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Thread: Thanksgiving Turkey Help

  1. #1
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    Default Thanksgiving Turkey Help

    Okay, hot shots, I need some help. I am going to do a couple of 16 lb turkeys (different days) . Brined, injected and rubbed. I have seen widely ranging times and smoker temps on the 1400. I need to pin this down. I have been bragging about ST till my friends roll their eyes. My rep is on the line!

  2. #2
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    Mar 2015
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    I've done 2 at 225 deg, tasted awesome but didn't love how the skin came out rubbery. This is on account of the low cooking temp, I think. Maybe. I am not a scientist nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. If I was going try again I would set it on KILL and keep an eye on the thermometer for the two birds to get an idea for time. Last time I smoked one I used my Weber kettle with the bottom vents closed and minion method, frankly. Turned out great.

    ETA: If I need that much bird I cook multiple 10-12 lbers vs. 1 huge one. IMHO, YMMV, my 2 cents is worth what ya paid for it. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    My only comment is that 16# is a pretty large bird. You will need to be very watchful that you reach 140 internal temp within the 4 hour food safety time! If you haven't already purchased them, I would consider no larger than 14# max and I would also set at 250 until bird reaches 140.
    That 4 hours starts when you take it out of the fridge. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know but I always appreciate the reminders myself. There will be more who will share I'm sure. I use some buttered up cheese cloth to help with the skin. Good luck and Be Safe!
    1500CXLD, Amerique, PG1000, Tappecue, Thermopen
    Good Meat deserves a REST!
    It's done when it's done and
    If you're happy with the results, that's ALL that matters

  4. #4
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    I wish I could be more help on this, about all I have to offer is to dust the whole bird in cornstarch to help the skin crisp up. I'm gonna watch this thread because I want to learn something as well...
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

  5. #5
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    Nov 2013
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    With a little more thought I would add,

    Do NOT stuff your bird with bread stuffing!
    Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
    Estimate 5 hours for 14# bird, (at 250) but always go by internal temp. If done early, you can FTC just like other meats for period of time,
    I would not use more than 3 oz of wood, probably 2 would do nicely, especially if your smoker is already seasoned,
    You can soak cheese cloth in butter or spray down very good with PAM, cover the breast and remove at the last for browning.
    I would put my bird as close to the top as possible.

    Above all, Be safe!
    Last edited by EFGM; 11-15-2016 at 03:39 PM.
    1500CXLD, Amerique, PG1000, Tappecue, Thermopen
    Good Meat deserves a REST!
    It's done when it's done and
    If you're happy with the results, that's ALL that matters

  6. #6
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    Nov 2013
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    I came across this and thought I would pass it along. Hope someone tries it and posts results. I'm not smoking a turkey this year so I am no help.

    To help the skin to end up with better bite through, you can sit the chicken uncovered in the fridge for a couple of hours after brining and before seasoning. This allows the skin to dry out before placing it in the smoker.
    1500CXLD, Amerique, PG1000, Tappecue, Thermopen
    Good Meat deserves a REST!
    It's done when it's done and
    If you're happy with the results, that's ALL that matters

  7. #7
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    Might also want to check this thread, some other concurrent turkey discussion that may be relevant here...

    http://forums.smokintex.com/showthre...eratures/page3
    I believe in catch and release fishing. I don't want to EAT 'em all, I just want to GREET 'em all!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    I suggest you consider using the search feature and enter "Turkey" There is a great post by BDC titled The Ultimate Smoked Turkey from last November.

    I don't know how to post the link like bigwalleye did or or I would have.

    OK, i just copied and pasted BDC'S post. Pictures did not come with, so I would still search it out.

    " The Ultimate Smoked Turkey" BY BDC
    First let me make mention that I've adapted this recipe specifically for the "Smokin Tex 1400" using the recipe by the "Barbecue-Whisperer"…Chef Meathead Goldwyn @ AmazingRibs.com.

