BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Smoking Techniques => Hot Smoking and Barbecuing => Topic started by: Me_Like_Meat on October 03, 2006, 10:08:03 AM

Title: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 03, 2006, 10:08:03 AM
Hi folks,

I've been off this forum a while, but with summer pretty much packed away in the closet the smoker has been getting a lot more use.

Okay.. sorry if this is already covered somewhere on this forum, but I would like to smoke a whole small turkey this weekend, about 12 pounds.

Here's what I have in mind.. brining for ?? 15-20 hours, dry rubbing inside and out with some conconction, then smoking at ?? 200-220 ?? or so for several hours (until internal temp is on spec) with one or a combo of apple/pecan/maple, then FTC for an hour or so.

Oh yes, I also wonder if I should pop it on the grill for a bit after to perk up the skin, or is that necessary? That is my standard practice for chicken parts of course, but have no hands-on experience with turkey. I have a Weber kettle grill next to the smoker ready to assist in the process. (It doesn't get much better than sitting on the deck admiring/smelling the grill or smoker doing it's thing with a cool one in hand, does it?)

And one other thing - if I cannot fit it horizontally on one of the lower racks (I;d use the second one I think) is it a sensible idea to smoke it vertically? If so, open end down or up? Hey.. I could put a can of beer up it;s butt and smoke it that way. Hmmm.

Any advice you can give me before I screw this up and serve glue-flavored shoe-leather to my family? :P

Thanks! Hope your replies are shorter than my questions, so you don't burn out your wrists!

Mike
 
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 03, 2006, 02:18:11 PM
Your pretty much on track there Mike. I do a lot of turkeys. Keep the weight down to around 12 to 15 pounds max.
I only brine them overnight say 8 hours. After that the brine isn't going to do much else except make the bird mushy.
Use one of the poultry brines in the recipe forum.
Temp at no more than 215 F.
You can do the beer can thing or not. It turns out great either way.
Pull it 5 to 8 degrees below target because it will keep on cooking a bit.
Careful pulling it out of the smoker if you do it horz. though. The cavity fills up with juices and that is one hot bath to take when it spills on you.
Any of the sweeter woods pare well with poultry.
Ann likes me to finish the bird off in a very hot oven after the FTC to crisp the skin up.
Hope this helps out.
Have a great meal!!! ;D
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Habanero Smoker on October 03, 2006, 02:25:02 PM
Like Iceman already stated, the plan looks good.

I'm in the minority on this, but I feel that there is no reason to FTC poultry, especially poultry with skin on. I feel that tightly wrapping the poultry in aluminum foil only creates a steam bath for the poultry and makes the texture of the skin worse.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: BigSmoker on October 03, 2006, 02:37:29 PM
Like Iceman already stated, the plan looks good.

I'm in the minority on this, but I feel that there is no reason to FTC poultry, especially poultry with skin on. I feel that tightly wrapping the poultry in aluminum foil only creates a steam bath for the poultry and makes the texture of the skin worse.
I agree.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 03, 2006, 03:51:53 PM
Makes sense to me. The dryer the skin is kept the crisper it can get. Good idea. I think at the most next time I'm just going to let it sit lightly tented for a short time then into the oven to crisp. :)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Vampyr on October 03, 2006, 10:43:58 PM
Yummy sounds good to me!  I am gonna have to try a test chicken before i upgrade to turkey.  Sounds great tho.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 04, 2006, 09:50:36 AM
I only brine them overnight say 8 hours. After that the brine isn't going to do much else except make the bird mushy.
Use one of the poultry brines in the recipe forum.
Temp at no more than 215 F.
Have a great meal!!! ;D

Thanks so much to all for your replies.

I am curious about the short brining time. An article I read recently by a chef who obviously digs brining, said that a day was about minimum. He explained that by brining for less time, you only get to the part where the salt draws moisture out of the meat, but that the reverse process of infusion with the brine doesn't have a chance to go on.

Now, if you guys have hands-on experience that says otherwise, hey I'm good to go with that.

It might make just as much sense for me to crisp it up in the oven as the grill. Or more.. less trouble certainly.

