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Old 07-19-2005, 12:15 AM   #1
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Smoking a Turkey

My Brother in Law is giving me his smoker. He does metal work and built himself a nice offset smoker. He wants to build himself a new one and to get himself motivated he is giving his old one to me. So now that I have a smoker that will hold a lot of meat my dream of doing some catering could become a reality. My wife and I were talking about this and we thought that smoking some turkeys for people around Thanksgiving might be one way to make some extra money. The only problem is, turkey is something I have yet to smoke. So I thought I would ask for any recipes, tips and tricks for smoking a turkey. Any input would be greatly appreciated. I have lots of time to practice!! :biggrin: :biggrin:
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Old 07-19-2005, 04:15 AM   #2
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Larry is the Turkey Smoking King. =D>
Talk to him.

He's an Ass :-X , but you have to suffer for your ART.
All kidding a side. He can, and will help you.
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finney
Larry is the Turkey Smoking King. =D>
Talk to him.

He's an Ass :-X , but you have to suffer for your ART.
All kidding a side. He can, and will help you.
Gee Finney thanks for the kind words.....I think? #-o

Dog,
I gotta lotta flack that last time I said you must brine a turkey, so I'm not gonna say you must brine a turkey for a good finished product. What I will say though, is this. "IMO" a brined turkey will come out very moist and will let you cook to a higher doneness (if you prefer) without drying out, than an unbrined turkey will. Again, just my opinion. Becareful when choosing your turkey if you decide to brine. If it's a turkey that already contains a "solution", adjust the amount of salt you use in your brine. If I use a turkey that has been injected and the sodium is less than 300mg, I'll use my standard brine recipe. If it's more than 300mg, I'll adjust the amount of salt in my brine.

Another thing, there's two different ways people smoke turkeys. Either over a medium high heat (275-325) or low and slow (225-250). It's not necessary to cook a turkey low and slow, because it doesn't have the fat and the connective tissues other pieces of meat that you typically cook low and slow do. However, I cook them low and slow because that's the way I like them. The only draw back I've found from cooking them low and slow is the skin turns out pretty chewy and not very palatable IMO.

One more piece of advice, if you get a turkey with the "pop up timer", take it out of the bird before you cook it. They're garbage and do not work, and if it were to work it's set to go off at 180* in the breast, which IMO is over done for a turkey breast. I pull my turkeys off the cooker when the breast is between 165*-170* and the thigh is 180*. I then loosely tent with aluminum foil, the internal temperature will continue to climb a couple degrees during this time. If you plan to eat the bird that day, let it rest at least 20 minutes before slicing. I've found the turkey is even better if you let it rest and cool, and then wrap it up tight and let it rest in the refridgerator overnight. It kinda matures overnight and is even better the next day.
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:10 AM   #4
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Old 07-19-2005, 07:57 AM   #5
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Whew
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Old 07-19-2005, 08:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyspoon
"Turkey Master" Larry sez: The only draw back I've found from cooking them low and slow is the skin turns out pretty chewy and not very palatable IMO.

I wonder if you could start the bird in the smoker and finish it off in an oven to crisp the skin. Does this sound reasonable? I'd like to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, and I love me some crispy turkey skin!
Tommy, I guess you could. I haven't tried it, but I do know some folks just recently were talking about smoking a bird partially and then finishing in the deep fryer. I haven't tried that method either, but I may try soon. I normally don't eat the skin anyways, so it's not really a big deal for me. If you try the oven method, tell us how it turned out.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Z
Just cook the bird at a higher temp the whole time and you'll get great skin. Well, I'm not sure if you'll get great skin if you brine, but perhaps you still do. Poultry takes smoke so easily, you really don't need to go low and slow. In fact, go easy on the smoke wood! And use something mild and delicious like cherry or peach.
Hmmmmm, that sounds familiar???? Oh, that's right I STATED THAT IN MY PREVIOUS POST! :vent:
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Wolfe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finney
Larry is the Turkey Smoking King. =D>
Talk to him.

He's an Ass :-X , but you have to suffer for your ART.
All kidding a side. He can, and will help you.
Gee Finney thanks for the kind words.....I think? #-o

Dog,
I gotta lotta flack that last time I said you must brine a turkey, so I'm not gonna say you must brine a turkey for a good finished product. What I will say though, is this. "IMO" a brined turkey will come out very moist and will let you cook to a higher doneness (if you prefer) without drying out, than an unbrined turkey will. Again, just my opinion. Becareful when choosing your turkey if you decide to brine. If it's a turkey that already contains a "solution", adjust the amount of salt you use in your brine. If I use a turkey that has been injected and the sodium is less than 300mg, I'll use my standard brine recipe. If it's more than 300mg, I'll adjust the amount of salt in my brine.

Another thing, there's two different ways people smoke turkeys. Either over a medium high heat (275-325) or low and slow (225-250). It's not necessary to cook a turkey low and slow, because it doesn't have the fat and the connective tissues other pieces of meat that you typically cook low and slow do. However, I cook them low and slow because that's the way I like them. The only draw back I've found from cooking them low and slow is the skin turns out pretty chewy and not very palatable IMO.

One more piece of advice, if you get a turkey with the "pop up timer", take it out of the bird before you cook it. They're garbage and do not work, and if it were to work it's set to go off at 180* in the breast, which IMO is over done for a turkey breast. I pull my turkeys off the cooker when the breast is between 165*-170* and the thigh is 180*. I then loosely tent with aluminum foil, the internal temperature will continue to climb a couple degrees during this time. If you plan to eat the bird that day, let it rest at least 20 minutes before slicing. I've found the turkey is even better if you let it rest and cool, and then wrap it up tight and let it rest in the refridgerator overnight. It kinda matures overnight and is even better the next day.
I have some questions! do you have a brine recipe that you use? Do you wash the brine off when you are done brining or do you just dry the turkey? I have also seen others cover the turkey in olive or veg oil before they smoke it. Why is that?

:biggrin: :biggrin:
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:26 AM   #9
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I found this recipe from Alton Brown.

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004
Show: Food Network Specials
Episode: All Star Thanksgiving

1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7-pound) bag of ice
1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.

Heat the grill to 400 degrees F.

Using a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, build a smoke bomb. Place a cup of hickory wood chips in the center of the foil and gather up the edges, making a small pouch. Leave the pouch open at the top. Set this directly on the charcoal or on the metal bar over the gas flame. Set the turkey over indirect heat, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, and set the alarm for 160 degrees F. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour.

After 1 hour check the bird; if the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking. Also, after 1 hour, replace wood chips with second cup.

Once the bird reaches 160 degrees F, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Carve and serve.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:44 AM   #10
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Brine Recipe

10-15lb Turkey

2 gallons of cold water, plus a little extra to fully cover the bird
2 cups Kosher Salt
1 cup White Sugar

16-20+ lb turkey

3 gallons of cold water, plus a little extra to fully cover the bird
3 cups Kosher Salt
2 cups White Sugar

Mix water w/ salt and sugar until dissolved add any herbs or spices you like. Let brine overnight, approx. 12 hours or longer.

The oil is to help "golden" and "crisp" the skin.
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