Author Topic: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!  (Read 6805 times)

DivotMaker

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Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« on: November 01, 2015, 10:42:52 AM »
Smokeclub (Nick from NYC) had a great suggestion, so here it is!  This sticky will be a place for everyone to post their own suggestions for smoking turkey, and a consolidated point of reference to our own recipes/techniques/etc.  No need to post whole recipes here, just point us to your other threads on the subject.

This can also be a place, for those new to smoking turkeys, to ask questions.  Hopefully, the experienced turkey smokers will be able to get them pointed in the right direction!

I'll start off with 1 of my turkey smokes:

Post-Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey

One note, about this recipe:  I now only use 250 as the box temp for turkey.  Going higher only serves to shrink and break the skin, making it look terrible.

Let's make this "One-Stop Shopping" for turkey! :D
Tony from NW Arkansas
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gregbooras

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 10:46:30 AM »
This Turkey recipe uses a Butterball Turkey (so no brine is necessary) but I did marinate it for 1.5 hours.

http://smokinitforums.com/index.php?topic=4072.0

Greg
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 10:48:24 AM by gregbooras »

smokeclub

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2015, 12:42:41 PM »
Smokeclub (Nick from NYC) had a great suggestion, so here it is!  This sticky will be a place for everyone to post their own suggestions for smoking turkey, and a consolidated point of reference to our own recipes/techniques/etc.  No need to post whole recipes here, just point us to your other threads on the subject.

This can also be a place, for those new to smoking turkeys, to ask questions.  Hopefully, the experienced turkey smokers will be able to get them pointed in the right direction!

I'll start off with 1 of my turkey smokes:

Post-Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey

One note, about this recipe:  I now only use 250 as the box temp for turkey.  Going higher only serves to shrink and break the skin, making it look terrible.

Let's make this "One-Stop Shopping" for turkey! :D

Thanks Divot!  And beautiful pictures Greg!

Some things turkey newbies (especially those responsible for putting the turkey on the table for a big gathering this year!) I think would be great to know:

1. What accessories/gear would be a good idea to get for our first turkey smoke?
2. Is there a rule of thumb we should use for smoking time- is it purely time per lb of bird?  Do we need to build in oven or resting time before serving?  Want to plan out the cooking schedule and definitely don't want to keep the folks waiting at the table while hovering over the smoker yelling "Just a little longer!"  (Divot: 13H brine, 4H chill in fridge + about 4 @ 275 = about 21H total)
3. What kinds of bird would you recommend?  Fancy heritage vs. butterball vs wild?  Brine or no brine?  Marinade? (Soy from Greg's link worked great).  Fresh or frozen?  Does it make a difference? 
4. Any options for 'crispy skin' once you take it out of the smoker? 
5. Stuffing?  Should stuffing be cooked inside or outside the bird?   What works well and what doesn't? Divot: stuffed with onions, celery, carrot, Olive Oil + McCormick's
6. Temps, preferred wood?  (Divot: 250, 3 oz Cherry for a 14 lb)
7. Bird location in the smoker (top, bottom, middle?) and should we be flipping or turning around at some point? 

Sorry for all the detailed questions but I have a feeling I'm not the only one with a first Thanksgiving with a smoked turkey request... tons of information on the boards but scattered here and there. 

If you have other thanksgiving related ideas (planning schedule, recommended sides to smoke with the bird, etc.) please share! 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 12:49:51 PM by smokeclub »
Nick in NYC- learning to smoke with a #1 and always open to suggestions!

DivotMaker

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2015, 03:52:24 PM »
Some things turkey newbies (especially those responsible for putting the turkey on the table for a big gathering this year!) I think would be great to know:

1. What accessories/gear would be a good idea to get for our first turkey smoke?
No special equipment required, other than a brining container big enough for a turkey, should you choose to brine.

2. Is there a rule of thumb we should use for smoking time- is it purely time per lb of bird?  Do we need to build in oven or resting time before serving?  Want to plan out the cooking schedule and definitely don't want to keep the folks waiting at the table while hovering over the smoker yelling "Just a little longer!"  (Divot: 13H brine, 4H chill in fridge + about 4 @ 275 = about 21H total)
Just like any smoke, plan out your prep time, and cook time.  If you allow 5 hours on a 14 lb bird, you'll be fine.  If it's done early, just wrap it in foil and keep in a cooler (like pork butts or briskets).  I like to let turkey rest for 30 minutes, under a foil tent, before slicing.

3. What kinds of bird would you recommend?  Fancy heritage vs. butterball vs wild?  Brine or no brine?  Marinade? (Soy from Greg's link worked great).  Fresh or frozen?  Does it make a difference?
Any bird will do, but it's great to get a fresh one, that's not injected (if possible).  If you get a frozen Butterball (or Honeysuckle White, or any other "store brand," check the amount of solution added.  If it's only 3-4%, brining is fine).  Wild turkey is a much different animal than a domestic, commercially-produced,  white.  Some people don't like wild turkey, so be careful on that one.
 
