First time turkey smoke

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by ustvman, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. ustvman

    ustvman Newbie

    Greetings - I have a Masterbuilt 20070213 smoker. I have cooked 3 lb chickens and ribs to perfection. On T-day, I will attempt a 12 lb whole turkey. My concern is time/temp. I used 225 deg previously. Is this a good temp for the turkey, and if so how much time should I allow? Also, what would you recommend for the choice of wood chips? I'm not interested in the brine procedure, and have never used one of those injectors. Please help! Thanks.
  2. Get your temp up to 275° apply smoke to taste and cook to 165° in the breast. Also keep the door closed.

    I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcom.

    Happy smoken.

  3. nrdk

    nrdk Fire Starter

    As David said, toss the smoker to 275, personally I usually plan for 7 hours even though this is overkill, as I know if it gets done early I can always wrap in foil and towels and throw in the cooler as a faux Cambro.

    As far as chips, go for what you enjoy. Last year I went with a mix of cherry and mesquite that added a great flavor to the cajun rub I did, however that was mainly because I did not have an AMNPS yet. This year will be Smoke Daddy Perfect Mix pellets in the AMNPS, set it and forget it while I finish the other side items.
    Hope that's because you already have a brine procedure down. It is truly night and day between brining and not brining when it comes to cooking a turkey, and you will be shorting yourself and your guests if you don't brine the bird beforehand. 

    Good luck and enjoy that smokey deliciousness.
  4. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Be sure you have 2 Probes that have been checked with boiling water. 1 for the bird the other for the CC. I agree with the brine use it. Don't forget us post some pics of your Q
  5. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    Ditto on the 275 cooking temp. I did a 12lber this summer and it took 6 hours but allow extra time as has been said. My bird was also brined overnight.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you like the results you got at 225, on the chickens? K.I.S.S. If you are happy with what you are doing........ Never attempt something new when the chips are down. Smoke a chicken this weekend at 275 and the use your own judgement.

    If you want to brine, practice ahead not on thanksgiving, if you want to inject the same. Try it on that test chicken. You know turkey is actually cheaper than chicken.

    Whatever you decide, do a test run first. Use a chicken, use a turkey, but do a test before Thanksgiving is my best advice.

    BTW I like pecan, but I have trees on the property. Lovely color and a wonderful aroma.
  7. ustvman

    ustvman Newbie

    Thanks for the response(s)..sooo, once again, my bird is 12lb. The range of temps offered is quite broad - 225 - 275! Since I am having a large group over, what is the approx time for each temp? I don't want to keep folks waiting.
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I cannot comment on time at higher temperature but I will agree with the others about brine. I always brine turkeys now. I also always spatchcock turkeys too. Like foam said, get a chicken and do what you want to do on the turkey. Test run. Then you will know. Even better get two and try one with brine and one without. Just don't forget to rinse and dry after soaking. Very important for good skin and salt reduction. Once you do a brined bird right you will never go back.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've cooked a turkey breast but never a whole turkey. What you also need to be aware of his keeping the turkey out of the Danger Zone, which means the IT must be 140 degrees or above within 4 hours. Otherwise you're looking at potential bacterial contamination which will render eating the turkey unsafe. Keep a close watch on your meat therm. Consult a chart about cooking time. A 12-lb. turkey shouldn't take (relatively) that long at 225, which seems like a good temp to me.

    We tried brining our turkey two years. What resulted was an overly-salted turkey. My wife just places aromatics in the cavity and shmears mayo or butter or oil on the skin and rubs on various herbs. She won't let me use an injector, tells me I can only use it on roasting chickens since this is HER recipe. Harumph! She then cooks it upside down in the oven. Her finished turkeys are among the best I've ever tasted.

    You could try apple, cherry, hickory, oak, or mesquite wood chips or some combo of your own making. Pecan is a very popular wood for smoking pulled pork and pork ribs in the South.  
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Now that is strange. I have never noticed any added saltiness from brining other than the time I forgot to wash the brine off before smoking. Maybe try a different type of salt in your brine. I use sea salt. The pinkish stuff that comes from glaciers in the himalayas. Did you have turkeys that already had the solution added? If so brining would be point moot I suppose. I try to find birds that have not already been injected with whatever they use to add weight and rip us off. Same goes for Hormel hams and Butts.etc....
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I believe I did wash off the brine since that was part of the instructions but I really don't fully remember. We bought some pink Himalayan salt from Costco a while ago but have yet to use it. I thought about using it someday when I try my hand at pastrami.

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