Christmas Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by primeaux, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Well here i am again looking for advice. Never done a turkey but i plan to for Christmas. Wanted to get some opinions. BRINE OR NO BRINE before smoking my turkey? RUB? And most important what temp do i set my smoker on? What internal temp to be done but still juicy? Smoke a while and then wrap in foil???? Ready.....GO!
  2. Brine is nice for adding additional flavor. I like to keep the rub simple. Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic (SPOG).

    For temps higher is better if you want crispy skin. I shoot for 325-350. Cook to an IT of 165. Foil rest for 30-45 minutes before cutting up.

    Spatchcocking is the way I do poultry. Allows the bird to lay flat and cook evenly.
  3. mike5051

    mike5051 SMF Premier Member

    I brined and smoked a 12 lb turkey for TG.  Salt and pepper on the outside, that's it.  I put it on the smoker at 325 and checked it at 2 hours.  Breast temp was 175 and thighs were 180!  The turkey was amazing, but I was shocked at how fast it reached those temps.  I had an "organic" turkey with no added solution.  If you get a bird that has additives, I wouldn't brine it.

  4. I'm planning my first turkey also on thanksgiving. I read it takes 8-12 hours but then saw these higher-temp ideas. Where you smoke it between 300-350 and it only takes a few hours. WINNER! I'm not looking for a BBQ style turkey low and slow all day. Our oven sucks inside and cooking outside sounds awesome, especially with great weather here in NY on Christmas.

    So basically little oil, salt/pepper on the outside. I'm going to put some lemon on there also and throw some lemon pieces inside as well, thyme/rosemary... on the smoker for a few hours and we're done... that's pretty much it right?

    Anybody have a recipe for the drippings? I'm going to do a no-water smoke, with a pan under my bird to catch everything... what can i do with those drippings afterwards? How do i make a gravy out of that? I've NEVER even cooked a turkey in the oven before, let along even picked one up.
  5. When i did one on thanksgiving i made an italian herb dry rub..rubbed olive oil all over the bird and then applied the rub under the skin of the breasts and all over the outside of the bird. I cubed up some onions and put em inside the turkey with a little bit of celery. I then injected melted unsalted butter and the rub i used into the breasts and one shot each into the fat part of the legs about 15 mins before putting it in the smoker. I cooked it in the smoker keeping the temps around 325 and it was done vetween 3 1/2 to 4 hours, and it was 19lbs. I pulled it out and wrapped in foil when the breast temp was reading 165. Oh and i used cherry wood and only smoked it for about the first hour or so, i wanted a little smoke flavor but not overpowering or anything.

    The turkey came out juicy as could be. It was my first one, everyone liked it and i will be doing another one soon the same way...
  6. I like to do more of a fruit/citrus style bird. I do mine low and slow and thus have to loosen the skin for additional rub in between but you could certainly avoid that by cooking at higher temps. I use the apple spice brine from the main website If you want it and can't find it I will be glad to post it but it is basically apple juice, OJ, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves boiled then mixed with a salt and sugar brine. My rub is really simple: Apple pie spice and fresh orange zest. I don't measure, just use the smell test. You can also add peanut oil as a binding agent, if no one has nut allergies, which really adds to the flavor. When it's done cooking I peel the skin off, again not necessary if cooked at higher temps, then glaze it with an orange rum glaze and put it in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to set the glaze. I will be happy to post exact recipes if anyone wants me too.
  7. So, whats the deal with the skin when cooked low and slow???
  8. If you smoke poultry low and slow (I think lower than 300) the skin soaks up so much smoke that it is completely inedible. The easiest way to adjust for this if you want to cook low and slow is to very carefully loosen the skin from the meat before cooking. Try not to tear it as you will need it in place during the smoke in order to avoid drying the meat out. I like to apply rub to both the meat and the skin and then I use toothpicks to secure the skin while cooking. Please note that if you like to spatchcock your bird this is not an ideal cook method as your skin will no longer lay flat across the entire surface of the bird and you will have to use foil to compensate. Also, I noticed no difference in cook time with a spatchcocked bird when cooking low and slow ( I usually try to stay between 200-225 as much as possible). This likely changes at a higher temperature.
  9. Got ha! Im still reading through threads and comments and such. Still trying to decide wet brine or dry. I read that wet brine makes for the juciest bird, but in my mind a water soaked anything doesnt sound very delicious lol. I want it to still taste like turkey and not have a dilluted taste
  10. Wet brine does not make a piece of meat water logged. What the liquid does is act like a carrier for the salt, sugar, and some of the other flavorings further into the meat. The salt helps hold moisture and someone else can probably explain the purpose of the sugar other than for balance. IMHO, while a dry brine may be great for adding flavor, a wet brine will always be best for ensuring the highest moisture content in the meat.

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