I am drooling already..
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 04, 2006, 11:11:07 AM
I forgot to mention that when I brine I inject brine into the bird all over then submerse it. That explains the shorter brine time. Also depending on the acidity, and salt amount in the brine your times will vary somewhat. :)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Habanero Smoker on October 04, 2006, 02:08:20 PM
You also need to consider the weight of the turkey. The larger the bird, the more time you need to brine. When I brine a 12 pound turkey, I don't brine more then 12 hours, often less, and I don't inject. If you have a self basting turkey it is already injected with a brine solution, so I wouldn't brine those.

Here is an article on brining and curing one of the members wrote. It is posted on the recipe site.
http://susan.rminor.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Malc on October 05, 2006, 07:53:39 AM
Good tip on the self-basting turkey already being injected.  I too have been wanting to try this, and I would have likely injected, as well. 
That beer can thing does wonders for chicken.  I empty half of mine(it is so hard to empty only half  ;)) and replenish with some cider vinegar and some aromatics.  Sounds like it would work for turkey too.

Malc
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 05, 2006, 09:04:12 AM
Like Hab states don't brine inject a basted turkey. I only use all natural birds so I can impart my own flavors. After you get comfortable you can start playing with additions to your brine to alter the taste.
It's a kick in the behind and the possibilities are endless. ;)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: IKnowWood on October 05, 2006, 09:07:36 AM
Good smoked Turkey is amazing.  I had the pleasure of tasting some good Texas Smoked Turkey  and I must say its good. I have yet time to try to venture into acheiving that.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 05, 2006, 09:40:39 AM
You also need to consider the weight of the turkey. The larger the bird, the more time you need to brine. When I brine a 12 pound turkey, I don't brine more then 12 hours, often less, and I don't inject. If you have a self basting turkey it is already injected with a brine solution, so I wouldn't brine those.

Here is an article on brining and curing one of the members wrote. It is posted on the recipe site.
http://susan.rminor.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14

Yup, I'll try to determine if it has been pumped before I do this.

Do you think I'd have better results if I spatchcock the bird and do two halves? Or is smoking the whole bird fine as far as flavor goes? Also, I am unsure about one thing (well maybe more..)

- if I have to smoke vertically, is it recommended I hang it with the open cavity upwards, or downwards? Seems some do it upwards, and say that there is a fair amount of juice collected in the cavity afterwards.
- if I hang it vertically, should I use a drip pan to catch some gravy-makin' goop? Or should I do that no matter what way I orient it?

Malc: I am tempted by the beer can, but if cavity up is the way to go I guess I'll just have to drink the whole thing.

Thanks again - this forum is great for advice, and I think the one universal constant of the posters here is the way you can tell they drool and smack their lips when talking about smoked food...  :D

Mike
 
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 05, 2006, 09:43:05 AM
Good smoked Turkey is amazing.  I had the pleasure of tasting some good Texas Smoked Turkey  and I must say its good. I have yet time to try to venture into acheiving that.

My first smoked turkey was at an outdoor fair in Colorado Springs maybe in '92 or '93 - some guy had a wood smoker there, and was peddling smoked turkey legs. "Smoked turkey legs?" thought I, having never heard of such a thing, but I was peckish so my wife and I bought one. Well, that was it, I was sold after one bite.. I think we bought more.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: IKnowWood on October 05, 2006, 09:54:38 AM
I fully understand.  For me it was Turkey as well, Ribs was a close second. 
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: icerat4 on October 05, 2006, 10:04:31 AM
I do half turkeys in my bs.Just throw them in let them go to desired temps and they are very nice.Moist and smokie.I have never did this brine deal.Maybe i should. ;)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Habanero Smoker on October 05, 2006, 02:32:42 PM

Yup, I'll try to determine if it has been pumped before I do this.

Do you think I'd have better results if I spatch0 the bird and do two halves? Or is smoking the whole bird fine as far as flavor goes? Also, I am unsure about one thing (well maybe more..)

- if I have to smoke vertically, is it recommended I hang it with the open cavity upwards, or downwards? Seems some do it upwards, and say that there is a fair amount of juice collected in the cavity afterwards.
- if I hang it vertically, should I use a drip pan to catch some gravy-makin' goop? Or should I do that no matter what way I orient it?

