With encouragement from my BIL and his wife, I asked my MIL if she would "allow" me to help her out by smoking a turkey for the huge Thanksgiving feast that she cooks every year. I was surprised when she said yes, as she can't stand any sort of BBQ, spices, or smoke.
I did a trial run on saturday. It took a bit of looking to find a nonenhanced bird, but I eventually found a 15 lb bird at Kroger for $1.49 a lb. I selected PatioDaddios Ultimate Thanksgiving Brine
, and the bird came out too salty. I did some reading and found out that all kosher salt isn't equal, and for the thanksgiving day run cut the salt to 7.5 oz by weight (I was using Morton's Kosher Salt, so it was about half the amount used on the trial run bird). For Thanksgiving, I brined for 24 hours, and it was perfectly salted.
My MIL told me I needed to cook a 25 LB bird. I decided on two 15 LB birds, and last second decided to throw a 8 lb bone in breast into the mix. I've never loaded down the UDS this much, and at the time didn't know if I could get it all to fit on the top grate.
All photo's courtesy: Mark Rickert
Here I am with a last second attempt at icing the breasts of the whole birds. I decided to add the additional 8 LB breast an hour into the cook. I preheated the UDS to 400 degrees dome temp before putting on the birds.
Trying to decide how to put two turkeys on the top grate.
It fits! All that cold meat on there, the temp settled down, and it held 325-350 ...
All Done! Cook time 4 hours.
Cooling before carving. Let the picking begin.
Carving it up. The skin was perfect and crispy. That is until we had to wait 30 - 45 minutes on the last to arrive, and I had to pop the turkey in the oven to keep warm. Crispy to rubber in 20 minutes flat! Next year I will intentionally plan on the turkey getting done 30 minutes late!
The Consensus: I have a permanent job smoking the turkey every year.
Thanks to all of you on this awesome forum, I would have never done it with out you guys.
What's next? hopefully a brisket for saturday...