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Will a rub of sage, garlic, pepper ect. clash with smoke flavor on a turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bbqandfootball, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. I was thinking about trying a rub consisting of traditional Thanksgiving flavors, ideally sage or poultry seasoning with some other basic stuff like salt, pepper, garlic ect.

    But I'm worried that if I don't use a more traditional "BBQ" based rub (paprika, chili powder, cumin), that maybe the smoke flavor won't pair well with the sage/poultry seasoning flavor.

    I've smoked several turkeys, always using either a BBQ rub, or just salt and pepper. The turkey will be served at my in-laws, and several of them don't like the BBQ flavor on turkey. There will however be other turkey served there, so it's not like mine will be all that is offerred. Plain old roasted turkey will be served as well.

    But I'm curious how a sage flavored bird will taste when smoked. Personally, I love sage in dressing and on roasted turkey.

    Any experience with a Thanksgiving flavored rub?

  2. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I've smoked a few turkeys like this, just don't use a strong wood like mesquite, I use apple, maple or even pecan if I'm not looking for a strong smoky flavor
  3. pineywoods

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

    I use Sage, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and it doesn't seem to compete with the wood flavor as long as the sage or the smoke is not over done. I have tried a couple of the Poultry Rubs but haven't really found one we like. I rarely use a traditional BBQ rub when doing Turkeys
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Turkeys don't need any of the red seasonings .(unless you have to add a lil cayanne)

    Herbs , salt and cbp. I don't even like garlic on my turkey.

    What i am saying is for seasoning the bird. You can use whatever you want in the brine
  5. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think anything other than bbq spices will be good. This is the season for the harvest so herbs will do well with breads, white meat, white wine etc. Don't be to concerned about the smoke flavor, the first turkeys weren't cooked in a conventional oven my friend, they were roasted over a fire or in a wood-fired brick oven.

    The turkey will take some time so this is where the lightest of smoke will be plenty. Remember, if you can smell the smoke, you are cooking with it. Don't give  in to adding wood at the 5 hour mark because the smoke ran clear..
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Love me some herb smoked turkey! I usually mix my dry herbs and kosher salt with a stick of melted butter then rub it all over and under the turkey skin, gives it a nice herb flavor without being overpowering.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    The only thing that I think that those spices will do is make the bird taste to me that is. Run with it and let us know. 
  8. The Pilgrams didn't have ovens?!?!?!? You mean my school teachers were lying to me?!? Lol, just kidding Pit 4 Brains.

    This isn't the first time my family or I have had smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. We've had it many times in fact. I'm just trying to tone down the BBQ flavor in the spirit of the holidays for a few of them with mild pallets, yet still have the smoked flavor, which they love.

    Hence trying to decide if smoked meat will go well with traditional roasted turkey herbs.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  9. carson627

    carson627 Smoke Blower

    Why not add some dried herbs in with your wood when you smoke?  They should smoke too and should add flavor I would think.
  10. native

    native Fire Starter

    Good idea! I've not used them that way before because I thought they would burn up too fast in a regular smoke box.  Now I'm wondering if you added some here and there in the A-Maz-N Smoker what the effect would be. [​IMG]
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you want the aroma, take whole stalks of fresh herbs and tie them together in a bouquet. Put that inside the cavity of the bird with nothing else. Works like a charm.
    dgross likes this.
  12. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

  13. Not sure burning herbs would taste that well. Herbs, particularly fresh herbs, tend to get very bitter when burned. Kinda like garlic does.

    But a bouquet of herbs in the cavity of the turkey sounds like a good idea.

    I may just season the outside of the bird with salt, pepper and chopped garlic, as well as some EVOO. Then throw a bunch of fresh sage inside. maybe a cut up apple and onion in there also.
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have found melting some butter mixed with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and poultry seasoning then rubbing that all under and over the skin gives you a great herbed turkey
    dgross likes this.
  15. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Thats all I use is citrus and T-Day herbs. The rest of the year is for concoctions. :)
  16. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Little bit of sage goes a long way,I use EVOO all over the bird the rub with salt and pepper,garlic and light rosemary.But i usually inject mine,have never brined anything before.just might have to try.Good luck bro....
  17. Thanks for all of the input guys. I'm gonna go with the traditional sage/poultry seasoning flavor and see what happens.
  18. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I like the idea of using sage, might to try it. Traditionally, I use fresh rosemary and pepper. Crush it a little to release the oils of the rosemary and add it to a couple of sticks of room temp. butter- rubbed under the skin and on the skin, smoke with apple wood.

    Yum, yum!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  19. nette

    nette Newbie

    After looking at HerkySprings link to the brine & rub, that is my choice for this year's bird.  Mission accomplished htis morning -- Thanks for sharing.