First time smoking turkey...need advice

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by rob o neill, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. rob o neill

    rob o neill Newbie

    This Saturday I will be smoking my first turkey. I am using a Masterbuilt propane smoker and I'm smoking a 21 lb. bird (I know but it was given to me). I will be soaking it in brine it for at least 24 hours. My question is what temp should I cook it at (was thinking around 250-275) and how long? I'm thinking at 250 it's going to take me roughly 10 hours to cook this thing. ANY advice will help.
  2. rob o neill

    rob o neill Newbie

    If I Spatchcock it how long should I cook it? Looking to smoke it at between 250-275
  3. rob o neill

    rob o neill Newbie

  4. At 275°-300° figure 6.5 hours or so. Remember it is done when it is done, Use the IT in the breast 165°and the thigh 170°.

    Happy smoken.

  5. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Turkey has no tough connective tissue, so there is no benefit to cooking low and slow. Pump up the heat.

    Not sure how big your Masterbuilt propane is, but spatchcocking will double the rack surface area on what is already a huge bird. You may have to halve it to fit on the racks.
  6. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    What he said. To get really juice Turkey, smear soften butter (unsalted) under the skin. Covering as much of the bird as you can.
  7. r hagan

    r hagan Fire Starter

    I usually get the IT up near the 160 range then I foil wrap it in an aluminum pan and put a ton of butter on it. Then I cover it and give it another hour or so.

    Smoked turkey is my favorite.
  8. rob o neill

    rob o neill Newbie

    5 hours 40 minutes and this is the final product. IT 165
  9. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  10. cabinetmansc

    cabinetmansc Newbie


    I did this recipe in 2010 and my 70 year old mother said it was the juiciest best tasting turkey she has ever had. I think the turkey i used was about 17#. And yes, it was my mother talking but I ate it too and it was pretty darn good. 2 years later I tried it again with just OK results the only difference was the second time I was given a turkey and it was frozen not fresh. Let me tell you it makes a HUGE difference. The temperature seemed a little low to me for a nice crispy skin but it did turn out good. Maybe my smoker thermometer was off who knows, maybe someone else has an idea. Regardless here it is:

    Smoking Turkey

    How to Prepare the Turkey

    Prep the turkey next. Remove the giblets and the neck from the body cavity and the neck cavity of the bird. Remove the excess fat from the edges of the skin. Leave as much of the skin on the bird as possible. It protects the meat from drying as it smokes. Rinse the turkey in cold, running water, making sure to clean the body cavity as well as the outside surfaces.

    Another important step of preparation is to separate the skin from the breast. Be very careful that you don't tear the skin as you pull it free. Slowly work it loose with your fingers, from the rear to front, and then down the sides toward the legs. Doing this allows the brine to reach the breast meat.

    Rinse and Dry

    After removing the bird from the brine, rinse it in cold, running water. Make sure you clean the body cavity in addition to the outside surface. Position the bird upright, as if it were dancing, in the kitchen sink to drain. You want most of the water to drain from the body cavity. After five to ten minutes, pat the turkey dry with a towel to ready it for seasoning. Be careful if you use paper towels…they can melt onto the turkey flesh, and the resulting mess can be difficult to remove.
    The Curing Rest

    For the best texture and flavor, let the turkey rest uncovered in the refrigerator for twelve to twenty four hours. This gives the salt and brine flavorings time to distribute evenly throughout the turkey. It allows the salt time to modify the proteins, which will improve the texture and moisture retention.

    Seasoning The Turkey

    The brined turkey can be seasoned with a dry mix of spices and herbs, or with a wet rub. I use a dry mix in the cavity, but I prefer to use a wet rub on the outside surfaces of the turkey. I believe it adheres better, plus the oil in it improves the moistness and color of the smoked turkey. To make a wet rub, mix vegetable or olive oil into the dry ingredients until you have a thin paste.

    The trick to seasoning a brined turkey is to get the flavors under the skin. Remember when you separated the skin from the breast before brining? You were preparing it for seasoning at the same time.

    Again, carefully lift the skin and coat the meat with some of the wet rub. Try to completely cover the exposed flesh. Pull the skin back into place after you've seasoned the bird. I use a couple of toothpicks to hold the skin in place, since it shrinks as it cooks. You don’t want the meat uncovered as it smokes.

    Season the outer surface of the turkey with the remaining wet rub. Get into all the nooks and crannies…under the wings and legs. Next, flavor up the inside of the turkey with dry spices. Try this great turkey dry rub recipe I found at the website After seasoning, I loosely truss the legs together with a length of butchers' string. Now it's ready for the smoker.

    Smoking The Turkey

    Get your smoker up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit before you put in the turkey. Oil the grate to prevent sticking. Maintain a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees throughout the smoking session. I like my smoked turkey to be kissed with a combination of oak and apple smoke, about half and half. Use two or three fist sized chunks, spaced throughout the session…you don't want it to be overpowered with smoke flavor. Normally, it will need to smoke from 30 to 40 minutes per pound. Baste the turkey with a little melted butter a few times as it smokes.

    When the thick part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees, and the breast about 160, it's time to remove the turkey. The temperature will rise after removing it from the smoker. When the breast reaches 150F, cover it with foil to prevent it from being overcooked.

    All that remains is to cover the smoked turkey with a foil tent, and let it rest for at least one-half hour, breast side down, before slicing. This allows the juices and smoke flavor to evenly disperse throughout the flesh as it firms up.
  11. rob o neill

    rob o neill Newbie

    i dont know what happened to the pic

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