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Old 06-25-2009, 11:17 AM   #1
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Smoking A Turkey 101

Thinking about smoking a 30lb turkey this weekend.It's expected to be hot.I'm planning on cooking something outside on the patio.Turkey just came to mind first.

How long should the turkey be smoked? Cooking time and method afterward?
Should I cut it in half to make it easier to handle,or leave it whole?

I have a smoker,got the webber,a 5 burner gas grill.Everything but an actual pit..
So charcoal,gas,or mesquite wood,I can get some oak if need be.
The only thing I don't have is a rotisserie for the grill.Just the indoor Ronco..

Has anyone done this before?
I'd appreciate any ideas or suggestions.
Thanks,

Munky.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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First, forgive me if you know some of this - I'm just typing the way I do it and some thoughts about it.

I have smoked a turkey before. I brined it first in apple juice, rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, oranges, limes, lemons, smashed garlic, peppercorns, kosher salt, brown sugar. Think "over flavor" the apple juice when it comes to quantitites of these ingredients. Find a big pot to keep in your fridge to do this in. Heat some of the apple juice enough to melt the sugar and salt - maybe 1 cup brown sugar and enough salt to over salt the apple juice. Add the rest of the apple juice and let the mixture cool completely before adding the turkey. Brine overnight or a bit longer is fine for this size turkey.

Remove from brine, dry off, rub down with olive oil. Fill cavity with fresh apples, onions, and some more fresh herbs.

I smoked a 22 lb. turkey and it took about 10 hours, I think. I would seriously consider starting yours the night before and just keeping track of it throughout the night OR start very early in the morning. Let it rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Now, I normally bring my turkey in and finish it off in the oven in a roaster for about an hour or so. I do this to get some juices to make the gravy. The brine makes the BEST gravy I have ever had!! Nice appley flavor.

Good luck. Also, I MUCH prefer Hickory chunks over mesquite, but, that's just my taste preference. Whichever you use remember that chunks give off a better flavor than the smaller chips. Once the smoke runs out about a third of the way through the cooking time I don't add anymore. Too much smoke and it will get bitter.

Keep us posted on what you do with all the details.

Also, rotate your turkey occasionally. In my smoker I have to do this as the back gets much hotter than the front, where the door is.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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Chef Munky - I haven't personally smoke d a turkey, but here is a link to the group called the smokering that should supply answers. Might want to explorer the rest of the group also.

http://tinyurl.com/n8gt9h

This is the definitive BBQ faq location probably on the internet.

Let's Q!

Regards,

Bob
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Munky
Has anyone done this before?
I'd appreciate any ideas or suggestions.
Thanks,
More times than I can remember...I lost count.

Suggestions ~~~~Unless your plan is to feed a whole heap of folks..I would suggest a smaller bird....Say in the 14-16 pound range. It will obviously cook faster, be easier to handle, probably cook more evenly etc. If you need the volume of meat a 30 pound bird will yield suggest you cook two smaller birds. If you haven't already secured the bird suggest you do so soon...It will take a long time for a frozen bird(s) to thaw... I doubt you will find a "fresh" bird this time of year. -- Until you decide what type of appliance you will use I have no cooking suggestions other than to say... my go to flavoring wood for poultry is Cherry...An excellent mild smoke, and gives the "honoree" a beautiful color....Brining is a personal choice...IMO it's mostly a waste of time and resources.. as most birds today are already "brined" with a saline solution adding up to 20% of the total weight. However if it makes you happy to do so, then by all means... Be Happy!! Cooking times? Turkey's can't tell time Suggest you use an instant read thermometer until you get 165*+ in several spots.

You're Welcome, and Enjoy!
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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Kitchenelf,
Thank you for the insight.That brine you use sounds delicious.Wish I could use it this weekend.I'll explain as I go.It never occurred to me to use brine.I'd ask about a good rub,but you know somehow that just doesn't sound right.. :) well you know what I mean..
Casper,
Great links,thank you.Learned quite a bit from just the Ring alone.Good info.
UB,
Well at the time a 30lb'er sounded like a brilliant idea.I get them sometimes.It just wasn't this time.
Kitchenelf's brine was a go until I read all posts,and the links Casper added.

