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Smoked turkey for thanksgiving?

Discussion in 'OGF Kitchen' started by Workingman, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. I'm thinking about trying to smoke the turkey this year. Looking for thoughts. I don't have a fancy smoker. I do my work on the Weber kettle grill with Indirect heat. Maybe it's not a good idea? Less chance of success if it's really cold outside? Recipes? Any thoughts or help are greatly appreciated!
     
  2. I do mine every year in the Weber grill. Buy an aluminum rooster pan, season the bird like normal. I like to use one of the Oakridge BBQ seasonings. I also add some liquid of choice to the bottom of the pan because I like the smoked gravy. I add some onion, carrots, celery, apples, in the roaster pan for more flavor. I put charcoal on the sides, and run the grill at about 300-325 so it crisps the skin. Keep watching because if it gets the color you want, you should cover it with foil. I like to mix apple and cherry wood pieces while it is cooking. Weber usually has a guide they put out before thanksgiving. It helped me the first couple years. One thing I’ll do now is ice the breast before I cook it so it is cooler than the rest of the bird. It helps it finish at 165 when the thighs are at 165-170.
     
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  3. FOSR

    FOSR name of Alex

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    Yes the Weber should do well for you. Manage the vents and watch the temp. You can get very close to perfect just by looking at the done-ness. Double-check with a thermometer probe. And yes letting it rest under a foil tent is good.

    I cooked a turkey breast today but since it's so cold outside I did it in the oven to keep the heat in the house, but the same basic principles apply.
     
  4. Try this recipe. Using a bourbon sauce. I use turkey breasts sometimes split with the fat.
    6oz can of frozen orange juice
    1/4 cup or more of bourbon Jim Beam works good
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup oilive oil
    1/4 cup fresh rosemary
    3- garlic cloves
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    wiz that stuff together and marinate for a least an hour I prefer to do it for a couple days.
    Grill on indirect heat to your desired temp.

    Take remaining marinade and combine with 1/2 16oz can of whole cranberry sauce
    cook sauce for at least 10 min at a simmer.
    Slice breasts and serve with sauce

    You can increase the recipe as needed I normally do a double batch
     
    bobk likes this.
  5. Like mentioned above, a foil pan (you can bend the sides/ends as required). Coals on both sides with the pan in the middle. I put foil in the aluminum pan, easier clean up as I get 8+ yrs out of foil pans. I crimp the foil so it does not touch the bottom of the pan, but also keeps the drippings closer together. Spread out they can burn/dry out. I do not add anything to the foil pan. Just the drippings in there.
    [​IMG]
    I shoot for 315* (+/-10*). Over the past 30+ yrs I find that my best spot for poultry. Crispy golden skin. I only use kosher salt on the skin. Nothing else. Fruit wood's, other hardwood like hickory produce a stronger smoke flavor profile. The fruit woods are a touch sweeter and not as heavy. Your choice of course. a couple examples.
    One stuffed, one non stuffed.
    [​IMG]
    I don't have a 22.5 weber anymore. When i use my UDS which uses weber 22.5 grates yours will look similar with the pan under the bird.
    [​IMG]
    180* in the brest, 205* in the thights is what I shoot for. Extremely juicy.
    [​IMG]
    Here is one I hung just to try hanging a turkey a couple weeks ago.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    If you have extra left overs. This freezes great and is a treat for later.
    https://www.ohiogamefishing.com/threads/turkey-fattie.319542/
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
    T-180, Workingman and bobk like this.
  6. Ebi,

    That seems pretty high on internal temp. Do you normally brine? I’ve never taken my turkeys that high, but I’m all ears. Your turkeys look really good. I love the color. I have done them on a bunch of different cookers, but the product always turns out great. Thanks for the info.
     
  7. So, usually for indirect heat on the Weber Kettle I make a small fire on one side and put meat over a pan of water or juice. Sounds like two small fires (one on each side) may be beneficial for turkey for even cooking. Does that sound right? Also, I guess higher temp is ok since not doing "low and slow " like you would for pork or brisket.?
     
  8. Yes to both.
    If you pile coals/wood chunks on either side of the pan. Then put 3 or 4 hot coals on the 2 ends of the pile/rows of unlit coals. Putting those hot coals at opposite ends from each other so you get even temps from end to end. If that makes sense.
    But you can smoke your turkey at 250+. But it takes longer, and you won't get crispy skin unless you pull the pan/drippings and open up your intakes the last 45 or so minutes to crispen up the skin. But if not careful, you can burn/dry out the bird.
     