Malc: I am tempted by the beer can, but if cavity up is the way to go I guess I'll just have to drink the whole thing.

Thanks again - this forum is great for advice, and I think the one universal constant of the posters here is the way you can tell they drool and smack their lips when talking about smoked food...  :D

Mike
 

I have never done a turkey vertically, but I know others on this board have, and some have collected the juices in a drip pan. Nor have I every butterflied one. I'm sure you will get more responses.

A twelve pounder will fit horizontally in the smoker. If you do the turkey horizontally, it's easier to load and unload, but it is best to rotate the turkey from front to back half way through the smoking/cooking time, because the rear of the cabinet is hotter. If you do it vertically, and face the breast towards the from, I would think you would not need to rotate it; but being vertical you have to be careful loading and unloading. My hands and walking are not that steady to keep the turkey upright :)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Chez Bubba on October 05, 2006, 06:28:54 PM
.. I think we bought more.
MLM,

I'm going out on a limb here, but might I surmise that alcohol was served at the fair? ;D ;D ;D

Alcohol is to "Q" as MSG is to Chinese. :D :D

Kirk
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Malc on October 06, 2006, 07:05:13 AM
Another thing I tried was a 4lb. Turkey Roast(it is basically a boneless turkey breast plus a little dark meat).  It turned out awesome.  All I did was inject a little marinade into it(beer mixed with Wild willy's), rubbed it with some wild willys and let it sit overnight.  Leave that net thing on it, so it holds together.  Smoke/cooked until it was done.  One of the best things I've ever smoked.  It doesn't look as impressive as a whole bird, but it tastes good.  Plus, in my family I am the only one who will eat the dark meat, so it pleases everybody.  It might be a good thing to experiment on before taking the time to do the whole bird.

Malc
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 06, 2006, 08:09:09 AM
Another thing I tried was a 4lb. Turkey Roast(it is basically a boneless turkey breast plus a little dark meat).  It turned out awesome.  All I did was inject a little marinade into it(beer mixed with Wild willy's), rubbed it with some wild willys and let it sit overnight.  Leave that net thing on it, so it holds together.  Smoke/cooked until it was done.  One of the best things I've ever smoked.  It doesn't look as impressive as a whole bird, but it tastes good.  Plus, in my family I am the only one who will eat the dark meat, so it pleases everybody.  It might be a good thing to experiment on before taking the time to do the whole bird.

Malc

Ah, I wish I had the time to do so, but that sounds good. Sunday is the big day this side of the 49th, and tomorrow is another family dinner elsewhere. I am simply gonna have to give it my best shot, and hope for the best! With all the good advice I get here, I think I'll be fine.

Chez Bubba: well, there might have been a bevvie or two. You can bet your shorts that there will be many this coming Sunday! The more the merrier, it might distract people from any turkey disasters.

Honestly, everything I have done so far in my BS has turned out well, maybe not as good as it may get later, but all good and some superb. So I think the turkey will be fine. I like the idea of crisping it up in a real hot oven for a bit after smoking.

I'll let y'all know how it goes for future reference. Hope there's some beer left for the brine is all..

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 06, 2006, 08:53:58 AM
Good Luck MLM. What ever you do, HAVE FUN!!! ;D
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: MWS on October 07, 2006, 01:32:37 PM
I'm doing a 10.5 pound turkey Sunday also. If I cook @ 215F, what would you folks guestimate the total cooking time to be. I've read conflicting posts that range from 7 hours - 15 hours.  ???

This is what I found by search.

http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=696.0

- Unfortunately, Scooter never did report back...

Thanks for any advice.

P.S., the Turkey is not brined or self basting.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 07, 2006, 03:32:16 PM
I'm doing a 10.5 pound turkey Sunday also. If I cook @ 215F, what would you folks guestimate the total cooking time to be. I've read conflicting posts that range from 7 hours - 15 hours.  ???

This is what I found by search.

http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=696.0

- Unfortunately, Scooter never did report back...

Thanks for any advice.

