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What happened???!!!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jchladek, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Smoked a whole turkey for the first time today using a WSM.  The turkey was 12 lbs., and the smoker temp ran around 235 the whole time.  From everything I've read, it should've taken about 6 hours to cook, but the thighs were already reading at 165 after only 3 hours (and the thermometer was not touching bone)!  Any ideas on why it would've finished so quickly?  Or is this something that can happen from time to time and be just fine?  I have the bird wrapped in foil and sitting in a stuffed cooler right now since we're not eating for another 3.5 hours.
  2. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you try another thermometer or in a different spot?  That is very fast for a cooking time at that temp
  3. Thanks for the reply - I pulled the thermometer out and put it in the other thigh to double-check and got the same reading.
  4. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

    How many charcoals were using?  Sounds as if the you had just a tad to much.  Also was your damper open or closed?
  5. Filled up the charcoal chamber unlit and then topped with about 30 lit ones (minion method).  Probably too much since that's how much I use for a 12 hour smoke also.  Didn't know that would affect the cook time though as long as the smoker temp was running in the right range.  The 3 dampers on the bottom were barely open, with the damper on the lid all the way open.  Outside weather is 30 degrees with no wind.
  6. shadowrider72

    shadowrider72 Newbie

    the one i did last year was 15lbs and it only took about 3.5 hours as well.  surprised me, but from what I was told, its not about time, its about temp.  mine turned out AMAZING with the short cook time fyi....total rave reviews from everybody that tasted it.
    jchladek likes this.
  7. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I dont think the number of charcoals was your problem, when i smoke turkey's in my WSM i fill it to the top just as you did.

    6 Hours is a long time and usually pertains to larger turkey's, 15+ lbs. 3-3.5 sounds just about right for a 12lbr but usually at a temp above 250. For your smoker temperature were you suing the WSM built in thermo? I dont trust mine and its never accurately worked, i use my Maverick Thermo to monitor internal smoker temp. You might have been cooking slightly higher then you thought, i would assume 30-40 degrees higher.

    I would wrap in a few layers of foil and put in a cooler and cover in towels...it'll keep warm for many hours. I've wrapped a turkey that was done for 3 hours in a cooler and it came out nice and hot and steamy!

    So no worries i'm sure its delicious!
    jchladek likes this.
  8. Good to know - thanks! 
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    jc, morning...... Smokers have a fair amount of air flow, which is important when smoking food, and thus they act somewhat like a convection oven and can cook faster than a "normal oven" like the one in the kitchen.... I would also check the therm in the smoker.... put it boiling water to see if it reads from 202-212.... depends on your elevation.... If your location was in your profile, I could give you a better number.....

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  10. I was using the Redi-Check wireless receiver that had a probe giving me the smoker temp in addition to the meat temp probe.  I've got it sitting in a cooler right now just as you described - thanks for the post.
  11. Located in the Kansas City area.  I'll test the thermometer, but it's fairly new so I sure hope that's not the issue.
  12. Hello fellow show-me stater!!

    I try to check my thermometers before I use them every time. I did a 20# bird yesterday @275 and mine only took 5 1/2 hours so yours doesn't seem too unreasonable to me??
  13. Sorry, Ryan - I'm on the KS side of the state line!
  14. Thanks to everyone for the input - when I pulled the bird out of the cooler for everyone to eat, it got great reviews and was very moist. Happy Thanksgiving!
  15. That's ok, I grew up in Wichita!!