Archive for November, 2013

Nov 28 2013

Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey

Published by under Food

I did this last year and didn’t document anything, so now I am!  SCIENCE!!!



So, we got a 17 lb Foster Farms fresh turkey from Costco.  We stuck it in the freezer because we got it about 10 days before Thanksgiving.  We pulled it out on Sunday night and let it thaw in the fridge mostly, with maybe 8-10 hours on the counter.  Even after leaving it out most of this morning, there was a little ice left in the cavity.

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Really, I’m not drinking.  Yet. For all things smoking, I rely on, a great resource for beginners and experienced folks.  I followed most of the instructions on turkey here. According to Foster Farms’ website, they don’t inject anything, so I was responsible for salt content.  I am a little worried I might have too much, but we’ll see.  I dry brined with salt a day ahead – just a little sprinkled on the skin and rubbed in.  When I got it out of the fridge this morning, the skin looked pretty dry on top, but the rest of the skin was still pretty wet and soft. I made a batch of AmazingRibs’ Simon & Garfunkel Spice Blend & Baste (can you guess what’s in it?) and put it in some olive oil to blend into a wet rub.  I put a little salt in the rub too – this is worrying me that I have too much salt over all.

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Then I got all up under the skin and worked it in.

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I had trouble last year because I ripped the skin near the leg and it looked not pretty:


And I did pretty much the same thing this time:

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Dang it.  The skin is very thin there.  Elaine suggested stitching it, but I didn’t want to make a Frankenturkey. Next, I’d tried injecting last year and it came out great.  So I combined the little rub I had left with low sodium chicken stock, salt, sugar, and butter – I’m getting hungrier typing this…

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Years from now I’ll look back and wonder what the hell I was doing with that moustache…  It’s for Movember, a men’s health charity thingybob.  Please Donate!  😉 Now into the smoker, which has been pre-heating and has the water tray in already:


I covered up the legs and wings for the first hour with foil to keep them from getting over cooked:


Then I remembered I was supposed to put aromatics in the cavity!  I quartered an onion, put in some fresh rosemary, lemon peel, and garlic:



I used oak and cherry wood and sealed it up!  I got the temp up to 325ish (it keeps jumping around up to 340) and let it smoke:

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An hour later I popped it open to get the foil off of the legs and wings:

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That back wing was tricky to reach!

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The color is beautiful!

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It’s all sealed back up now, and 3+ hours in the meat temp is at 130F! An hour or so later and it’s done!  163F in the deepest part of the breast.


A proud daddy!


Up close:


Now it’s time to rest and get to the Thanksgiving party!

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I’ll try to get some carved shots in an hour or so!

I’m back!  Daaaaamn!  It was good!  Not too salty or dried out like I feared.  Very tasty and moist!


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Not too smokey at all.  My buddy made a rotisserie turkey and mine definitely had a smoky flavor while his had a more poultry one, so they were both good.

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Plated smoky awesomeness:

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Dueling Carci!  😉

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So, overall I’m very happy with the results.  The butter injection didn’t seem to impart a butter flavor, but it sure was juicy.  The skin wasn’t crisp, but I couldn’t expect that after an hour or so of foiling so we could get to our party.  It was still tasty but the smoke was super strong in the skin.  I wonder what a lighter smoke would produce.  We WERE drinking some heavy beers, so the heavy smoke complimented that well.

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