No way will I ever get the brine solution into that turkey.Wrestling a turkey isn't my kind of fun.Pinned it..not! :)

It's too large to put into my smoker,even if I do halve it,it's too wide.My smoker is a top loader, small unit.Because of the heating element,chunks can't be used for it.It will only use the very fine,almost sawdust type of wood chips.

The weber is out to.It won't fit,too wide,too tall.Especially after I have the grill placed over the drip pan.
So looks like the last alternative would be to use the gas grill.It's huge in itself,I'll get some small pans for the wood.I'll stop by the store and pick up Hickory chunks.
I'll set the turkey off to the side just a bit,indirect heat.It just might work.If not let me know.I'm cooking it early Saturday.

You guys were a great help.It's much appreciated.Thank you.

Munky.
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:41 PM   #6
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Munky -
I always brine my turkeys these days. They just to seem to turn out more consistently succulent, plus you can get creative with the flavors. You can get huge ziploc bags at the grocery these days, and I put the turkeys in those bags, and brine for 24 hours. Here's a brine I simulated (I don't really use recipes), and I don't recall where this one came from, but likely a newspaper and I liked it.

Apple Brined TurkeyApple Brined Turkey
This apple brined turkey will get rave reviews from your guests. The
white and dark meat are very moist. Never serve a dry turkey again.

8 lb to 16 lb uncooked turkey (not injected with a salt solution)
Brine:
8 cups apple juice or cider (bottled or from frozen concentrate)
1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (or 1/2 cup non-iodized table salt)
12 cups quarts cold water
2 cups orange juice
1 Tbsp ground ginger
15 whole cloves
6 large bay leaves
3 Tbsp crushed garlic

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Boil for one minute
and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
In a large food safe container (2 to 5-gallons), combine the
apple juice mixture with the remaining ingredients, then refrigerate to
40-degrees F.
Remove giblets and neck from raw turkey and place turkey in the
brine solution, breast side down. Place a heavy plate or bowl on top to
keep the bird submerged, if necessary. Place container in fridge and
brine the turkey for 24 hours.
Discard brine solution and rinse turkey well, inside and outside.
Pat turkey dry and air dry in fridge for about 4-hours, uncovered.
Coat turkey with light coating of oil or butter and bake in oven
(or smoke ,outdoors, in bbq smoker) at 325-degrees F. until thermometer
placed in breast reads 165-degrees F (about 3-hours).



Good luck on your experiment..


Bob
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:54 PM   #7
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Thanks Casper,
I'll check that isle.Good idea! :)
It might need the tall kitchen plastic garbage bags.. lol.

Munky.
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
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You could probably do it, but DH, like Uncle Bob, has smoked a lot of turkeys, and says it's way too big. 12-14 lbs is perfect.

Where did you find a turkey that big? Twenty-three lbs is the biggest I've seen.

Here's my suggestion: cut the bird in half. It's not going to fit anywhere if you don't.
I suggest you Google how to do that...it's the same as a chicken. I just sorta know what to do, but think you need proper instructions so you don't cut a finger off. Then you can do whatever you want with it.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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This has been a fun experiment.You guys won't believe it but I did get that bird in my smoker.Without having to cut it in half.
I placed it breast up,legs down.Cut off the wing tips.Then tied the legs together,and the wings together.
Made an additional loop,with butchers tie string, into a handle.Easily lifted up and in,and then eventually out.
Decided not to use the weber,or a brine but instead placed the turkey into a large roasting pan.Made a nice rub of Kosher salt,Fresh Sage,Fresh ground pepper,into the cavity,and under the skin breast, legs,and thighs.
Brushed it with Olive Oil.
Put it on the big daddy grill. Placed a water pan on one side,Roaster in the middle,and a small pie pan for additional Hickory Chunks.
Got the temp to 300 degrees,and kept it at that.
It was smoked for 8 hrs.
It's not done yet,the probe temps only @154,but I'm almost there.This is just a peek.

New neighbors just moved in..I hope they like turkey :)

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Old 06-26-2009, 11:37 PM   #10
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Beautimous!!!!
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