    I made this last night and I couldn't wait to share this man's knowledge with all of you! I combined a few of his methods; the steps below are exactly how I did it. I've gotta tell you upfront that I could not get the skin crisp with an electric smoker with a max temp of 250 F degrees...I tried broiling the finished bird for a few minutes under my oven broiler, but this didn't work for me. I'm afraid of overcooking and making the turkey meat tough. I've heard of people deep-frying poultry afterwards...but I don't want to go thru all that mess and bother...guess I have more experimenting to do.

    With all that said...I've got to tell you...I believe this to have been the most moist, juicy and flavorful turkey I think I have ever made!

    Meatheads methodology is spot on and I've tested some of his ideas that are used below...dry-brining...wet-rubbing...spatchcocking (butterflying)...not tenting or resting poultry...are all tried and true recommendations that I will stand by! Especially the recommended USDA finish temp of 165F...and I really liked the thin, au jus-like gravy...no doubt I'm sold...if you would like to read the most detailed instructions on this recipe along with all of the proven science behind it all - check out his website HERE

    ...or just try my adaption below...turkeys are cheap this month...give it a try and let me know what you think.


    Ingredients for Turkey & Wet Rub:

    1 turkey, any size (cooking time is approx. 15 minutes per/lb.)
    - teaspoon kosher salt per/lb. of meat (only if the meat has not been pre-salted)
    1 stick (4 oz.) melted butter
    Nonstick cooking spray
    Plastic wrap or foil
    Syringe
    4 oz. hardwood ( I mix 3 oz. of hickory with 1 oz. of cherry wood)
    4 Tablespoons of the “Simon & Garfunkel Rub Recipe” or whatever seasonings you like and have on hand…I mixed 1 Tablespoon McCormick’s Poultry Seasoning with 2 Tablespoons Morton’s Sea Salt Rub - Cracked Peppercorn and Herb…came out awesome!
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil



    Ingredients for the Gravy:

    This gravy is essentially a rich concentrated smoky turkey stock that will penetrate the meat, not just sit on top of it. Once you try it you will never go back to the thick floury wallpaper paste again. You will have more than you need when you are done, so you can use the left-over gravy in soups or pot pies or risotto. The recipe here has a lot of room for improvisation…again…this was adapted to suit my smoker.

    1 quart [2.8 L] water
    1 quart [2.8 L] chicken stock
    1 cup [237 ml] apple juice
    2 onions, skin on, ends removed, cut into quarters
    2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
    1 rib of celery, leaves and all, cut into 2 inch lengths
    1 tablespoon [15 ml] dried sage leaves, crumbled
    1 tablespoon [15 ml] dried thyme leaves
    2 whole dried bay leaves


    Instructions:

    If your turkey is frozen – either defrost it in its unopened packaging in the refrigerator for 6 hours per/lb. or inside a dishpan full of COLD ice water for 30 minutes per/lb.

    Example:
    a. Refrigerator:a 14 lb. bird will take 3.5 days to thaw
    b. Ice-water: a 14 lb. bird will take 7 hours to thaw

    On the night before your smoke-out (steps #2-6)…in a small bowl or Tupperware container, make the Simon & Garfunkel Rub Recipe (or whatever seasoning you like) and mix thoroughly with the oil; cover it and leave out on the counter until tomorrow.
    Rinse the turkey well with cold water and drain; place it on a large cookie sheet with the back-side up and the legs and wing pointed down. This recipe has been adapted for spatchcocking or butterflying the bird; so, using poultry shears…cut out the spine and clip off the wing tips – set them aside with the gizzards and heart to use later. Then flip the bird over with the breast side up and with both hands…press down on the breast bone between the wings until you hear it crack and the turkey is flattened. For a step by step walkthrough on how to spatchcock – click HERE to visit amazingribs.com
    With bird on the cookie sheet and the breast-side is still up and spread out; thoroughly pat it dry with paper towels; the dry-brining method is next…sprinkle the kosher salt evenly all over the skin (you can use a little more to cover the entire bird if needed)
    Using the melted butter and syringe…inject only the breast meat on both sides – I usually get four syringefuls from 1 stick of butter and was able to shoot both ends of both breasts until the butter was gone. Set the turkey aside while you get the gravy pan ready…
    Wash and cut up the carrots, celery, and onions (leave skin on) and place them and the turkey gizzards, heart, and spine (not the liver) into a 13x9x2 baking pan (this was the largest pan that would fit into my Smokin’ Tex 1400). Sprinkle the sage and thyme all over the vegetables and turkey parts; cover pan with plastic wrap or foil. Place the covered gravy pan into the refrigerator first…then balance the uncovered turkey/cookie sheet right on top of the vegetable pan in the refrigerator until tomorrow
    If you have a large (1 gal) plastic pitcher…mix the water, stock, and apple juice in it and also place that in the refrigerator until tomorrow as well…if you don’t have anything large enough – you can save this step for tomorrow

