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Old 07-19-2005, 01:15 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, 05:15 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, 07:08 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, 07:10 AM   #4
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(Larry takes a breath)
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Old 07-19-2005, 08:57 AM   #5
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Whew
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:58 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, 10:14 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, 10:18 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, 10:26 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, 10:44 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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Old 07-19-2005, 11:00 AM   #11
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Larry,

Do you wash the brine off or just let the turkey dry? :biggrin: :biggrin:
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddog27
Larry,

Do you wash the brine off or just let the turkey dry? :biggrin: :biggrin:
I pat it dry with some paper towels, that's it.
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:26 PM   #13
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When do you FOIL it? 8-[
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finney
When do you FOIL it? 8-[
Right before it goes into the brine! 8-[
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:00 PM   #15
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wouldn't help...I think that's how he got that way in the first place.
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:14 PM   #16
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Here's a turkey breast and whole turkey.



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Old 07-19-2005, 01:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Z
They look so good! I can't believe that beautiful skin could be inedible.
The skin tastes great, it's just got the texture of rubber. I guess it's like Smoked Turkey Skin Bubblegum! 8-[
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Old 07-19-2005, 04:44 PM   #18
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I've done brined and not brined poultry, I agree with Larry, I think brining makes it more tender and juicy and TexLaw pointed out the way it slices nice. Try a plain brine and a flavoured brine. I use one with apple juice, oranges, garlic, ginger, bay leaves ... etc

Cherry or Maple are very nice with poultry ... like Susan said, go easy on the smoke at first, especially if the bird is for others ... it doesn't take much with poultry

don't tie the wings and legs up tight to the body, sorta let it hang out ... helps prevent uncooked meat in the joint creases

I did a large bird (28.5 lbs) vertically in my WSM and I didn't like the way it turned out ... horizontal is better for big birds IMHO ... cook breast up, perhaps rotate and flip to breast down for the last 30 - 60 minutes ... seems to help cook the bird more evenly throughout

I like to buy fresh free range birds when I can get them ... I can't defend it but I just think they taste better and are more juicy than birds that have been clunking around the freezer for years ...

rest meat covered in foil is nice, but IF you had ANY crispy skin before you won't after ... your call
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexLaw
You can put the turkey in a very hot oven (or under the broiler) for a few minutes to crisp up the skin. You have to watch out that you don't overcook it, though. Honestly, I never expected much out of the skin on a smoked turkey, so I don't worry about it.

I also just pat dry after taking out of thr brine. I've never put a bird in the fridge to form a pellicle, but I've been quite happy with the amount of smoke I get.


TL
I agree Tex!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn White
I've done brined and not brined poultry, I agree with Larry, I think brining makes it more tender and juicy and TexLaw pointed out the way it slices nice. Try a plain brine and a flavoured brine. I use one with apple juice, oranges, garlic, ginger, bay leaves ... etc

Cherry or Maple are very nice with poultry ... like Susan said, go easy on the smoke at first, especially if the bird is for others ... it doesn't take much with poultry

don't tie the wings and legs up tight to the body, sorta let it hang out ... helps prevent uncooked meat in the joint creases
I did a large bird (28.5 lbs) vertically in my WSM and I didn't like the way it turned out ... horizontal is better for big birds IMHO ... cook breast up, perhaps rotate and flip to breast down for the last 30 - 60 minutes ... seems to help cook the bird more evenly throughout

I like to buy fresh free range birds when I can get them ... I can't defend it but I just think they taste better and are more juicy than birds that have been clunking around the freezer for years ...

rest meat covered in foil is nice, but IF you had ANY crispy skin before you won't after ... your call
Great points Shawn!
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Old 07-19-2005, 07:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan S
I like to do mine in an Apple honey brine. They come out really good.

I was ripped off !
Bryan, you uploaded thumbnails !
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