You created a monster, now help !!!

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jul 11, 2007
That's right, a monster has been created and it is partly the fault of a lot of great people on this forum. My wife of 45 years doesn't want to cook anymore since I started smoking. Now she wants a smoked whole turkey for the weekend and I've never done one so it's back to the SMF.

(1) I have a 13lb whole turkey. Is it better to use a dry rum or brine and what would be a good receipe. Can I use the same rub I do for ribs and brisket?

(2) Should it be injected and if so, with what.

(3) I figured on smoking it at about 300 to 325 degrees for about 3 hours or till inside is 165 to 170. Is that about right?

Anyone out there that has done whole turkeys please give me some hints and tell me what works best. I've heard it is hard to keep skin from getting rubbry. What's the best way to do it. Remember, if you get tired of me asking so many questions, it's your fault. If you all hadn't been so much help with the beef and pork, my wife wouldn't know what good food tastes like and wouldn't be yelling for more. lol.

Mike S.

I've only done whole turkey breasts, not a whole turkey but some of this may still apply.

I always brine the bird. The meat is so moist and juicy it's hard not to every time.

I usually brine it for at least 4 hours but you could do it overnight in a mix of

kosher salt
maple syrup
orange juice

I use either a turkey bag or 2xl ziploc bag. You may need to use a larger ziploc for a whole bird.

Rinse it off very well, pat it dry. Some people will season it with butter and herbs. Work them up under the skin without tearing it. I don't do this step.

From what other's have told me there is no benefit to going low and slow with a bird. The meat isn't tough and their is little internal fat to render so you can go to 300 -325 and reduce the cooking time and the skin will come out crispier.

You can also stuff the cavity with some cut up fruit like oranges and fresh herbs or slice an orange and lay it on top of the breast.

Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
LOL, I just did a 14# turkey today, just came off the smoker.

Mine was in a "solution" already so I did not brine. I rubbed it w/ olive oil, then threw on some spices, no salt. Cajun, garlic, onion, what ever I had near by. I spatchcocked it and smoked it for about 6.5 hrs at 225, then uped the temp to 300 for the last hour. I took the legs to 175, yanked them off and took the breast to the same temp. Haven't tried the breast yet, but the legs were very good and juicy. Nieces and kids, and wife, all really liked it.......then they had to go to Bible school. The breast is still resting, along w/the other leg.

My skin was nice and rubbery, took it off the leg that was eaten and it went to the cats. We aren't big on the skin, crispy or not.

I smoked it w/mesquite and had a nice smoke flavor and a nice pink about 1/2" into the meat.

Wife buys them every once in a while as she really likes turkey.

Good stuff

Allow 1/2 hr per #, or more.

Good luck! Keep the questions comming.
I'm getting the brine ready and gonna give it a shot. It is really great that total strangers will take the time to help newbys like me but the people here on SMF do it, time and time again. When all our kids, their spouses and the grandkids show up we are talking about 20 mouths to feed. In the past my wife would have to kill herself in the kitchen to feed the crew. Smoking works so much better because I can do a lot of it instead of her. It's a tough job for Jack and I (that's Jack Daniels) to sit out on the deck and manage the smoker but someone has to do it. Toward the end of the smoke I can put in a big pan of baked beans and some corn on the cob which pretty well takes care of the meal and Momma has more time to enjoy the grandkids. I've even learned how to do those whap on the counter biscuits in the smoker and they ain't bad.

Thanks again to all.

Mike S.
Hey Debi, your site is just amazing. Where did you get all this knowledge? You just ain't old enough to be that smart!
I did about 3 years of research before I ever started smoking at home and I grew up on a farm where we did lots of this sort of thing all the time. Especially making sausage. I've always loved making new sausages since I was just a kid!
I hear ya there Debi. I have shoveled(sp?) lots of cow **** and horse **** in my life too. But, this being Montana, smoking was un known except for cold smoked salmon. Thats what got me hooked at 10 years old. Now, 110 years later, I have found, BBQ! Life is good!
Glad to hear that yoou got the fever! Turkey is the very first thing I smoked, and my favorite thing as well.
I don't mess with brining due to my salt intake issue. We usually pick up a Butterball and they always come out moist. When just my wife and me, we go for a Butterball boneless breast. Rub and inject. Great
Flash Honey did you ever notice that butterballs are brined? They use a different word but there's plenty of salt. Be careful! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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