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BecknCO 11-17-2013 09:57 PM

How can I be 100% sure my smoked turkey won't taste like ham?
Hey guys and gals,

I'm pretty new to smoking, and sometimes my spatched chickens turn out tasting a little hammy with just rub and oversmoking them (usually hickory and sometimes a mix of hickory and applewood). Definitely my fault, as I'm still learning. I'm planning on doing the turkey on the OTS this year, and I just want to be 100% sure I am not going to screw this up and have it taste like ham.

My chica does not like the smoke profile of anything but hickory on poultry, and I think this in particular is what is making the birds a little hammy tasting ( I would prefer to just use applewood, but she thinks THAT is what makes it taste like him). Good grief :drama:

I'm scared of trying brining thinking that will exacerbate the problem with the salt/curing effect of the brine, so I just want to inject and use some kind of spicy rub/injection combo.

What can you masters of the thin blue suggest? :becky:

J'ville Grill 11-17-2013 10:16 PM

Well I wouldn't use hickory but it's sounds like your between a rock and a hard place.

Fwismoker 11-17-2013 10:18 PM

Ben sometimes less is this case meaning less smoke and less time in the smoke.

Try i simple rub, smoke at 325-350 as poultry doesn't need much time in smoke. Try dropping the hickory and just use a little apple... it's a mild smoke.

If it's enhanced just try smoking it and if it isn't then go ahead and brine. Hopefully the less is more approach will give you better results. :becky:

landarc 11-17-2013 10:28 PM

First off, start of with something other than a leg of pork... :-P

Seriously, Cut way back on the wood, poultry requires very little smoke, it takes it in just fine. Brineing is fine, use a proven brine recipe and go with that. Now, that being said, if the turkey has been enhanced, or injected, then you don't have to brine, it won't hurt it, but, it is a waste.

I also suggest a simple seasoning program. It is most likely the fact that you are going to heavy on the smoke. Also, I like to cook all poultry at or above 300F, 350°F is a good place to be.

BecknCO 11-17-2013 10:29 PM

Thanks guys - I think I'm just going to use a SINGLE fist size chunk of hickory and bury it in the coals. I'll definitely get an unenhanced bird, and want to inject. I'm also definitely plannng on the 325-350 range .

I was thinking of just melted butter with a little cayenne and old bay for the injection. What do you think about that, or will the salt from the old bay make it hammy?

landarc 11-17-2013 10:34 PM

I wouldn't worry about it

Okie Sawbones 11-17-2013 10:39 PM

Yes honey, I used hickory... (as I hide the apple wood chunks) :twisted:

Fwismoker 11-17-2013 10:39 PM

Ben it was probably the smoke and amount of time in the smoke that gave you that problems with the old bay imo....The butter sounds real good ))

What temps were you cooking at?

BecknCO 11-17-2013 10:54 PM


Originally Posted by Okie Sawbones (Post 2697264)
Yes honey, I used hickory... (as I hide the apple wood chunks) :twisted:


she would seriously beat my azz lol.

I think I'll shoot for 350 temp in the OTS, and if the skin somehow comes up rubbery due to my idiocy, I'll try and make some cracklins a la meathead :clap2::clap2:

grantw 11-17-2013 11:27 PM

Back way out on th wood, try using only lump charcoal on your next cook, then add very small amounts after you see what that tastes like.

BecknCO 11-17-2013 11:37 PM

That's a good call with just some good lump - plenty of smoke from that as is. I usually use RO lump for grilling and I think I might have enough. I was planning on doing a mix of that and stubbs briqs but maybe I will just do lump and see what happens.

It seems the general consensus is that it's the damn oversmoking that's causing the ham taste and not the spices in the rub or injection - do I have that right?

Bludawg 11-17-2013 11:44 PM

Start out low like 180 for two hrs with 1 chunk of hickory then dump a 1/2 chimney of lump and a 1/2 chimney of lit lump open the intake and let it finish.

bbqgeekess 11-18-2013 01:37 AM


Originally Posted by J'ville Grill (Post 2697243)
Well I wouldn't use hickory but it's sounds like your between a rock and a hard place.

I just use apple wood for everything--it all tastes good no matter I cook with it and it keeps things simple. Got two 10lb bags of apple wood for $7.99 a bag at Ace Hardware today :) Sale is going on to late December I believe.

chambersuac 11-18-2013 02:28 AM

While I would use Apple or Cherry wood, I think you should use hickory, but only a title. If your lady likes it, you wanna please her, huh? The above advice to cook hot and fast with little smoke is your best bet. If you brine, DON't OVER-BRINE. Relax and enjoy your Q. Post pics if you can.

sliding_billy 11-18-2013 02:28 AM

No brining (if already enhanced) or injecting. Cook hot and fast so that it takes on as little smoke as possible. White oak for the wood. Try to find a charcoal that does not overpower the meat. No ham profile when cooking with just splits IMO, but that is not an option.

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