Turkey question

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Turkey question

Postby Kjoy » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:55 pm

OK, I read all the past posts for smoking a whole turkey and have one question. Why no water in the pan? I think adding moisture to the cooking chamber would be a plus when cooking a turkey. Does the water make it hard to reach 325 degrees? Just wondering.
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Re: Turkey question

Postby RickC » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:52 pm

I brine my turkey for 8-18 hours in a solution of 1 lb. kosher salt, 1 lb. dark brown sugar and 6 qt. water dissolve and then add 5 lb of ice to the mixture and brine the turkey in a cooler with this mixture. Smoke with water in the pan at 225 to an internal temp of 185 in the breast. Works for me every time. Oh, smoke with hickory chuncks.
Last edited by RickC on Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Correct amount of water
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Re: Turkey question

Postby boar_d_laze » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:32 pm

Probably too late to matter, but...

There may be some misunderstanding regarding the role of humid air. Moisture makes the air a more efficient conductor, which has a couple of positive consequences. It shortens cook times; and makes the temps through the cooker more even. I think the humidity may actually promote crisping poultry skin at a sufficiently high temperature, rather than leading to the usual flabby skin your birds get from a cooker. And, the full water pan also reduces the radiant heat effect from the bottom of the cooker -- further tuning the pit.

Really, there aren't a lot downsides.

Anyway...

I smoked two 14# turkeys on the same shelf in my Fatboy, with water in the pan.

Method:
These were kosher birds, so not brined as koshering leaves them salty enough. They were left on the counter for two hours to temp.

I dried them thoroughly in and out, then forced truffle butter between skin and meat along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. I seasoned further by rubbing the skin with a simple poultry rub (salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme from our garden); and stuffed the cavity with fresh orange quarters, and fresh lemon and lime halves, a few cloves of peeled garlic, quartered onion, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

I trussed the birds with butcher's twine; tying the legs together, and tying the thighs and wings tight against the breast.

The Fat was preheated to 275F with water in the pan. When the birds went in, the pit lost a lot of heat. They were still cold despite two hours temping on the counter.

The temp target was reset to 290F. It was necessary to open the off-side vent wide open until the target temp was nearly reached to compensate; and it still took quite a while to get to reach 290F. Otherwise, the stack was half open, the guru wide open, and the off side (right side) vent was open about 3/4" as well to hold the desired, high temp throughout.

The fire was made with best quality mesquite lump charcoal, plus 1 oak and 2 peach hardwood splits for smoke. The turkeys were cooked to 170 and 175F at the thigh, respectively. Although the birds were the same size and cooked on the same shelf, one was done about half an hour before the other.

Result:
The skin was surprisingly crisp and, for once (first turkey in the Fat), very palatable in texture and taste. The flesh was smoky enough without being "hammy," the smoke flavor itself was mostly peach with an oak accent and an undertone of mesquite (as hoped); the meat was tender, juicy and delicious. The truffle butter was lost against the smoke, and while I'll continue to use butter I won't bother with truffles again.

Hope this helps next year,
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Re: Turkey question

Postby RickC » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:14 am

boar_d_laze wrote: then forced truffle butter between skin and meat along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. I won't bother with truffles again.

Hope this helps next year,
BDL

Damn, I spent 3 hours at Walmart looking for truffle butter or just truffles to make truffle butter with. Couldn't find it anywhere. What aisle did you find it on BDL?
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Re: Turkey question

Postby realtorguy » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:33 am

I havent gotten a BWS yet, but on my Brinkman I smoke my turkeys over apple juice and have found it adds an amazing sweet taste to my turkeys. ON the BWS the liquid you use will evaporate I would assume right? A full pan is good for a 7 hr cook, enough to do a turkey. How long do you cook your turkeys on BWS?
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Re: Turkey question

Postby RickC » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:43 pm

I don't cook them by time but by internal temp. There are so many variables in each cook that you can't use time as a hard number. You should use it as a general guide as to how long it will take something to cook to the tenderness you are looking for, I.e., I cooked 2 butts the other day, normally it takes about 13 hours to bring them up to the temps I cook butts to. These 2 butts were about 10 lb each and took over 15 hours. The butts I normally pick up at Sam's are in the 7-8 lb range, but I picked up the largest cryopac they had as I was only cooking 2 butts as my freezer supply of pulled pork was running low.
So use time to get you in the ball park and then temp to make it come out perfect :D
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Re: Turkey question

Postby shares » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:18 am

realtorguy wrote:... I smoke my turkeys over apple juice and have found it adds an amazing sweet taste to my turkeys.

I'm always left wondering by these reports - since water boils to pure at 212 sealevel, how in the world could apple, grape or any other kind of juice transfer flavor to the meat? Perhaps in your Brinkman there's some splatter from the boiling juice to baste the bird? I don't get it.
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