Author Topic: Turkey  (Read 6845 times)

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Offline Steve

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Turkey
« on: December 17, 2004, 08:17:53 AM »
I want to try smoking a turkey for Christmas dinner. I read Randy's post about smoking at 325 degrees F, but my smoker maxes out at 250 degrees F. Since I've never done poultry in a smoker before, are there handling issses that I need to be aware of? What is the optimum smoking temp? And how long can I expect the bird to be in the cooker?




Offline DKM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2004, 03:29:21 PM »
Like all things BBQ, people disagree on how to smoke a bird. A friend of mine follows the directions below from the BBQ FAQ:

BTW I have had some of his turkey and it was quite good.

Credit the BBQ FAQ at: http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/faq2/10-7.html#10.5

Early in the morning of the big "turkey" day, take the thawed turkey out of wrapper, remove neck, gizzard, and liver from cavity of turkey and set aside. You would be surprised how many barbecuers have forgotten and left this inside the bird! Wash the bird thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Remove plastic pop-up thermometer if installed as they don't work. Never trust a pop-up thermometer when smoking a turkey. It will "pop-up" before the bird is done, and get you into trouble.

I like to rub turkey all over with a good olive oil, or liquid vegetable oil. Then, I like to use a good rub which I hand-rub all over the turkey. I prefer to use white pepper vs. black in my turkey rub for black pepper on fowl can appear to look dirty when bird is smoked. Next, fire up the smoker, and when internal temperature in the smoker is around 240F place bird on the smoker, breast-side up.

I aim for a cooking temperature range of 240-250F during the entire smoking process. Every hour or two, take a basting brush and reapply some oil. This helps to keep the skin from becoming dry and tough, plus promotes a nice golden color.

The most difficult part for people who don't smoke a lot of turkeys, is knowing when they are done. For me, this is easy for I have done thousands. On the average, a 12-15 pound bird takes about 6 hours, a 16-20 pound bird can take up to 8 hours. There are no set number of hours per pound for turkeys, for they are not like all other whole meats. Some are just more tender than others even before they are cooked. Here's how I know when my birds are done. I never use a thermometer. I simply "shake-hands" with the drum stick. When it shakes easily and is loose all the way into the thigh-joint, I know it's done. I can also feel the thigh with my hands and can tell when the bird is ready to take off. It will be very soft and tender. I realize this is very challenging for most of you, but once you learn this technique, it is a sure-fire way of knowing when your bird is done. Knowing that this will take practice, I recommend you use a thermometer until you have mastered this technique.

During last year's turkey smoking season, I purposely used a thermometer a few times to give the guys on the List an idea of what temperature I was taking my birds off using my "shake-hands" method. With the thermometer applied deep into the thigh, it was generally reading about 180F. Caution must be taken when using a thermometer. You cannot hit a bone or gristle with the tip of thermometer for it will not give you a true reading. Don't use a thick-stemmed meat thermometer that you find in most grocery stores. I used a long, skinny-stemmed thermometer that reads from 0-220F (Editor--like the probe on a Polder or Sunbeam digital thermometer). This type of thermometer is much easier to use when trying to probe a turkey, plus some can be calibrated. After the bird is done, remove it from smoker, let cool a bit, slice and enjoy.
Just how many boards can I be on anyways.

Offline Steve

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2004, 09:16:04 AM »
Thanks, Deven! I can smell that turkey a'smokin already!!  :)

Offline DKM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2004, 08:36:29 PM »
Make sure to take pictures of the process.  It could be a start for some web pages here.  I hope to do a brisket for again at New Year if the weather holds. If I can take the pictures and type some stuff up, we might get this site ready for the spring time.

DKM
Just how many boards can I be on anyways.

Offline DKM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2004, 12:58:48 PM »
So how did it go Steve?

DKM
Just how many boards can I be on anyways.

cmmull

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 05:25:58 PM »
Steve,

How did the turkey turn out?  I smoked one for the first time this Christmas as well.  It came out awesome.  Even my wife, who swore smoked turkey was terrible, went back for seconds....I think I may make it a Christmas tradition.




Offline Steve

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 07:53:34 AM »
No smoked turkey for me this year.  :(

Instead, we decided to go the smoked pork butt route. After all, we had roated turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and we weren't really in the mood for more turkey, smoked or not.

So, I defrosted a butt and smoked it for 9 hours. It turned out awesome, one of my best yet.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 28, 2004, 08:25:41 AM by Steve »

Offline DKM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2004, 05:22:18 PM »
'Sniff' :'(

I was so looking forward to the story.....
Just how many boards can I be on anyways.

Offline Randy

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2005, 08:50:06 AM »
Try a whole chicken Steve.  As far as handling goes, get a pair of neoprene gloves from the harware store.  After you use then wash them just like you are washing your hands.
On your smoker, since the air movement is so much less than a wood burner 225 to 250 would work just fine.

Just found out the system loged me out so every time I checked for new post the opening page showed none.

Randy
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 08:54:18 AM by Randy »

Offline masspi

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2006, 09:24:39 AM »
I have smoked about 20 to 25 birds over the years using a charcoal smoker.  Never had one come out bad.  Nice pink color of the meat and golden brown (use that olive oil rub.....the better the oil, the nicer the color).  I only rub with salt and pepper.  The guests at my home usually pick it down to bones.

I also do a lot of deep fried Turkey.  I find that the "Hotel Style" works the best for me. Did one the other night and after the battle of the skin, everone enjoyed the meat.

I plan on doing 1 smoked bird and two deep fried for Thanksgiving this year.  My family and friends just love both.

As far as the smoker.........I am a charcoal guy and will never change.  The flavor is there........I do have a source for fruit wood and have used Apple, Pear and Peach, all with their own distinct flavor.  Hickory is most preferred though.

This year my Wife and I hosted an annual outing for her Club and instead of the usual hot dogs and hamburgers, we did two deep fried birds (12 pounds average)...........everyone just loved it.

I would always be interested in trying some smoking and deep fried rub recipes if you could post them.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 02:25:35 PM »
Currently favorite way to make turkey:

- Debone completely (use bones to make rich stock for gravy).
- Smoke at @325F. This 16-pound deboned bird took about 3 hours. I smoke it in a dish to reduce smokiness for a light smoke flavor.

We had this today for a pre-Mothers' Day feast for family. Served with mushroom dressing.

Offline Steve

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2017, 04:25:56 PM »
Looks great, I need to make one of those!




Offline Randy1

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2017, 06:52:59 AM »
Fine looking bird.  What was your wood choice?

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2017, 02:56:05 PM »
Fine looking bird.  What was your wood choice?

Thanks, Randy. I'm sure to be a contrarian on this subject, but I really don't think the choice of wood in most cases makes much difference. I run a small, hot fire with thin blue smoke. I've used many kinds of wood and by the time the meat hits the plate, I really don't sense a difference. Fish might be an exception and as well as very strong woods such as mesquite. These days I use pecan logs in the pit as well as the WFO.   

Offline Randy1

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Re: Turkey
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2017, 05:35:56 PM »
Thanks, Randy. I'm sure to be a contrarian on this subject, but I really don't think the choice of wood in most cases makes much difference. I run a small, hot fire with thin blue smoke. I've used many kinds of wood and by the time the meat hits the plate, I really don't sense a difference. Fish might be an exception and as well as very strong woods such as mesquite. These days I use pecan logs in the pit as well as the WFO.

That is a solid statement.   It is especially true with an open pit and or higher cooking temperatures.