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Old 02-27-2010, 08:38 AM   #1
Chef Jim
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Default Help with turkey

OK, my wife thinks I'm a Pit Master cause my first butt was fantastic, and last night I made a Fatty.

She just volunteered me to smoke a turkey for some very good friends. She even went out last night and bought a 16 pounder so it would thaw by tonight.

Question is: What is a good rub, and how long will it take?

My butt was 7.5 pounds and it took 10 hours to hit 185. I figure I'm going to have to get up real early to have it ready by 6 PM tomorrow.

Many thanks in advance,

Jim
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:51 AM   #2
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Last time I smoked a turkey here was my process:

1.Rinse and Pat dry
2.Slide you hand under the skin of the breast to separate from the meat and add generous amounts of Parkay and fresh herbs under the skin: Marjoram, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary and Tarragon. (This will help keep the breast meat moist and will add load of flavor)
3. I usually apply evoo to the whole bird then rub inside and out with Lawry's seasoned salt and poultry seasoning. Add paprika for color if desired.
4. Once rubbed, I insert half full beer can into the carcass along with leftover herb stalks.
5. Run the smoker at temperature range of 220 degrees F to 240 degrees F. Usually 45 min per lbs. I usually use Cherry and Apple for turkey.
6. Should be done around 165-170 (White) 180 (Dark). I check the white and dark meat.
7. Allow to rest at least 20 mins

Good luck! I'm sure there's millions of ways to do this but this was my best product.

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Old 02-27-2010, 08:55 AM   #3
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IMHO Turkey's are about as easy/simple as a big chicken.
Being the neighborhood/family BBQ go to guy I got a ton of requests for smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. I hadn't done one in the big TS250 so we burned a load of fuel and did a test run before committing. It was simple, basic, poultry. Folks liked it enough they paid me to smoke 16 for Thanksgiving day, I had people come pick em up fresh and hot.

I dug threw online recipes, found basics on smoking/bbqing one, and rolled with it.

Let me say, I don't care for store bought, commercial smoked birds. They are usually pretty hammy and oversmoked for my tastes. I tried to produce something between smoked and roasted.

Basic KISS run down:

Smoker rolling around 240 degrees entire cook.
Totally thawed birds (get fresh if you can)
I used 14# birds, did NOT brine or marinade.
Pulled the bird, cleaned it up, filled (covered well) the interior with a poultry seasoning blend, lightly peppered the exterior, then sprayed down with Olive Oil so the skin might be more edible and brown up nicely.
Smoked/roasted at 240 Breast side down for the first 2 hours, then flipped.
Altogether the 14# bird only took about 5.5 hours to finish to 180 degrees.
Mild smokey flavor, tender, moist - pretty close to what I wanted (something between smoked and oven roasted)

I purposefully pulled birds when breast meat hit 170/175 as I knew the folks picking them up would take them home and throw them in their ovens til eating time. I recommended holding them at 200 in their oven for no more than 2 hours. I know from previous whole turkey smokes on other equipment that the pop-up timers don't always work right on smoked birds. I pulled and foiled the birds and loaded into covered foil pans with lids for my customers. Most of the folks said they held the birds hot in their oven at 200 for an hour or two and the pop up timer popped up just as they were pulling their birds to eat.

Got rave reviews, comments such as "best turkey we've ever had, we're coming to you next year"

So IMHO - keep it simple, season lightly - smoke a 12 to 15# bird between 4 to 6 hours, check internal temps for safe poultry eating.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Jim View Post
Question is: What is a good rub, and how long will it take?

My butt was 7.5 pounds and it took 10 hours to hit 185. I figure I'm going to have to get up real early to have it ready by 6 PM tomorrow.

Take into consideration that pork and beef cook times, to tenderize tough cuts, tends to take a lot longer than most poultry.
If you smoke a 14# turkey 10 hours it will be tough and dry.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:12 AM   #5
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Jim... Scroll ot the bottom of the page and use the google search down there and search for turkey. That only searches the Brethren ste and you get lots of good reading on how the gang does turkeys!

I do mine in the Egg at 275 - 300.

I brine my bird for about 24 hours in Smokin Okie's Holiday Turkey Brine. The recipe is in Russ' Turkey 101 on the Cookshack web site.

http://www.cookshack.com/turkey-101

About two hours before cooking I take mine out of the fridge, wash it, dry it thoroughly and let it sir dry. Then I place a gallon bag of ice cube on the breast and let that site for an hour. That way the breast is colder than the rest of the meat and it will be done at about the same time as the legs and thighs. Then I rub the whole bird with olive oil or butter (depends on my mood) and season it inside and out. I typically use salt, pepper, garlic and whatever fresh herbs I can get my hands on, especially sage, rosemary and time. I'll make a paste out of the herbs, olive oil or butter and the garlic and rub that inside and out. Then I stuff the cavity with chunks of apples, oranges carrots, onions and celery. Then the bird goes on a rack in a roasting pan and the pan is then filled with the same mix of veggies and fruit and I add in wine and water (or turkey stock) until it is just below the rack level.

