Author Topic: First time smoking a turkey  (Read 6311 times)

Offline zonakid23

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First time smoking a turkey
« on: November 22, 2019, 02:37:04 pm »
I have smoked some meats before, but this will be my first with smoking a turkey. I have a 10lb currently brining in the fridge. However, I am a little lost about smoke time/oven time when it comes to doing this. I don't want to mess this up. I'm just not sure how long to smoke the turkey and how long to oven cook it in the smoker. I have a 4 rack digital Bradley smoker. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I am going to start smoking the turkey tomorrow morning.

Offline zonakid23

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Re: First time smoking a turkey
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2019, 03:37:16 pm »
Also, would putting the turkey straight on the shelving be best or to use an aluminum pan instead while it smokes?

thank you

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: First time smoking a turkey
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2019, 03:16:58 am »
Hi zonakid23;

Welcome to the forum. That is a small turkey, so it is a good one to use for your first time. First preheat the Bradley to the highest temperature you can get it. Do not load the bisquettes - during preheating make sure the bisquette burning is also turned on. During preheating keep your vent to 1/4 - 1/2 opened. Load bisquettes, then turkey. After placing the turkey in the smoker, open the vent to 3/4 to fully open.

It's been a while since I smoked a turkey in the Bradley so I can't provide the full cook times. Hopefully others can provide more information. When smoking at low temperatures, the skin tends to turn out rubbery/leathery. I like to air dry my turkey uncovered in the refrigerator for 8 - 24 hours prior to smoking. It will look terrible after air drying, but this helps crisp the skin, and it still looks great after it is fully smoked and cooked. I use 2:00 - 2:20 hours of apple or maple. 

There are a few ways you can smoke/roast the turkey. You can smoke/roast it whole on the rack horizontally. This takes the longest time to cook. I don't truss the bird. I like to keep the cavity open so smoke, and heat can get into the cavity. This speeds up cooking, and helps the breast cook more evenly. If you truss it that will block the airflow, and increase the cooking time. You can use an aluminum pan, but it is preferable to use a pan with low sides. The bottom of the turkey may not take on any color, unless you have a rack that can elevate it from the bottom of the pan. Some will place the turkey directly on the rack, place a rack underneath with a pan to catch the drippings and/or minimize cleanup. When cooking horizontally, there will be a lot of juices that collect in the cavity, and when removing the bird from the smoker; when tilted the juices will flow out. It only takes once for hot juices to spill on you leg and foot to learn this lesson the hard way.

Another way is to cook it vertically, but you will need a turkey vertical roaster. This method takes far less time than cooking it horizontally. A vertical roaster stands the turkey up, and allows the smoke, and heat to flow into the cavity without any obstructions. This is my favorite way to smoke a turkey, because I have a vertical smoker. When smoke/roasting a turkey vertically, you will need to double of the racks to support the weight; since the weight is no longer evenly distributed across the rack. For a 10 lb. turkey you may not have to double up the racks.

A third way is to butterfly the turkey (spatchcock). This method will cook the turkey the fastest, and the dark and white meat cooks fairly consistently at the same rate.

Multi-cook method. You start with any method listed above, but after applying the smoke you move the turkey into a preheated kitchen oven and finish roasting there. Or after fully cooking the turkey in the Bradley, place it in a 425°F preheated oven to crisp the skin. Monitor this very closely.

Let us know what you did, and how it turned out.


Offline Edward176

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Re: First time smoking a turkey
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2019, 03:27:36 pm »
Greetings zonakid23 and welcome to the forum :)