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Virgin whole turkey smoker, help me make my first time enjoyable

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by midwestpatsfan, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    Well, after being succesfully guided through a brisket, I thought to myself, why not a Turkey, that way, I can impress the whole family at thanksgiving. So this weekend is the trial run. I have read a lot of the forum trying to get as much info as I can. Here is what I know and here is what I could use some help on.

    1. I have a 10lb. Butterball premium young turkey.

    2. I know that I will need to brine it and I have found a brine recipe that looks really good from this site. I will start brining tommorow morning and let it brine until saturday morning(day of the smoke)

    Here is what I do NOT know.

    1. How hot do I want my smoker to be at. I cannot seem to find a temp to cook it at.

    2. What internal temp do I want to hit to know when I am done.

    3. Should I be injecting/rubbing/or spritzing the turkey during the smoke? When? How often?

    4. Is there a certain type of wood chip that is better for smoking a turkey? Right now I just have mesquite but will get whatever is recommended.

    5. Where do I want to take the birds temp?

    6. Is there anything else that I am missing or forgetting that is going to make me have a great turkey?

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice or recommendations.
    dk666 likes this.
  2. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Alright midwest... I've done a few turkeys already, in fact I just did a turkey breast this past Sunday. Of course you're gonna want to brine the bird, and inject the bird, I used travcoman45 recipes this past Sunday, and they where awesome. Here they are :

    Poultry Brine:

    1 1/2 Gal Water
    1/2 C Salt
    1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp onion Powder
    2 tsp Cajun Spice
    2 tsp Celery Salt

    Mix well and brine over night, quick rinse in the mornin and pat dry.

    Poultry Injection Recipe:

    1/2 Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    2 TBs Melted Butter
    2 C Apple Cider

    Mix well and inject bird then brine.

    This makes for a very tastey and juicy bird without bein spicy. It's Mommas favorite!
    This recipe is for two chickens, however you can always double it if ya need to for doin a turkey!

    As far as Temp goes I smoked mine at around 260* until I reached around 155*, then I cranked up the heat to 325* until I reached around 165*, to crisp up the skin.

    I spritzed mine with a mix of 3/4 apple juice, and 1/4 Jim Beam Stag ( black cherry flavored )

    As far as wood, I mostly use apple on poultry, brings in a nice smoke flavor that's not over bearing.

    Good Luck, and don't forget to take some pics.
  3. thanks for the advice, quick question on the injection. It says at the end to inject then brine, so I do the injection first?

    How much and where on the bird do I inject. Several times in the breast or just a few spots all over the bird?
  4. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I missed that when I did my bird, I brined it over night first than injected it before I smoked it, and it turned out fantastic.
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Here's a link to an article Jeff did on Smoking a Turkey


    Personally I use Travcoman45's brine overnight then I rinse the bird well and dry then apply a light coat of rub or just spices. While doing this I'm waiting for my smoker to get up to 300-325 degrees usually with apple wood sometimes cherry once ready into the smoker it goes. After an hour I will spritz it with apple juice sometimes with 1/3 part Captain Morgans Spice Rum and other times straight apple juice. I spritz every hour thereafter. I smoke it to 165 in the thickest part of the breast. I use the higher temps to get a good crisp skin poultry in my opinion doesn't need the low and slow as its not a tough piece of meat to start with. You could smoke it in the 225 range and get more smoke flavor but you loose the nice crispy skin 
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  6. thanks for the forward from jeff, that is a nice quideline
  7. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Have you taken the Free 5 day ecourse? If not do it because there is a ton of information in to help you out.

    For a turkey I brine and smoke.
  8. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A tip for brining - go to your local Kmart, Walmart, ect., look in the section where they have plastic storage totes and see if you can find the 3 and/or 5 gallon ziploc bags. Put your turkey and the brine in the ziploc bag, then put the bag in an ice chest, and fill the chest with ice. The bird will keep nice and cold, won't be taking up a ton of room in the fridge, and the ice melt wont dilute your brine.
  10. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well if it is Butterball it is I believe already enhanced.  IE brined.  I would inject it the night before with a fruit juice mixed with your favorite rub about a tbs to a cup.  I just did one and loved the apple juice injection I did.  Carefully lift the skin and rub both under and on the skin.  Cooking temp for poultry 275-300 F in my opinion.  FDA says internal of 165 safe but I prefer 170 at the thickest parts.  You should get the birds internal over 140 in under 4 hrs.  I like pecan or apple on poultry.  Hope this helps.  Oh yeah.  I basted mine once an hour after 1st hr with a mix of olive oil, butter, and rub. 

  11. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    i use a method which seems to help keep the turkey moist

    first i inject it the night before with half and half oil and beer

    then right before you put it in the smoker i wrap it with wet cheesecloth,  (mojo)  then every hour i pour mojo over the cheesecloth which absorbs into the bird, heavy smoke

    halfway thru i take off the cheesecloth and finish cooking with no more smoke that way the skin crisps up at the end without drying out

    i tried once to put stuffing in but it was horrible and never did it again

    at thanksgiving i make a turkey and my wife makes one in the oven

    mine is always gone and hers has leftovers!
  12. holy cow, I certainly hope I have this right.

    I did not catch the post about my butterball being brined already so hopefully I am not screwed before I even have it on the smoker.  I went ahead and used the brine that seems to be very popular on this site and will be using a light rub on it as well..  I also have some apple wood I will use for the smoke and will be basting it with a simple apple juice basting. Glad to see a post about stuffing, because I was going to ask that.  I will keep the site updated and try to take pictures.
  13. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think you will be fine.  If you brined the bird that was already enhanced it may be saltier so go light on the rub if it contains salt as you mentioned.  Good luck.  Looking forward to your results.  The apple will turn the bird very dark skinned.  That is normal with apple.
  14. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Most a the poultry I get already be enhanced, I brine it anyway, chicken just brine an smoke, turkey's er bigger an the injection helps pump a bit more taste inta them.  Yall do fine, don't get worked up, just smoke an enjoy!
  15. 730 am on sunday septebember 12th.

    The bird came out of the brine around 7 and after a real quick washing(some said don't, some said do, i tried to go in the middle) and a light coating of rub the bird was ready. I had the smoker regulating its heat going for a temp of around 300.  Applewood in hand and ready to go.  Thanks for all the good advice. I will probably keep posting throughout the day. I am hoping for a 6 pm eating time. (after all the nfl games are done and over.) I also realized that smoking on nfl sunday is a perfect excuse to not have to go shopping or something with the wife because I must attend to the smoker.

    1 question i just thought of- Do you let the bird rest after it is done like you do with your briskets or ribs?
  16. I would tent (cover wit Foil) for around 20 to 30 minutes or longer same way you would do as a chicken