4. Any options for 'crispy skin' once you take it out of the smoker? 
I've long since given up on crispy skin, and no longer care.  I would rather have a bird that looks great on the table, as everyone in my house discards the skin anyways.  Very difficult to get it crispy, by any method that doesn't shrink the skin and make the bird look like he's covered in tattered clothes!

5. Stuffing?  Should stuffing be cooked inside or outside the bird?   What works well and what doesn't? Divot: stuffed with onions, celery, carrot, Olive Oil + McCormick's
Never use bread-based stuffing in a smoked turkey!!!  NEVER!  It is highly unsafe, due to the low temperature used.  Bread-based stuffing should be done in a pan in the oven.  The "stuffing" I use is actually called mire poix, and is a mix of aromatic veggies and fruit.  Aside from onions, celery and carrots, I also add lemon slices or apples.  These are things that will not grow bacteria at low temp, but add an incredible amount of flavor to the meat!  I also find stuffing with mire poix helps the bird cook more evenly, and stable.
6. Temps, preferred wood?  (Divot: 250, 3 oz Cherry for a 14 lb)
Wood smoke flavor is subjective.
  I like cherry best on poultry, but also use straight hickory, cherry/hickory, maple and oak.  Just me, though...you have to find what you like.7. Bird location in the smoker (top, bottom, middle?) and should we be flipping or turning around at some point? 
Like any other meat, always place as high as possible.  No need to flip/turn/etc.  Set it breast-side up on the highest rack, put your probe in the middle of the breast meat, and smoke it.  Remove at 165....easy peasy!


Sorry for all the detailed questions but I have a feeling I'm not the only one with a first Thanksgiving with a smoked turkey request... tons of information on the boards but scattered here and there. 

If you have other thanksgiving related ideas (planning schedule, recommended sides to smoke with the bird, etc.) please share!
Tony from NW Arkansas
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Limey

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 07:05:07 PM »
Hi Tony, thanks for this.  Perhaps this marks the beginning of "a very basic guide to smoking most things" that a few of us have been hoping for for a while.  The forum contains lots of great information but is very intimidating to a new smoker or someone converting to an SI smoker. Perhaps if we could all put our preferences/egos in check we could produce a basic guide for new guys. How about it?
Roger from the Florida Keys.
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DivotMaker

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 07:12:07 PM »
In a separate thread, Roger.  Let's keep this one focused on Thanksgiving turkey. ;)
Tony from NW Arkansas
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jcboxlot

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2015, 07:36:40 PM »
This is my goto

http://www.smoking-meat.com/november-14-2013-smoked-turkey-breast-for-thanksgiving


Pretty easy.   I'll throw my 8 1/2 cents in here, make sure you brine the turkey.   Weather it be an inbone breast or a whole beast.


It will turn out well. 

Good luck!

Smokin It #2.  Weber Genesis. Old Smokey charcoal.  Work from home antique tool dealer and living the dream.  Dad, Husband, Cook.  John~York PA

Grampy

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2015, 08:20:41 AM »
This is my goto

http://www.smoking-meat.com/november-14-2013-smoked-turkey-breast-for-thanksgiving


Pretty easy.   I'll throw my 8 1/2 cents in here, make sure you brine the turkey.   Weather it be an inbone breast or a whole beast.


It will turn out well. 

Good luck!

John, how many people does a bone in breast like this feed?
Jimmy from Arkadelphia, AR
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jcboxlot

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2015, 06:33:54 PM »
I'd say check with your butcher and the size they offer.   We had 6 people and a 7 or 8 lb yielded lots of leftovers.

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trevorgrout

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 08:52:53 AM »
Does anyone mind sharing any rubs/seasonings they use with turkey? If so, how do you apply it (underneath skin or on top of skin)?

DivotMaker

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 02:13:45 PM »
Does anyone mind sharing any rubs/seasonings they use with turkey? If so, how do you apply it (underneath skin or on top of skin)?

I like Lawry's chicken & poultry rub.  I get it at Sam's.  Good "traditional" turkey flavors - onion, rosemary, garlic, salt, etc.
Tony from NW Arkansas
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jcboxlot

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 03:03:04 PM »
Everyone has one they like, here is another option.

https://www.oakridgebbq.com/shop/game-bird-n-chicken/#axzz3ImqhtBQD


A bit of heat to this one.

Under and over skin
Smokin It #2.  Weber Genesis. Old Smokey charcoal.  Work from home antique tool dealer and living the dream.  Dad, Husband, Cook.  John~York PA

DivotMaker

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 03:44:29 PM »
If I'm in the mood for a spicier bird, I like Famous Dave's Country Roast Chicken rub. 
Tony from NW Arkansas
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smokeasaurus

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2015, 08:34:12 PM »
Try this heavenly concoction on your Thanksgiving Tom....................

http://www.spicesinc.com/p-4051-turkey-brine-seasoning.aspx
Scott from the San Bernardino Mountains (So-Cal)
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DivotMaker

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Re: Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey - A Reference From All, For All!
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 07:38:50 PM »
Bet that's tasty, Scott!
Tony from NW Arkansas
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