P.S., the Turkey is not brined or self basting.
I'd give it at least 7. Just from my trials and blunders. You can always call them to dinner a bit early if it gets done faster. It can sit for a bit and then get crisped up in a hot oven to finish it. :) If it was me (oh brother here we go again) I'd shoot at least the breast with some butter / oil mix or something like that to keep it moist.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: MWS on October 07, 2006, 03:37:37 PM
Thanks Iceman,

I was going to inject some applejuice/EVOO mixture into the breast and brush butter all over the skin.

The timing thing was starting to freak me out.....thanks for the advice. Cheers

Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 07, 2006, 03:49:35 PM
Thanks Iceman,

I was going to inject some applejuice/EVOO mixture into the breast and brush butter all over the skin.

The timing thing was starting to freak me out.....thanks for the advice. Cheers


Let it smoke for awhile before you slather the butter on the skin. It takes the smoke better with dry skin. Just my opinion from trial and MANY errors. :D
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: MWS on October 07, 2006, 05:33:10 PM
Thanks again Iceman. Glad I posted. Whew :)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Habanero Smoker on October 08, 2006, 03:27:30 AM
Mike,

If you begin running short on time, just take the turkey out of the smoker and place it in a preheated 350°F oven to finish it off.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: MWS on October 08, 2006, 07:55:53 AM
Thanks Hab, that's what I'll do. I'm just preheating the Bradley now, should give me about 8 hours. Thanks.

P.S. I placed cut-up apples in the cavity to hopefully add moisture to the Turkey during the cooking process. Normally I would have brined, but, plans came together late and I ran out of time.

Never done a whole turkey.....wish me luck  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 08, 2006, 05:53:48 PM
You got it covered. It'll turn out just fine I'm sure. ;)
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 10, 2006, 11:41:24 AM
Mike,

If you begin running short on time, just take the turkey out of the smoker and place it in a preheated 350°F oven to finish it off.

On Sunday, I smoked the 12.5 pounder for 5 hours at 210F with apple wood, and at that point it registered 141F in the breast meat. I then tossed it in a preheated 450F oven to crisp the skin for about 10 minutes or so, then dropped that to 350F and left it for an hour and change. The internal temp never registered 180F, I think it got as high as about 165F, but the leg and wing joints were loose, the juices ran clear, and it sure "looked" done. So out it came, and it was just fine. The meat was very tasty indeed, the dark especially seemed to have pulled in the most flavor, though the external white was great too. Well, the internal was good but not as smoky. The dark had the "hammy" flavor I recalled fomr years back when I had my first smoked drumstick.

So all in all I was quite content with the outcome. BTW I brined it for about 18 hours before smoking, in a mixture of:

16 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbs pickling spice
handful of chopped fresh sage and rosemary
3 cloves garlic
I think that was it..

Plus I hit it with a dry rub on and under the skin, and tossed some sprigs of sage and rosemary and leftover leek tops in the cavity. Personally, I hit myself with a few glasses of nice Cab as I worked.

All was good!

Thanks to all for the advice!!

Mike


Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: iceman on October 10, 2006, 12:10:19 PM
Glad it worked out Mike. Now you have a base to go from on times, brines, etc.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: asa on October 10, 2006, 06:00:48 PM
Sounds great Mike. My opinion is that 165 is fine, especially if it sits there for a while. 180 seems to me to be too hot, especially for the white meat. I never aim for > 170 (the USDA "recs" seem way too high and conservative, and guaranteed to dry out the meat)  Brining is always a good idea for a fresh turkey - but it has been pointed out (I believe here) that it is not a good idea for a "butterball" or one that has already been injected.
Title: Re: Turkey time
Post by: Me_Like_Meat on October 11, 2006, 08:40:15 AM
Sounds great Mike. My opinion is that 165 is fine, especially if it sits there for a while. 180 seems to me to be too hot, especially for the white meat. I never aim for > 170 (the USDA "recs" seem way too high and conservative, and guaranteed to dry out the meat)  Brining is always a good idea for a fresh turkey - but it has been pointed out (I believe here) that it is not a good idea for a "butterball" or one that has already been injected.

If I had waited until it hit 180F, it would have been mummified. As it was, the meat was thoroughly cooked but not overcooked, in fact the "doneness" was as close to perfect as I could hope for. The white meat was very moist, but not mushy. The drumsticks were a tasty handheld treat.

Now to join the ranks of the real Q'ers and do me some beef brisket and pulled pork!