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Open Roads Forum  >  Camp Cooks and Connoisseurs

 > Breaking down and smoking a turkey?

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Leo Benson

CT

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Posted: 12/30/20 03:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gkainz wrote:

Do you need to break it down because of smoker rack size? Consider spatchcocking the bird if you can fit it in your smoker. Everything lays flat and gets even smoke and heat.
Also, I smoke poultry as hot as I can get my smoker - ignoring the smoker's mantra of "everything low and slow". Basically, I'm oven roasting birds in my smoker. Eliminates the rubbery skin problem and produces a nice crispy skin.
I can easily get 325-350° in both my wood fired and propane fired smokers.

Yes exactly, due to the rack size.

Leo Benson

CT

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Posted: 12/30/20 03:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the great suggestions, much appreciated!

propchef

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Posted: 01/07/21 07:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great tips!

- Brining isn't "curing" but does a few things. Flavor, of course, but it helps the very lean meat retain moisture. It also give you some "wiggle room" around doneness. IOW, if you overcook it it doesn't dry out.
- Soy sauce should be avoided in any brine as it throws off the salt %. A turkey shouldn't be brined longer than 24 hours. A chicken can be brined in about 90 minutes.
- For the meat to take the smoke, let the sit in the refrigerator UNCOVERED for a few hours. The surface of the meat will dry and become tacky. This is known as a "pellicle" gives something for the smoke to adhere to.
- Gas is a very dry heat and will pull the moisture out of anything it cooks. Seasoned wood has the most moisture with lump charcoal a close second.
- Smoking chips. Use the largest size chips you can find. Some brands are nearly sawdust. Avoid these.
- It isn't necessary to soak chips. The fire will only dry the chips first, and only then will they produce smoke. The key is to keep the o2 levels low by using the lid or draft doors.
- DON'T OVERSMOKE. A large turkey only needs about 30 minutes of actual smoke. I try to add my smoking chips about 30 minutes into the cooking process. Over smoking is bad.
- Get a good wireless thermometer. Dark meat needs to be 180 but the breast is done at 165. The automatic "pop-up" timers go off somewhere between 190 and 225.
- Save the bones and make stock!

Here's my video on how to cut a chicken. It's the same anatomy for a turkey.

https://youtu.be/k6g0wClvASM

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