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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-11-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
1jkemp
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Default Trial Turkey

This was my first smoke on my new to me WSM, also my first time smoking a turkey. I bought an 11 lb butterball on Tuesday, thawed it in the fridge all week, and smoked it on Sunday. Temps were in the area of 280 for most of the cook with a full gravy pan. Used two small apple chunks and local lump.

On the smoker


Finished, removed gravy pan for last twenty minutes to firm up the skin


Carved


If you are looking for an excellent roll recipe, I have had great success with this one: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recip...er-buns-recipe I used the potato flower but skipped the non-fat dry milk this time and did not notice the difference.



Next time I will use a smaller gravy pan that should let the temp get a little higher. I probably won't go as crazy with the rub next time either, this was based on amazingribs' recipe. I will also use more apple chunks, as this bird didn't taste very smoky.

My ET-732 was reading about 10* higher than my CDN instant read thermometer. Moved my meat probe around a few times and instant probed it all over to make sure my coolest spot hit 160. I was worried that the Maverick meat probe was conducting heat down to the tip since so much of it is exposed, making it read artificially high. I am confident in its accuracy when it's buried in a 12 lb hunk of beef, but I went with the instant read temps on this turkey. Has anyone had a similar experience?
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Unread 11-11-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
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Nice presentation on the bird. Are you making any changes after this trial?
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Unread 11-11-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fwismoker View Post
Nice presentation on the bird. Are you making any changes after this trial?
Well, I will definitely use less rub and more smoke wood. I'm not going to apply any rub under the skin and but will probably still use some sage and thyme with oil on the skin and in the cavity. I'm also thinking about using a fresh turkey that I will brine. Still need to reserve one though.

You can see in the first picture how massive my gravy pan is. I had trouble getting temps up to where I wanted, target temp of 325*. Wide open, full basket of lump started via Minion, 2 hours in, and I couldn't get grate temp up over 300*. At the end, I took out my gravy pan, left the turkey on the smoker, took the gravy inside, strained it, then by the time I got back outside my grate temp was approaching 400*. I closed all the vents and left the top cracked, but had trouble getting it back down below 350*. Again, first time using a WSM. Overall though, I was very impressed with how well it help temp and I am looking forward to using it for some butts next weekend.

If anyone has suggestions for a better turkey for Thanksgiving let me know. Appreciate the help.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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The temp increase wasn't all from taking out your pan as much as it was the oxygen you introduced to your fire. Always always keep your top vent open 100% and it can't hurt to close your bottom vents if you'll have the top off like that to get stuff out.

The pan size could have interfered somewhat with airflow a little... i use a drip pan with turkeys but use a smaller one to catch some drippings but let some get by to drip in the fire...adds flavor and get's good flow. Practice some more and you'll get your temps up no problem.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 01:23 PM   #5
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Nice looking bird.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Looks great!
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Unread 11-11-2013, 02:23 PM   #7
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Looks good!

Minion method is to get the charcoal off to a slow start. If you're looking for higher temps, try to get all of the charcoal lit at the outset either by filling a couple chimneys or leaving the cooker open until the charcoal is fully lit.

I can't tell if you left the water pan out or used it to support the gravy pan, but you could put the gravy pan on the bottom grate and leave the water pan out. Later in the cook you can get more heat on the bird by taking out anything between the bird and charcoal and benefitting from some radiant heat from the coals.

If you're happy with the results you got, don't tweak it too much! No need to mess with success.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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Glad the first turkey went well. Looks good. Good job cutting that bird up.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
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Glad your trial went well. Nice looking bird and biscuits...
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Unread 11-11-2013, 06:11 PM   #10
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looks good and thanks for the bun recipe!
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Unread 11-12-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
1jkemp
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Thanks for the advice and kind words.

I did not have the water pan or foiled terracotta diffuser in place. Just the lump, the huge gravy pan on the middle shelf, and the turkey on the top. I tried adding a lit chimney part way through, and it didn't seem to make much difference. I think the smaller gravy pan will help. And I will let the coals get fully lit next time around.

For Thanksgiving, I'm thinking of trying a fresh turkey and SmokinOkie's poultry rub and holiday brine from http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=95615

Carved with my freshly sharpened $12 Rapal Fish'n fillet knife. Just like filleting a really big crappie.
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