type of smoke to use for Turkey

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by electriclouie, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. electriclouie

    electriclouie Fire Starter

    What is the correct method and type of smoke to use for a turkey I have an extra one from Thanksgiving
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hot & fast smoke chamber, if you can...300-325* won't hurt a bird. If it's been injected with broth (frozen birds) you should treat it as compromised muscle meats and follow the 40-140*/4hr guideline (internal temps)...the bigger the bird the hotter the cooker should be. Apple and hickory in combination are good for birds, or solo with apple or other fruit woods...anything milder/sweeter. Cheery is bit too heavy, IMHO, as is mesquite (way too earthy and strong). Oak may be to strong as well, for most people's taste.

    I smoke to around 172-175* I/T in the dark meat and 170-172* I/T in the breasts, whichever comes last. Minimum recommended internal temps for USDA inspected poultry is 165*, but it can be a bit on the red side near the bones, so I push higher, especially in the dark meat. Just try to stay away from the 180*+ mark...that's generally when you can expect the dry bird syndrome to start setting in.

  3. larkinjr

    larkinjr Fire Starter

    I did 2 turkey breast for thanksgiving this year I used cherry chips.B/c when your using the chip loader you have to add chips every 30 or so minutes well life hits and you have something you have to do then you come back a hour later and throw some more cherry chips in. If you don't like much smoke flavor go like a apple/pecan mix or something like that. Now I have a amnps I'm using the perfect mix(hickory,cherry,Apple,maple) it's really good on most anything just adjust your smoking time accordingly. With a Boston butt I smoke whole time with chicken only for 2 hours then cook 2 more hours without smoking whole time with amnps will be a little to smokey for my liking. If you are using strictly the chip loader than I would go buy cherry and apple chips that should cover everything :grilling_smilie:
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  4. smokeindaville

    smokeindaville Fire Starter

    I smoked a turkey breast for Thanksgiving and used the AMNPS pitmasters choice.  It was delicious.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What size? From my research the turkey weight shouldn't exceed 15 lb. although there are people who will smoke a 20 lb. bird.

     First apply a dry rub containing salt and herbs all over the skin and inside the cavity. Remember to get the rub underneath the skin as well. . It will act as a dry brine to draw the juices out from inside the bird which are then redistributed into the meat. Be sure to Keep it uncovered in the fridge overnight. The next day while the smoker's heating up, rub the turkey skin with softened or clarified butter (your choice) or olive oil even mayo to further help to brown and crisp the skin. Place the turkey in a 425° for about 30 minutes to brown and crisp the skin. I'd say warm the smoker up to 225°-250°. It's not necessary to get it any hotter than that for such a relatively small bird (I smoked 12lb. turkey breast in my MES 30 Gen 1 last summer and it turned out great). Then place it upside down in the smoker for about 4-6 hours (which is the half way depending on how long you plan to smoke it) and then turn it right side up again for the rest of the smoke.

    Two ways to check when the turkey's done: 1. When an instant read therm is inserted into the breast the temp should be 165F° but don't sweat it if it's 170°. If the breast is done the dark meat should be done too. I've read recipes stating the dark meat is better if it cooks to between 175-185° but that involves more manipulation of the turkey. My wife just cooked her 23 lb. Thanksgiving turkey to 170° at the breast and all parts of it were cooked perfectly.

    But, honestly, all that I've just told you I didn't do for that boneless turkey breast. I just applied a dry rub and set in my smoker. It took 11 hours to cook at a temp between 235-250°. I use wood pellets and my two favorites are hickory and apple. Mesquite would also be a good choice if you're after a more southwestern flavor profile.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  6. electriclouie

    electriclouie Fire Starter

    You are the "man" thankyou very much I will let you know how it turns out
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, ElectricLouie! And remember that Qview is a friend to all of us. Pics please!
  8. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I've had great results with a buttermilk brine, with a tbsp of poultry seasoning added.  Then smoked with Pitmaster's Choice pellets (Hickory/Cherry/Maple).  
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pitmaster's Choice is an excellent mix.

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