What Wood to use for Turkey? Time?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by sescoyote, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. sescoyote

    sescoyote Fire Starter

    I am gearing up for this weekends Turkey Smoke. I have 2 13 pound Turkeys, one for smoking and one for deep frying (I am trying to please everyone!). I plan on using Hickory and Pecan for the smoked one but after thinking about it, if I am only keeping the bird on the smoker for 3-4 hours until the temp gets to 165 degrees, shouldn't I use a wood with a more pronounced smokey taste like Mesquite? What are your thoughts?

    If I have a 13 pound bird, what should my smoker temp be set at for a 3.5-4 hour smoke?

  2. ldrus

    ldrus Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    i am using Hickory and cherry with my bird and go breast side down
  3. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like to use just cherry, for 2 reasons:
    1.) Poultry will take in smoke easily and you can over smoke them really quick. Cherry, like most of the fruit trees apply a light smoke.
    2.) The cherry will give you a nice deep red color on the bird's skin.

    Can't help you on the time, too many variables. Just cook it to 155 in the deepest muscle. Then pull and tent until it caries up to and slightly over 160.
  4. sescoyote

    sescoyote Fire Starter

    I live in the southwest so cherry wood isn't as available as some of the other woods, although I would like to try that some day on smaller sized poultry like chicken or game hens. I think I will start off with mesquite or hickory for the 1st hour and then go with the milder pecan for the next couple of hours with a splash of mesquite mixed in.
  5. torkey

    torkey Newbie

    Im gonna be experimenting this week too lol...I think im going to try a mix of pecan and apple
  6. bbqhead

    bbqhead Smoking Fanatic

    hickory or pecan, both good choices. temps MUST be 165* in the breast,175* in the thigh to be in the safe zone. good luck!
  7. luvdatritip

    luvdatritip Smoke Blower

    From what I've heard and read, red oak & your choice of fruitwood are good choices, if they're available in your area.
  8. Red or white oak work really well. Apple as well. I would be concerned about using Mesquite as it is a really strong flavor.
  9. sescoyote

    sescoyote Fire Starter

    I have Hickory, Mesquite and Pecan so I can use a combination of either those 3. Would an hour of mesquite be too much? I've always had good results with mesquite, just don't over do it. If I left the turkey on for 4 hours and had nothing but mesquite in there, then yes I would agree with you that it will have a strong smokey taste. If I use mesquite for only an hour I don't think it will be as strong. I guess the only way to find out is to dive in!
  10. I've gotten tons of great information from everyone here which has provided me a good jumping point, but in the end it is always the doing where I learn the most, from my mistakes, failures, and triumphs.

    If I was doing the smoke with those 3 woods, I would go heavier on the Pecan, lighter on the Hickory and Mesquite. Just MHO.

    Good luck with it and come back with Qview and results [​IMG]
  11. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I love the combination of pecan with a touch of hickory, it smells wonderful while burning.
    Personally I stay away from mesquite but both mesquite and hickory are very heavy flavors and pecan is very light so use caution with the heavier woods.
  12. Are you following me Fire? 3rd post you've responded to right after me [​IMG]
  13. evo 9 guy

    evo 9 guy Smoke Blower

    I did a Turkey as a test run a couple of weekends ago and all I used was Apple wood for flavor and coals for heat. Came out really good. Used a honey glaze on the skin and then about halfway through the cook started injecting the honey glaze in the bird as well. Came out extrodinary. Hands down the best Turkey I have even eaten.
  14. treegje

    treegje Master of the Pit

    I smoke my turkey with oak or hickory
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well the first thing is what woods do you have availble to you. I like to use apple and I do use apple but I have alot about 15-18 at my fingertips. If I could give you the wood I would use apple with alittle hickory thrown in. So theres my pennies.
  16. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    3/4 pecan and 1/4 red oak for me...........
  17. okie joe

    okie joe Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Of what you have pecan......is my go to wood here,,,,,I have a lot of cured pecan.....apple and cherry is very nice on cluck.....hickory on Moo and pecan or apple on pork but just my two coppers.....Have mesquite but I use a few splits or some chunks,,,,little goes a long way for wife...and she was from West Central Texas...lol
  18. Coyote, you and I must think alike. 2 birds for me, too. Trying to keep the family happy. Smoked some fatties for the AR vs MS State game last weekend. Everything turned out just right. The fatties were good, too. LOL.
    I have one potential problem with the birds my wife picked up at the store. They are pre-injected, or soaked, or something with an 8% solution. Does anyone know if that will make my brined bird too salty. I was going to use a brine recipe that includes a gallon of water to 1 cup of kosher salt. If the bird is already semi-brined, should I cut the salt in half? Any help would be greatly appreciated. This will be my first smoked turkey, and I don't want to screw it up.
    Thanks in advance.
  19. Glass hog, I too had this question and the answer for already injected birds is to cut back on the salt. It's best to use kosher salt, not table salt, and the bird I brined and smoked for my trial run turned out great. Not too salty. Got that info. from these threads.
  20. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Personal choice is hickory, I like a heavier smoke. The customers birds get apple er maple round here.

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