Smoked Turkey

January 24, 2016; Ambient temp was 65-70 with only a slight breeze.

Preface – This did not turn out well and serves as a good learning experience.20160124_Turkey raw

Thawed the 13-lb bird the day before. Removed from bag and trimmed an hour before the smoke. Removed backbone and butterflied. Rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with Simon & Garfunkel seasoning and salt. Setup Weber with foil on non SnS side to catch drippings and channel air. Misted bird with water.

  • 3:50 – Grate temp with Thermoworks was at 325 so added bird. Dome was 400.
  • 4:15 – Grate was 256 so opened up lower vent to 1/2
  • 4:25 – Grate was at 265 and rising. Dome at 345.
  • 4:45 – Grate was at 296 and rising. Dome at 350 so opened lower grate to 3/4.
  • 5:30 – Grate was 270 and not rising. Added 1/2 chimney of lite coals and changed lower vent o 1/2 and upper to 1/3.
  • 5:35 – Grate was at 330
  • 5:40 – Moved temp probe to breast and was at 154. Dome temp was 350. Set upper vent at 1/2 and moved lower to 3/4.
  • 5:45 – Dome at 375 and breast at 159 and rising. Drum stick with instant read was at 160
  • 5:50 – Removed, wrapped in foil an rested for 15 minutes.

Great color but not quite done. Mary’s wing was ok but my thigh was rubbery and did not fall away from the bone. Even though it cooked twice as long as it should have and at well below the 325 target.20160124_Turkey smoked

The next night reheated in the heavy cast iron enameled braising pot but my breast was dried out and tough. Mary’s dark meat was ok.  I sliced a piece out of the second breast that had not been warmed and it was also tough.

Also fed the temp probe through the top vent and that meant when the dome was removed and tilted all the trapped heat escaped. Need to drill a hole in the kettle so the probe can be inserted. Adding tape water to the slot (not hot) also cooled it for a time and per Meathead and SNS should not have been added even if hot.

Lessons For Next Time

  1. To get the kettle to 325-350 see the SNS advice here. “Add half a chimney (~40 briquets) of unlit  coals to the Slow ‘N Sear first, then add the half chimney of well-lit coals on top.”
  2. Do not use water in SnS slot.
  3. See this page –!slow-n-sear-turkey/wctxl
    1. If the next turkey is pre-basted check the sodium cloride content to see if above or below 200 mg as discussed at the link. If below 200 mg, for a 14 lb. bird, dry brine with about 2.5T salt inside and out at least 24 hours ahead. Leave uncovered in refrigerator to let the skin dry.
    2. “expect about 2hrs if the turkey is spatchcocked and fully thawed” at a minimum of 325 up to 350.
    3. Wrap the leg and wing tips with foil up to 30 minutes before it is done.
    4. See link for advice on setting vents. Full open to start up to 275 then bottom at 1/4 and top at 1/3.
    5. Do not cover or rest when it comes off so the skin does not become damp and soft.




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