Smoked Turkey – Christmas 2015

Bought a 13 lb. frozen generic brand bird to be smoked on the 22″ Weber Kettle with the Slow-N-Sear with my new ChefsAlarm remote digital thermometer. The Plan – Will use the new thermometer to first monitor grate temp for 325-350 for the first hour noting dome bi-metallic reading. Then insert probe into breast to monitor final cook.

12/22/15 – Thawed it in the frig for 24 hours

12/23/15 – Placed in hot water in the sink, removed giblets and ice and filled with hot water until it was fairly thawed. Cut out the back bone and “spatchcocked” it. Injected it with a mixture of 6 oz. melted butter to which we added about 2t Best Stop’s No MSG Cagun Seasoning. Covered it with plastic and back in the frig about 8pm – about 20 hours ahead.

Mary fried liver and gizzard for the dogs tonight. Boiled neck and backbone for the dogs on Christmas Eve. Ungrateful dogs begged for more. Next time want to make the gravy in the smoker like Meathead.

Christmas Eve

  1. 6:30 AM – Mixed 1/4C Simon & Garfunkel rub in enough olive oil to make a paste.
  2. 7:30 AM – Seven hours ahead. – Rubbed paste under skin of breasts and thighs. On top of skin rubbed with olive oil sprinkled salt with Simon and Garfunkel dry. Returned to frig uncovered so skin will dry some. 20151224_smoked turkey
  3. 2:30 – Lite half-chimney of Blue Bag Kingsford and when almost all grey poured them into one end of the SnS. Added more unlite briquettes to fill the SnS up to about 1″ from the top. Added one small chunk of pecan to not over smoke the turkey. Placed aluminum foil over lower grate to catch drips and channel air to the SnS. Did not add water to the slot in the SnS. Connected ChefsAlarm with grate clip.
  4. 3:15 – Grate temp is 340. Opened and placed turkey breast side to the SnS. Closed up and temp dropped to 295 and continued to drop slowly. Opened and moved partially lite coals higher on lite coals. Opened air inlet some and outlet 100%. At 3:35 it was back to 300 and climbing smoothly. At 3:48 reached 325 degrees with a dome temp of 375. By 4:00 it alarmed at 350. Closed air inlet to a small slice opening and outlet vent to 1/3. Temp fell again and when opened vents a bit it came back slowly.
  5. 5:30 pm – 2 hours, 15 minutes later — Pulled the turkey off the cooker when it hit 155 but when inside with the instant read found the right breast at 135. Put it into the off oven.
  6. About 6:00 we each ate a leg that was moist and not falling apart. Legs had measured 170-180 with the instant read. The skin was not crisp but not too rubbery. I did not notice the cajun seasoning that was in the butter injection even though the legs had 2-3 squirts. Had not put aluminum foil over the leg tips but they did not burn. The legs were almost against the kettle as the breasts were on the SnS side. See Conclusion 3 below.


  1. I did not get the grate temp to even out as it kept dropping to below 300 although it only went over 350 one time and then stopped at 355 by closing the dampers some. Opening up the air dampers brought it back to 350 but then the dampers must have been closed off too much as it would fall back to below 300 again.
  2. As the SnS had burning coals in one end the breast on that end cooked faster than the other where the temp probe was inserted. So. when the temp probe read 155 the other breast was at 180. The legs were also different temps. Next time drop the lite coals to one side of center of the SnS and un-lite coals only near the center and against the lite ones. The idea is that the fire will burn from one side of center to the other side during the 2 hour cook.
  3. Place the bird on with the legs to the SnS as they need to reach 170 when the breasts reach 155.
  4. Next time try…”spot check the temperature with a good digital instant read thermometer by inserting the probe into the deepest part of the breast. Push the tip past the center and pull it out slowly. The lowest temp is the one to watch for.”
  5. Target temps next time are as follows in an extract from the page linked below; “Dark meat has about 9% fat, 33% more than white meat, so it tastes and feels best at about 170°F. White meat is very lean, about 6%, and it dries out quickly if it is overcooked. It is at its best texture and juiciness at about 155°F”
  6. Must do next time is: put pan below with water (dampen temp swings and make gravy); watch closer; have fire in the center of the SnS; and rotate the bird to keep breasts from getting too hot. Or, see Conclusion 3 above.

  Recipes referenced before and during this cook:

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