first time turkey


 

Charlie Fry

New member
hello all, im gonna try smoking a turkey for the first time this thanksgiving and im thinking of using the apple brine recipe. I will be using the 18 in wsm and also the thermoworks billows to help me keep temps steady. Is 350 the ideal temp to shoot for? can i spatchcock the turkey with this brine recipe? gonna split turkey with neighbor, we both only have a couple people to feed. and thought it would be easier to split. Sorry for all the questions but I really want this turkey to turn out good. Any tips or suggestions appreciated.
 

Bob Bailey

TVWBB Super Fan
I love smoked meats, but nothing heavy for holiday turkey. I dry brine overnight with Kosher salt (1/2 tsp/lb.) and herbs, stuff the main cavity with citrus and herbs, cover the horizontal surfaces with bacon, smoke (lightly) @225 (using a pellet pooper and smoke tube) until the bacon is crispy and then remove it and up the temp to 350 until thighs reach 175 degrees internal. I do it on a rack, in a shallow pan and save the juices for gravy. Been doing this for several years and everyone goes back for seconds.. Nobody seems to miss the in-bird dressing. I boil and dice the giblets and add them, along with the nectar they created while boiling, to the cornbread & sausage stuffing and the gravy.

Owch! making myself hungry now :D
 

GrantT

TVWBB Super Fan
Spatchcocking turkey is (IMO of course) the best way to do turkey, particularly if you do not care about the presentation/carving the bird thing at the table.

I just did (Canadian Thanksgiving was this last weekend) a 14 pound turkey, spatchcocked, and cooked at 425 in a large roasting pan. Was done in 90 minutes. Bonus - backbone etc makes for great gravy making the day beforehand. Incredibly juicy white meat. When I can find fresh turkeys on sale, I pre-cut them in half and then freeze them separately so we can do half-turkey meals...more than enough for the 5-6 of us.

We do our stuffing in the Instantpot now too and do not miss it being in the bird.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
for years now i have cut up my turkey like a chicken, into legs, thighs, breasts with wings and wet brined and then dry rubbed aromatics before cooking it on my gasser. for crisp skin 325/350 is all that's needed, indirect heat of course. my cook times have run around 100 minutes for 16# birds using this prep method. i'll post some pics for your reference. it's the only way i'll ever do a turkey and it's the best way for moist, juicy and flavorful turkey, IMO and from my experience(s).
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
Those crabs were for brunch/football until dinner was ready. We usually do a seafood spread that morning. Lobster, shrimps and crabs and mimosas. Oh, and spinach dip. That's a 29 year tradition now. And served with a crusty sourdough round loaf.
 
Last edited:

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB All-Star
Looks good, didn't know you had any crabs.....
Maybe go for that route myself, maybe, my intention was to make most of the bird and everything else like the carcass into a gigantic soup.
Have a 15 # bird, don't really want a turkey dinner......
 
Also interested in a few things, we have a turkey and I was going to cut it into pieces before smoking, also afraid of rubbery skin.

Regardless of how I cook it, I always butcher the turkey down into pieces. Just makes it so much easier to cook each piece as it needs to be cooked. And cutting up the turkey is so Zen.


To get crisp skin, any or all of the usual chicken skin tricks can be employed: salt brine, fridge uncovered overnight, baking powder, pat skin dry, puncture skin, brush skin with butter or oil, higher heat roasting temp, finish in oven and/or under the broiler.

A cooking temp under 325F will give you good smoked turkey meat. But not good turkey skin.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Pro
I guess I'm old school, or maybe just old.

Thanksgiving turkey is oven roasted. Sometimes stuffed, sometimes not.

I brine for 12 hours then let sit in the fridge for 12 hours. Let sit on the counter take the chill off for an hour or so. 30 mins before it goes in the oven it gets a crushed ice pack in a gallon zip lock on the breast.

Preheat to 450f. Bird goes in for 45 mins at 450, then set oven to 325.

I pull it when breast IT and thigh IT are above 155 and rest about an hour.
 

