17-lb turkey smoke

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by donnylove, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Today I'm smoking a 17.7-lb fresh to frozen turket that I got from a Hutterite colony last year. Since it is so large, I'm smoking it beer can-style at 275*. Hopefully that will keep me from being in the danger zone for too long. Many thanks for Walking Dude for his help on this one. Here are my initial pics. More updates as they come . . .

    Here's the bird in the brine. My brine consists of water, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat beer, kosher salt, brown sugar and Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning.


    Here's the bird on the can and ready for some smoke. I used a 46 oz apple juice can, which fit the cavity very well. Left half of the apple juice in the can, added a beer and some more cajun seasoning.


    I also wanted to share a modification I made yesterday to my MES. I've wanted a more accurate measure of temperature and various locations and I want something that is more permanent than just running a probe in through the vent. So I cut a hole in the side (from the inside and then from the outside) and inserted cork stoppers in from each side (with a small whole drilled all the way through. This allows me to run the probe in from the side at a specific level in the chamber. I will probably add a similar port to the other side of the box at a different height once I'm sure that I like how it's working. Thanks for looking
     
  2. irishteabear

    irishteabear Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking good.
     
  3. builder59

    builder59 Smoke Blower

    Looking forward for some pics when it is done. It sounds like it's going to be awesome.

    Ron
     
  4. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good start on the turkey my friend. Be careful that the therm case doesn't melt when it is directly attached to the smoker's external wall. I'm speaking from experience, I now have a wooden block that has magnets on one side, and washers on the other side. Block attaches to the smoker, and therm attaches to the block. I haven't had one therm melt since doing this. It's all good, enjoy your smoke.
     
  5. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Well after the first hour, I was having trouble maintaining temperature in the chamber. The digitial readout on my MES showed 270+*, but my probe had me at just 199*, which won't cut it, especially on a bird of this size.

    I took the water pan out and ten minutes later I'm at 266* on the probe (in the chamber). Hopefully the liquid in the can and the apple juice I'm spritzing with will keep things moist enough. I'll take an interim picture and post it at the two-hour point. I'm interested to see if that first hour with lower temperatures will force me to put the bird in the oven to get out of the danger zone in the fourth hour. Stay tuned . . .
     
  6. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good so far. I wouldn't worry about the moisture from the water pan. I've done beer can chickens on the grill and they come out super moist.
     
  7. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    2 hrs in and I'm at 118 degrees deep in the breast . . .
     
  8. irishteabear

    irishteabear Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great! [​IMG]
     
  9. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Nice job [​IMG]. You'll make the temp ok, good catch on removing the water pan.
     
  10. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the compliments!

    142* in the breast at the 3-hr mark. Starting to look very pretty and smells wonderful . . .
     
  11. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Final results . . . the breast hit 168 just after 5 pm for a total smoke time of about 5 hrs, 15 mins. I let it rest (tented) for about half an hour, then carved one breast for dinner (grilled zucchini and garlic french bread on the side). The turkey smelled wonderful as I carved it (very much like the brine I soaked it in) and I found it to be very moist, but I was a bit disappointed in the flavor over all. At the very surface of the breast, I could taste smoke, but much of the breast meat just tasted like normal turkey. It was perfectly good turkey. Just not as smokey as I'd like. I only used maple and I used chips instead of chunks, which I'm starting to think is a mistake with the MES. The chips seems to burn up very fast. Anyone else have any experience with maple? In the past I've smoked turkeys with apple, cherry, and mesquite, with better results in terms of smoke flavor. I also think I could've used more salt in my brine. All in all though, it was a successful smoke and more proof that you CAN smoke a big bird without worrying about the danger zone. Thanks for looking (final pics are below)!
     
  12. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Another thought . . . the skin (and fat layer) on this bird was formidable. Thicker than I've ever seen before, which certainly helped keep it moist, but does it also inhibit smoke penetration? I'm reaching here . . . [​IMG]
     
  13. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    good looking bird dude...........and thankx for letting me know i din't post the total length of time it took mine.........i corrected that........

    POINTS !
     
  14. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice lookin turkey there! That be a fine job!
     
  15. hhookk

    hhookk Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thats a beautiful bird. I can't wait for the cold to end so I can get back outside and start smoking again.
     
  16. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks everyone!
     
  17. Fine job on that bird!!
     
  18. grothe

    grothe Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beautiful lookin bird....great job!!
    [​IMG]
     
  19. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great. Beautiful color. [​IMG]
     

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