    Click image for larger version.

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    On the next day…the day that you’re going to smoke the turkey…one hour prior to smoking…pull the bird out of the refrigerator. Starting at the cavity end, gently lift the skin covering the breast and using your fingers…create a pocket underneath the skin as far back as you can go…working your fingers towards the thighs (my entire hand fit underneath the skin when I was done); do this on both sides. Next, take the wet-rub you set aside last night and rub the entire breast meat underneath the skin on both sides and then use the rest to coat the skin of the entire bird on the outside…if you run out…don’t worry – use some vegetable or olive to finish
    You will need two racks for your smoker…one for the gravy pan and one for the turkey which will sit above the gravy pan. Go ahead and position the bottom (gravy) rack now on the lowest rung
    While you’re out there…go ahead and add the wood to the smoke box too
    Spray the 2nd rack with the nonstick cooking spray and place the spactchcocked turkey on the rack; if you are using a meat thermometer with probe/alert…insert it now into the deepest part of the breast and set aside. When it’s time to start your smoke…bring the gravy tray out first and place it on top of the smoker while you add the water, chicken stock, and apple juice to the pan. Now set the gravy pan and center it on the lowest rack in the smoker
    Get the turkey rack with turkey and place it two rungs above the bottom rack – you want the turkey about 3-4 inches above the gravy pan. The idea is to cook the bird above the liquid and not in it…the steam below will keep the bird moist and the turkey fat will drip down into the gravy to flavor it – so position the turkey above it dead center
    Fish your probe through the top vent hole and close smoker; set the temperature control to 250F (highest setting for ST 1400). As mentioned above…the cooking time is approx. 15 minutes per/lb. – set the meat thermometer alert to 160F – you want to pull the meat out at that temperature…cook it to 160F and let the temp rise to 165F while it moves from cooker to carving
    Note * USDA wants to keep things simple for us in order to keep us safe; what USDA doesn't tell you is that microbes start dying at about 130F. The hotter the food gets, the faster the pathogens die. You can pasteurize your turkey at 130F in 2 hours or at 165F in 2 seconds, hence the USDA recommended minimum of 165F. What the USDA doesn't tell you is that you can kill them all if you heat the bird to 160F for 7 seconds, 155F for 23 seconds, or 145F for about 4 minutes. So…to be absolutely safe and still have moist and tender whole birds, you should serve turkey at 165F in the deepest part of the meat and test it in multiple locations with a good digital thermometer. Take the meat up to 160F and let it rise 5F by carryover
    Set the turkey on a serving platter and pull the gravy pan out of the smoker…strain the gravy and separate the fat if you have a fat separator
    Check the temp and serve the turkey immediately (do not tent it or let it rest!) with the gravy
    Enjoy…

    Click image for larger version.

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    Last edited by EFGM; 11-16-2016 at 09:11 AM.
    1500CXLD, Amerique, PG1000, Tappecue, Thermopen
    Good Meat deserves a REST!
    It's done when it's done and
    If you're happy with the results, that's ALL that matters

  9. #9
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    Great information everyone! Thank you!
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

  10. #10
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    Aug 2010
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    I will add this - I have been a disciple of Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn for many years. I am a founding member of the Pitmaster Club. Read his site, you will learn A LOT.

    Be safe everyone!
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

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