Questions On My First Smoked Turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by huskerphil, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    It has been a while since I posted, but I'm in charge of the turkey this year so I decided I better try out a smoked turkey for the first time on my Traeger, a Lil Tex Elite.  As we speak my 15lb turkey in brining in the Slaughterhouse brine.  Can't wait to see how that brine works out.

    I had a few questions regarding my smoked turkey which I hope some of you can help with.

    1.  I've been asked to try and save the drippings from the turkey to use for gravy.  My Lil Tex Elite has its own drip pan, but a lot of stuff that falls on it usually is heated up and not useful.  Is it ok to set my turkey in an aluminum foil pan?  Will doing that affect the amount of smoke that gets into the bird?  Will turning the bird help with that?

    2.  Can anyone suggest a good rub that will compliment the Slaughterhouse brine.  I had to buy a pre-brined bird so keeping the salt intake down would be good.  For my first turkey I just want a basic rub that showcases the turkey flavor.  Any ideas would be great!

    3.  I'm going to take the bird out of the brine tonight and set the turkey in the fridge so I can get some crispier skin.  Should the rub go on after the turkey has sat in the fridge and I'm close to starting smoke?

    4.  And finally what wood/pellets would work best.  I was thinking about two different types, maybe Mesquite and Apple?  I again don't wany anything too powerful, just something that compliments the turkey flavor.

    I'm planning on smoking at 325*F and hopefully it takes 4-5 hours.  I read that is the best temp to achieve crispy skin.

    I'm sure most of these questions have been asked a ton of times before.  But rather than searching for hours I thought I would make my own post.  I appreciate your thoughts and hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.  I will be sure to get some pics and post a Q-View of this.  Happy Smoking!!!

  2. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Howdy Phillip!

    I've tried using drip pans before.  Sometimes it has worked, sometimes not.  If you plan to place the bird in a foil pan, I suggest elevating it with a wire rack of some sort (like the kind that stands meat off of the bottom of crock pots or broiler pans).  This way, smoke hits the underside of the bird.  You can also "lift" the wire rack a bit by crumpling balls of aluminum foil and placing them under the rack to hold it up a little further.  Just make sure you have enough of them to support the full weight.

    As far as rub, Chef Jimmy has a great rub recipe here, along with his brine:

    As far as timing, I rub the bird after it dries.  For me, it sticks better, and there is less chance of overseasoning the outside of it.

    Wood blend preferences vary by person.  I think your apple and mesquite combination could be tasty.  However, mesquite can be a little overpowering to most people's palates if not used in moderation.  Myself, I'm using a blend of apple and pecan this Thanksgiving (and maybe a little peach, if I feel adventurous).  My advice is to think of your audience and the type of smoke they would like, and also consider how the wood compliments your brine and rub flavor profiles.

    Best of luck with your turkey!
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Since it's a Holiday, I won't mention the 500 posts already this week asking these same questions. Or the 437 pages of answers you'll get by taking 11 seconds to type the word "Turkey" into the search bar. Nope, I'm not gonna mention that at all.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope your bird turns out well.
  4. Thank you both so much for the replies.  I really appreicate it.  I think I will try smoking the turkey in an aluminum pan and see how it turns out.  And I think I've changed my mind to trying an Apple/Hickory smoke.  But lighter on the Hickory.  Thanks again for the help!
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like a nice herb & pepper flavor on turkey - I found 1 heaping Tbs of poultry seasoning 2 heaping Tbs. of fresh ground pepper mixed with a stick of softened butter - rub that both over and under the skin. Gives great flavor without being over pronounced.

    I just put the drip pan on the shelf bellow the turkey with about 2 C of low sodium chicken broth in it (otherwise the drippings hit a dry pan and just evaporate).

    I agree with the apple wood, or if you don't have it then just go light on the hickory.

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