  9. Thanks!
    I don't brine, never found it to out produce non brined. So I skip the extra work for brining. Same for injecting. I like my turkey to taste like turkey. Not enhanced.
    For me and the multi folks I feed. We all prefer poultry cooked closer to 200*. Still extremely juicy. Fall off the bone. I find the meat is not chewy/rubbery like 165* poultry. Personal preference.
    I cook all my chicken wings to at least 180* but prefer 200*
    An example: These I cooked over pure wood fire in my UDS.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    These are cooked over coal/wood.
    [​IMG]

    For those that like a sweet/fruity turkey. Just something different. Cover your weber coal grate with coals. Enough for 5 hrs of high temp cooking just to be safe. Poor on your starter chimney of hot coals onto the unlit coals. Stuff your turkey with celery, onions, etc. Set your turkey in a foil pan. Pour in ( this is for a 20lb + bird) 1 lg can of pineapple juice. Add apple slices, orange slices. Seasonings of your choice. Set right down onto the hot coals. Not on the cooking grate!
    You will end up hearing the liquid boiling after a bit. Don't worry, with liquid in the pan it won't burn thru. At about the 2 hr mark you will need to add a can of beer/wine for more liquid in the pan. Usually only once do I have to add thru a cook. But keep an eye on it. You really won't believe how good this is till you try it. I don't do this for thanksgiving as I want drippings for making gravy. Not fruity. But that is me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  10. Thanks for all the info/ advice ebi and everyone. I'm gonna go for it! Will post pic and results!
     
    ebijack likes this.
  11. bobk

    bobk

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    Ebijack, I'll be sending you my address. We would like you to have the turkey ready by 1:00. You are welcome to eat with us of course since you did all the work
     
  12. What are the approximate times for smoking the bird at mentioned temperatures ?
     
    Buzzking likes this.
  13. eb, you have taken poultry to a whole new level !!

    To the OP ; you can't hardly mess up a turkey IMO on the smoker. We just dry rub it, throw a few apple slices & celery in the cavity & smoke it over apple & cherry wood until done. We usually let it go to 170-175 internal & it is one of our favorites. A day or two later the leftovers are as good or better as the flavors & smoke blend together. Makes some delicious enchiladas, turkey salad, etc..
     
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  14. It depends on stuffed or not. Stuffed typically add 1 hr
    And what size bird you are looking to cook. 5 hrs for a just over 20lb bird. Around 3.5 hrs for a 12lb. 18lbs around 4 hrs. All at/around 315*.
    Every year I have to do at least 2 birds. So I typically will get the birds that are to be stuffed 2-4lbs lighter than the non-stuffed so they can all come out cooked pretty close to each other. And are all in the smoker at the same time. Just easier for me. If that makes sense.
    If you look at my photo above in my earler post that has 2 birds side by side. The smaller one is stuffed. 13lbs vs 18+lbs on those if I remember right.
     
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  15. Thanks, but I'm always trying new things/ideas. Really pisses my wife off :eek:
    Till she finds she loves some of my experiments. I don't know how else to learn except to try.
    This one the other day was kind of a fail. Only because the skin between the 2 chickens where they touched each other did not get nice and golden brown. I expected that, but thought I'd still get more color down in those areas than what turned out. Won't do again. Still tasted great.
    On 2 of my turkey swings.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    As you can see they were not all the same size birds and did not cook to the same color. All between 180-205* before resting.
    And I tried using my dry rub on the skin instead of just kosher salt. My dry rub is about 60% kosher salt though.
     
  16. Thanks...Last question do you find that the stuffed bird doesn't take as much smoke as the un stuffed bird ?
     
  17. I always have to slice up at least 2 turkeys for the crowd that gathers here. No one has mentioned a difference between the 2. I've never noticed a difference in taste. But if you smoke alot of food.Typically the person doing the smoking has been breathing in all that wonderful aroma (me) all day. So the first meal I eat, I don't taste that much smoke. And no, even cold the next day they taste the same. If that makes sense.
     
  18. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

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    Ebijack, my step-Dad did something like what you described earlier with chicken wings, but on a gas grill. He'd fold multiple layers of aluminum foil into a deep pan, put in the wings, and cover them with a Japanese plum wine. Then he'd fold over the top and close it tight.

    Once the wine started to boil, the foil would puff up. He'd take a knife and punch two vents in the foil so the steam could escape. Eventually all the wine would boil off and he'd open up the foil to allow the wings to crisp up.

    It was amazingly delicious!
     
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  19. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

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    I also have a question about fixin's to serve with a smoked bird.

    Some years back, when deep fried turkeys were becoming all the rage, my Brother and I cooked one for Thanksgiving. Our Mom, who was hosting, made all the usual fixin's for a roasted bird. Stuffing, mashed taters and gravy, sweet potatoes, etc.

    When we sat down to eat, everything was delicious. The deep fried bird more than lived up to expectations, but there was kind of a mismatch. Maybe it's just a personal quirk, but with a fried or grilled bird I wanted more "Summery" sides. Like potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob. Stuff like that. With a roasted bird I want the more traditional stuff. Any comments?

    What do you serve with a smoked turkey?
     
  20. Good point. I'm not sure what fits with smoked turkey. I like it best in a sandwich. I am having a traditional bird on Thanksgiving and smoking one on Friday for leftovers.