This whole thing goes into the Egg (at 275 - 300) until the breast is at 155 and the thigh is at 165. Then I bring it in and put the bird on the cutting board under a tent of foil to rest for 20 minutes or so. The carry-over will typically bring the breast and thigh up another 10 degrees. Typical cook time at 275 is 20 - 25 minutes per pound.

Some of what I do is an adapted version of the Mad Max turkey method.

http://www.nakedwhiz.com/madmaxturkey.htm
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:12 AM   #6
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Wow, that's some good advice. You guys are good! And I wondered what that google thing was.

Form what you have told me about cooking times, I might be able to sleep in.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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Jim - you could also do a beer can turkey - get a can of Foster's lager, drink half, put some seasoning (cajun or anything you like) in the can. Rub the bird with the same seasoning. Fire around 250, put the bird up on the can using legs as tripod. 16# bird s/b done in 6-7 hours (bird temp 165-170 tops). You can start it early because when it's done it'll keep well wrapped in HD foil standing in a pan - if longer than 45mins you should wrap in a towel on top of foil and put it in a cooler, it'll keep there for a good two hours or more. Has to sit at least 1/2 hr after cook though.

I like this method cause you don't have to flip it or pay much attention to anything but your fire.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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I am not a big fan of brines, except for with Turkeys. Too me it makes a big difference in turkey, and it is well worth it.
I also iced the breast on the last one I did and it seemed to help the bird cook evenly.
Ron
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:06 AM   #9
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I have the best luck with smoking breasts, and/or leg quarters separately. I just get better doneness and never have a dry breast. In the last picture, I de-boned the thigh and tied it up. This makes slicing a real dream. I brine all of mine and also put seasonings under the breast skin.

One tip, and this applies to all barbecue... And don't get me wrong here, I'm sure the wife has your best interests at heart. If at all possible, do a test run first, especially when guests (or a give-away) are involved. Maybe this one could be for you guys and smoke a second one next weekend for your friends.

One of my favorite sayings is "Before you serve barbecue to a house full of guests or the preachers wife...practice, practice, practice".








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Old 02-27-2010, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcubed3r View Post
I am not a big fan of brines, except for with Turkeys. Too me it makes a big difference in turkey, and it is well worth it.
I also iced the breast on the last one I did and it seemed to help the bird cook evenly.
Ron
I will second that one. Every Thanksgiving I have cooked dinner for the family and always do one roasted one smoked. Everyone always loved the smoked turkey. The roasted was always brined for 24 hours, but for some reason I never brined the smoked one until this past year. WOW, what a difference. Let's just say there were no left overs.

For my brines, I use the simple 3 parts salt, 1 part sugar method and nothing else. For me, I've never found all those extra ingredients made much of a difference, so I like to KISS. So much so that I dont actually use a rub. The saltiness of the brine mixed with the smoke gives the meat a very nice flavor IMO that it needs nothing else.

Good Luck Jim! Let us know how you make out.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:13 AM   #11
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Wow, thirdeye, that looks incredible! Sure are making me hungry. Mine sure don't look like that!

You bring up a good point about separating the bird. I always buy just the breast for smoking myself and it comes out very moist. Brining also helps keep turkey very moist even when overcooked.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stallardmark View Post
Wow, thirdeye, that looks incredible! Sure are making me hungry. Mine sure don't look like that!

You bring up a good point about separating the bird. I always buy just the breast for smoking myself and it comes out very moist. Brining also helps keep turkey very moist even when overcooked.
Thanks for the kind words. Some of my brines are pretty simple too, but I do add some Tenderquick for a bit of the pink color and I think it tightens the texture a bit. (I hot smoke mine so the TQ is not there for any bacteria protection or anything like that)
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #13
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Great lookin stuff! and brining is always a good idea for Turkey and chicken, once you taste a brined bird you will be hooked. For my taste I like a lighter smoke and finish it off in the oven, When I smoke for too long it will turn out black when I finish it off in the oven. Just my 2 cents. Enjoy your bird.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:44 PM   #14
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Hey! are you a surgeon??? lol that looks cool.
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:18 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the input. To brine or not to brine, I've never been a big fan of brine, and have done birds both ways.

For this one, no brine and sorry but there is not enough time to do a test. These are good friends and have been my tasters many times so I'm not afraid of that

Still don't know what seasoning I will use but I'm going with a tried and true method. I use a flavor injector and inject the bird with my homemade chicken stock. It's less fat than butter or marg. and I know whats in it cause I made it. I'll let you all know the results probably late Sun. or Mon.
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