Smoking a couple of turkeys
Smoking a couple of turkeys this Friday. Any words of wisedom. I'm using oak in an offset smoker, and I will be brining. Not sure what spices I should use for a rub.
My dad uses a mix of garlic, salt, cracked black pepper, oregano, sage, and a pinch of chili. He gets it into the crevices and under the skin, and he usualy "washes" the inside cavity with lemon juice.
My dad makes a fine turkey.
personally, i think hickory or cherry wood makes for better tasting turkey while smoking.....JMHO
We smoke our turkeys for 1-2 hours (depending on size) at around 200F, then finish them in the oven at 350F. If you smoke at low temperatures for the full cooking time, the skin will be as tough as old leather.
I like to add some spices to the brine, usually bay, peppercorns, juniper and also some dried thyme, oregano, marjoram.
What I was taught: add enough salt(stir well) to float a raw egg then add your spices and herbs,brown sugar I then after sufficant brining let the bird air dry ........then smoke,I've also dry brined with the salt and brown sugar as the basic it worked well being that I had acsess to pear trees I use the wood.I had at the time a wooden box smoker with a metal tunnel to channel the smoke from the (only wood)fire it was fun and so tasty.I sweet pickeled the pears
You don't NEED to use a rub.
When I do turkey I put my rub in the brine. It's the best way in my mind. That way it picks up a little of the rub flavour all through the meat but isn't too strong.
I also use apple wood.
Other than that, make sure you allow plenty of time. It can take a while.
I love the flavor of hickory on turkey. It's almost bacon-y. Haven't had a problem with leathery skin, maybe because I cook mine a bit hotter and faster.
I use an offset smoker as well - I'd recommend smoking using the firebox for 2-3 hours (which should be around 200-250 degrees), then building a fire in the cooking chamber and continue roasting the turkey over indirect heat, now at around 350-375 degrees until the turkey is done. If you're using oak logs, toss a bunch into the firebox to increase the heat, rather than building the fire in the chamber.
When smoking Turkeys, delicate is still best.
At the restaurant, our Pit barbecue ran on charcoal, and we would add logs of alder, apple, maple or oak for smoke. We would put the brisket in 1st and really hit it with smoke, then came the pork butts, then the ribs & turkeys, last the chicken.
The point was we used less and less smoke for each addition. The turkey only received a light hit of smoke the chicken hardly any at all, just the charcoal.
It worked very well and the smoke flavour was there, just "in balance"
The other important rule is to brine 2 days ahead. After 24 hours, rinse the bird and pat dry. The put it back in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hour to allow the skin to dry. Just before cooking, add your flavourings/rubs and put it in the smoker. This way you can get crispy skin.
Don't let your smoker run hot. Keep it under 275 degrees and go long and slow (up to 5 hours for a really big bird.
If using a stuffing, make it hot before stuffing the cavity or you may have some salmonella issues. Otherwise the cold stuffing will keep your bird in the danger zone for too long and you risk over cooking the breast to get the stuffing hot.
Hey Folks, a heart felt thank you for all the help.
I really appreciate this cyber-community of folks.
What did we do before the internet? I probably screwed
up more meals than I care to remember.