Smoking larger Turkeys

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jazzybiker, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. jazzybiker

    jazzybiker Newbie

    Hey Everybody,

    Longtime reader, first time posting.  With Easter coming up, I wanted to get some thoughts on smoking larger Turkeys.  Last spring, I smoked a 27 pound bird successfully in my little upright, single-burner, propane smoker.  Given it's size and the associated internal temp risks, "low and slow" would not get the job done, so I essentially roasted it in the smoker, giving it smoke the first two hours. It was good for my first time with such a large turkey, but not perfect, and I've been waiting a whole year to try this again.  Here's what I did last time..

    -Brined in water, salt, brown sugar, and whole peppercorns for 24 hours

    -Stuffed w/ quartered Apples and Onions, tied legs

    -Rubbed skin with olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper, garlic powder

    -Pinned wings back

    -Smoker set to ~325 for about 5 hours 'til internal breast temp was 165F.  I used two 2" chunks of hickory, one after the other, for smoke.

    When I pulled it out, the skin was dark, almost black, and the legs had drawn back away from the ends.  Underneath it, the white meat was JUICY and had really good flavor.  Legs and thighs were good and smokey, but maybe a little over.  The biggest thing I noticed was that the lower 2/3 of the wings were way over cooked.

    My questions and thoughts are this..

    1. How do I get the skin brown and crispy?  Should I not grease it before I add the rub?

    2. Should I have pulled it 20 mins sooner and rested it?  Maybe that would solve my issue with the overdone dark meat?

    3. Should I not have pinned the wings?  They were cooking against the grate the whole time.

    Lemme know your thoughts.
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum

    Do you think stuffing the cavity and tying the legs may have forced you to cook it a bit longer then needed?  I would think that leaving the cavity empty and trussed open will allow the smoke and heat to cook the breasts from the inside.  

    Since you are cooking at 325 I bet you can go ahead and inject the bird to help keep it moist.

    I wonder why the breasts where black?  

    All in all it sounds like you did a great job.  Look forward to reading about the next one.
  3. I haven't tried this but I have ready about smoking the turkey at a lower temp for about three to 3 and a half hours then transferring it it a turkey fryer. That would get you crispy skin and juicy meat. Keep in ,ind this is theory and I have never actually tried it, but I really want to. 
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    I've done that with chicken wings for buffalo wings and they came out well.  May have to give a try with a full turkey, I have grease in the fridge that I need to use and this may be a way to do it!

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