breast up or down?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by dfox, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. dfox

    dfox Newbie

    When smoking a turkey or chicken should it be breast up or down? Also what is a good brine recipe and does the whole bird need to be submerged or not in the brine and for how long? I'm new to smoking. Thanks
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Typically I smoke my birds with the breast up. You will get the best results brining the whole bird. Brining is for flavor so you want it all to taste the same. I typically brine my birds overnight, pull, rinse and let air dry for 8-12 hours in the fridge. To get a good crispy skin smoke your birds in a smoker at temps above 275*. Check out my last cook for some good information:
  3. Dirtsailor has you covered.

  4. tbjoebbq ss

    tbjoebbq ss Fire Starter

    I cook my turkeys breast down.  I am sure that everyone is split on this.  Cook two, one breast up, one down and see shich one you like better.

    Gives you an excuse to cook another turkey.
  5. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep try both ways and keep the one you like, that being said I am a breast up man
  6. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  7. dfox

    dfox Newbie

    Thanks for the help guys. Any good brine recipes to share?
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  9. jpayer

    jpayer Fire Starter

    I prefer breast side down because the back of the bird has a lot of fat which helps self bast the breast which could become dry otherwise. Good luck and happy smoking
  10. I do both, I use a Weber 22.5 OTG Kettle and a Smokenator insert.  I cobble up something to hold the turkey about 2 inches below the normal food grate level.  The turkey gets parked in a rib rack/roast rack dual purpose unit and that sits in a pan to catch the juices.   I have two of the rib racks.  About 2/3 of the way through the smoke, I take the second rib rack, invert it over the turkey.  The handles of the two rib racks should match up.  Makes it very easy to flip the bird, you just need to watch the tail of the bird for juices coming out.  So I when I pick the bird up sitting in the two rib racks, I move it slightly so the butt is centered over the pan to capture juices during the flip.  Then it's a 180 degree rotation on the horizontal axis.  Set it back down in the pan and it finishes smoking breast down. 

    Since I am using the Smokenator setup, the heat is indirect but from one side, so I'll usually give the pan a 180 degree turn so it will cook the far side evenly.  No heat coming from below, so the juices drain back into the turkey breast.  I don't have much experience with cooking turkeys, but happened into this by chance.  It, along with a couple of other tricks, really turned my turkey from average into excellent.  I've eaten T-day Turkey for over 50 years and for the first time, I prefer mine to any I've tasted before.  Not something I can say about many of the other things I cook.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  11. i would say breast up, thats the way i roll in my smoker. especially if you have a vertical why would u want breast down towards the heat? i havent seen enough fat on a turkey to self baste itself...if youre smoking correctly temp wise and stick to it you shouldnt have to worry about dry birds. ive never spritzd a turkey or anything other than rub it down and put her in the chamber. we had a buddy who came over with his family who brought a small oven roasted turkey, and i smoked mine...end of the day i was left with a carcass from my turkey and a whole turkey that came with him. nobody ate that thing, lol.

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