam

    smokinfam Smoke Blower

    I've got a few questions as I prepare for the Thanksgiving turkey smoke:
    1. What advantages are there to placing the turkey directly on the grates versus putting the turkey in a roasting pan?
    2. I have read that there is a bone in turkey breast which is basically "[font=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]both breast portions, [/font][font=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial]skin, ribs, and part of the backbone, weighing 4-5 pounds and as large as 8 pounds". My family actually prefers white meat so I thought this might be a good option. Has anybody done one of these and had good results? Is there anything I should do differently with this versus a whole turkey?

  2. moltenone

    moltenone Smoking Fanatic

    hey Smokinfam,you might want to do a practice run before the big day just so you can figure if you and your family are going to like what your going to do,know what i mean? good luck on your meal,and best wishes.

  3. twomill

    twomill Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Well, I have smoked chicken before but never a turkey suddenly my wife and mother-n-law show up with 2 turkeys apiece. [​IMG]

    They want me to practice and if it doesnt work out then it is no big loss since they bought them for 36 cents a pound. [​IMG] Looks like I got my work cut out for next weekend.[​IMG]
  4. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you place the bird directly on the grate:

    1) you will get more smoke to the meat.
    2) The juices from the bird will drip away and not accumulate preventing the skin from getting soggy. You can always place a drip pan lower if you want to capture them for gravy.

    You can get a whole turkey breast which has both breasts , skin, ribs etc with the backbone sliced open. It's all white meat and weight from 5 - 8 lbs.
    You can also get a "hotel style" turkey breast which is like the above but it includes the wings.

    I would make two recommendations.

    1) Brine the bird. Let it soak in a solution of water, kosher salt, suagr, spices etc. This will result in a much moister bird.
    2) Go with a higher temperature. No need to go low and slow with turkey. You can go 300 degrees still have a moist bird and get nice crispy skin which is hard to do when you are at 225 - 250 degrees.

    I've included some photos of the way it comes out. it's good eating!
  5. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    If you place the turkey on the grate it won't get a soggy bottom. You can also place in a a grate within the pan to catch the juice if you choose to.

    The advantage of putting it on the grate is more smoke all over the bird.
    as for the second question I don't know what your asking. White meat is all but legs and thighs on a turkey and some are breed to be all white meat. You can buy just the breast secton to if you wish.

    Twomill -
    I can't believe you got a turkey for 36 cents a pound!
  6. i just smoked my first turkey on sat it turned out great now i will do two for thanksgiving
  7. mavadakin

    mavadakin StickBurners

    Where do all of you find room in your fridge for such a large bird soaking in what must be at least a 5 gal pail or some what smaller.. reason im asking is the weather isnt staying cold enough to do outside..lol mike
    ps open to ideas..or just tell me to remove a few racks lol..
  8. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I often use a cooler that is dedicated to bird brine. This keeps my wife happy with her fridge,
  9. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't have a big fridge but what I do is get one of the those turkey oven bags put the bird in there with the brine. Then I put that bag in one of those Ziploc xxl bags with the double zipper. Takes up less space and I haven't had a leak, yet.
  10. I use a large stock pot to brine in.... I got the brine recipe off of this board. Given the fact that you are risking your Thanksgiving day dinner on this, you might consider trying what I did my first time.....

    Thaw, brine and smoke your turkey early. Then take the smoked bird and wrap it up securely in an oven bag. When the day of the feast arrives place that gobbler in the oven and warm it in the oven bag while you prepare the other goodies that accompany the bird. My mother in law has already been asking me about this year, and she even said it was the best turkey she's ever had!! The best part is I was able to sleep in, and work at a comfortable pace.

    I used to try and do too much on Thanksgiving day, and it made it tough to enjoy the day. This way I can go at a much more leisurely speed, still enjoy a smoked bird, and still have plenty of time to devote to great side dishes.

    One other valuable benefit to this method is in case something goes wrong, this approach allows time for "plan B" whatever that may be...

    The fact that it was my first turkey smoke was the reason I went this route to begin with, but I will continue to do this even now that I'm confident in my smoking abilities, just for the convenience.
  11. I have brined in bags and pots, find the pots easier but the bags to give more room? haven't done a turkey, just chickens and i use a large ziploc type bag. I did do a turkey breast yesterday, and hadn't gotten to try it yet. Someone brought it over for me and they had rubbed with jerk seasoning, probably gonna have some for dinner this eve. Looked awesome. I did it at 225 for about 6.5 hrs. Only reason why I did it that low was because of the ribs i had going at the same time.
  12. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would do a practice run too. My first turkey took longer than I thought and I have had others cook faster than I thought. A good therm and steady temp will help you. Good luck!
  13. smokinggrill

    smokinggrill Newbie

    I'm convinced traditional slow-roasted turkey recipes are out the window..lol. That turkey looks like a pickle...:p We are not smoking this year, we are baking at high heat...recipe we got from Safeway.
  14. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I've posted this before but for the mewbies that haven't seen it.

    I save the big cheeseball and prezel containers and use them for up to 15 lb turkeys.

    They don't take much more room than a gallon of milk or juice and work well for brining. This was a 13 pound turkey I believe.
  15. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That just don't look right. [​IMG]
  16. i push my beer to one side and fit the five gallon bucket right next to it of corse you have to take out one rack. but i also have two fridges.
  17. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    yeah i agree with fbj...........the looks like the OLD twilight zone show, with a head in the jar.........

    that pic looks strange.......but it werks......hehehe

  18. big-fokker

    big-fokker Meat Mopper

    Hey Debi,
    Was that bird still in one piece or did you spatchcock him?
  19. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    BF that one was whole. Gotta put the legs in first and hold the wings up to get it in there but it works well and is small. If it's cut up you can almost fit two in there.
  20. gypsyseagod

    gypsyseagod Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i'm trying to visualize stuffing a 13lb turkey down the hole of a gallon milk jug & not spew the screen......it just caught me that way.

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