C Lewis

TVWBB Super Fan
I always spatchcock and dry brine overnight, never a wet brine, just isn't worth the mess in my opinion. 350F-400F is perfect, and will give you crispy skin, (no water in the pan). I do mist the turkey occasionally.
If this is your first turkey, I would HIGHLY suggest that you do a practice run before you risk ruining the Thanksgiving turkey though. It's a small price to pay to make sure that your plan comes out good. You can always freeze the first one and vacuum seal and have another time. Good luck.

Charlie
 

ChuckH

TVWBB Super Fan
Heck with the turkey! Those are a couple of nice, nice looking Dungeoness crabs you got there. My granddaughter and I can sit and eat three of those with nothing more than a couple of napkins, a juice box for her and a cold IPA for me. Now that’s living!
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
Looks good, didn't know you had any crabs.....
Maybe go for that route myself, maybe, my intention was to make most of the bird and everything else like the carcass into a gigantic soup.
Have a 15 # bird, don't really want a turkey dinner......
if you do cook the turkey as a dinner, you could always make turkey burritos with the leftovers. bury the meat with some stuffing, cranberry sauce and a thin spread of sweet potatoes and boom, a thanksgiving burrito. pretty good use of leftovers and neater than a sandwich if you buy a big enough tortilla wrap.

i've been trying to get out of making a turkey this year and everyone but the wife voted no on turkey. she, however, overruled us all. so much for each vote being equal. i still may try this again as we come back from vacation on thanksgiving week and maybe she'll just be done with food that she won't want a turkey. once can wish.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
Heck with the turkey! Those are a couple of nice, nice looking Dungeoness crabs you got there. My granddaughter and I can sit and eat three of those with nothing more than a couple of napkins, a juice box for her and a cold IPA for me. Now that’s living!
i'll have to find some pics of the grilled lobsters. those were pretty epic with some kerrygold drawn butter. i much prefer T-giving breakfast more than dinner. but i like seafood more than just about any other meal. i'm thinking it's now time to brine and cold smoke some salmon. night time temps are low enough now and who doesn't love some lox?!?!?!?!?!
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Pro
I guess I'm old school, or maybe just old.

Thanksgiving turkey is oven roasted. Sometimes stuffed, sometimes not.

I brine for 12 hours then let sit in the fridge for 12 hours. Let sit on the counter take the chill off for an hour or so. 30 mins before it goes in the oven it gets a crushed ice pack in a gallon zip lock on the breast.

Preheat to 450f. Bird goes in for 45 mins at 450, then set oven to 325.

I pull it when breast IT and thigh IT are above 155 and rest about an hour.
you're missing out on all that fresh air and beautiful skies we get for T-giving by cooking inside. a grilled bird is pretty spectacular, IMO. give it a shot. literally, it's set and forget for 100 or so minutes. near zero work once it's on the grill. (i do a quick sear, direct fire to mark the skin and start the sear, to start, then go indirect skin side down for 75% o the cook and then skin side up for the last 25%).
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Pro
you're missing out on all that fresh air and beautiful skies we get for T-giving by cooking inside. a grilled bird is pretty spectacular, IMO. give it a shot. literally, it's set and forget for 100 or so minutes. near zero work once it's on the grill. (i do a quick sear, direct fire to mark the skin and start the sear, to start, then go indirect skin side down for 75% o the cook and then skin side up for the last 25%).
I smoke and grill turkey, just not on Thanksgiving.
 

Joe Anshien

TVWBB Wizard
I have spun them on the Ronco a few times, Spun them on the grill a few times both gas and kettle, and used the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-less Liquid Propane Turkey Fryer a bunch of times, and even fried them about 3 times. I like experimenting, all came out great and had their merits. Fried may have been my favorite but it made no sense to spend $50 for oil to cook a $15 turkey, then deal with all the left over oil. The Big easy always came out great with crispy skin and the added bonus of drippings for gravy plus no oil to buy, the Ronco meant I did not have to keep going outside. I have not decided about this year yet.
 

 

Top