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tulsatkd 12-01-2012 02:51 PM

Quick Turkey Tutorial
]Sorry if this has been done before, but there have been a lot. of questions on smoking a turkey over the holidays, So here you go.

They say that it's best to use turkey that is between 13-15 lbs. Although I have smoked a 20 burd before, I do not recommend it because bacteria can build up before the bird reaches the proper temp. The danger zone is between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit.

When selecting a turkey, find one that has no stock added to it. If it says self basting it has stock added to it . Butterball has good birds, but they are self basting and overpriced.

The bird I have here is a 15 pound bird with no additives.

About 24 hours before you plan to cook the turkey place it in a brine. I wouldn't recommend brine for a self basting bird.

Around an hour before the bird goes on the pit, take it out of the brine and let it sit. Thoroughly rinse the bird and pat dry with a paper towel. It is important to get the skin dry if you want crispy skin after the cook.

Place a bag of Ice on the breast while it sits. Breast are done cooking at around 165 degrees, but the dark meat has to be cooked until it reaches 180. The ice pack will help the dark and white meat finish around the same time, this well help prevent the breast from becoming dry.

Minutes before you put bird on the pit, rub the bird with olive oil and season. Make sure you completely cover the bird with oil and seasoning getting underneath the legs and wings

Place thermometer in thigh and place the guy on the pit. At a temp of 300-350. Birds take in smoke really fast and there is not much fat to render, so you can cook Turkeys and Chickens at higher temps, plus the higher temps produce crispy skins. You also want to get the turkey out of the danger zone.

I use cheese cloth soaked in apple juice to help control the color o the bird. It is completely optional

Brinnned birds tend to cook a little faster. I can't give you a minute per pound estimation, but this 15 pound bird was done in just under 5 hours.

Don't let people still a sample before the picture is taken.

Once the bird is off the grill, wrap it in foil, cover with towels, and place in Ice chest for around an hour to rest

Hope this help somebody out there and happy holidays to all. And I apologize for any typos. Hard to type with a 1yr old in your lap.

Missmoke 12-01-2012 03:29 PM


Thanks so much for taking the time to document how to properly smoke a turkey. I appreciate the tip on making sure the dark meat has reached 180 F.

All the darn turkeys I could find this year were self/basting/injected birds. I wound up getting Kroger brand 15.5 lb bird that said it was seasoned in an 8% solution. After I defrosted the bird and removed the wrapper a ton of water drained out so I wonder how big this bird really was. Does the 8% solution refer to % of salt or weight? I think it is a real rip off that they inject the birds and then charge you the price of turkey for water. I didn't like all the needle holes left in the breast either.

Does anyone have any advice on finding non-injected birds?

tulsatkd 12-01-2012 04:18 PM

8% is the salt water content. I found mine at the local store, but a butcher should have them as well.

Mdboatbum 12-01-2012 05:30 PM

Looks good!! If you don't mind, I'll add a couple suggestions. Brine a day earlier and after removing from the brine, rinse, dry, sprinkle with kosher salt and put in the bottom back of the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours. This will dry the skin, tighten it up and coax proteins to the surface to aid in browning.
When smoking, wrap the ends of the legs and wings in foil to prevent over browning.
Thanks for posting this!!

tulsatkd 12-01-2012 08:01 PM

Thanks Md. I will definitely try the brine tip that next time. Hopefully this Christmas. I let the legs and wings get dark because, well I like burnt skin.

caliking 12-01-2012 08:50 PM

Nice thread - the quick and dirty to get that turkey done!

+1 for letting the bird dry in the fridge for a day after brining. For those in TX looking for unbrined/uninjected birds, HEB had them for 0.27/lb (went on sale 3 days later for 0.10/lb). If you have an injected bird, add less salt to your brine.

I think I'm going to go get another turkey and smoke after seeing your pics!

Missmoke 12-01-2012 09:49 PM

Taking the recommendations here I brined my prebrined bird for 24 hours using half the normal salt. Finished turkey was not over salted at all.

tulsatkd 12-01-2012 10:30 PM

Glad it worked out for you Missmoke.
Caliking I got mine from HEB aswell, and thanks for the reply

Missmoke 12-01-2012 10:40 PM

Thanks for the tip on HEB. We have a super huge store near by that I'll be checking out soon. :)

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