Smoking Turkey

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CYdTracked

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Mar 23, 2006
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Thinking of doing something small scale and not smoking a whole turkey but buying some fresh Turkey legs and breasts and smoking some smaller portions. Anyone have some tips on what to do or not to do? Have one friend that has smoked a few whole turkeys and his main advices is inject it with some melted butter before putting it on the smoker. With possibly doing individual smaller pieces vs a whole bird not sure that would be necessary except maybe for breast meat. Would I want to do some kind of brine before maybe? Probably keep my flavor profile savory so rosemary, garlic, thyme, oregano, and some salt and pepper for a rub.

Just wanted to get some ideas on what others have done. Doing a whole bird at some point is my goal but wanted to start small and see how that turns out first. Plus I just don't need that much meat either.
 

dmclone

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Oct 20, 2006
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I just did a turkey breast a couple of weeks ago on my gravity smoker.

Bring 4 cups of the water to a boil and add the salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, sage, rosemary and peppercorns.
1 cup salt, 1/4cup brown sugar, garlic, orange.

Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Let the liquid steep for 15 minutes while it cools, then add it to the remaining water(6 cups)

Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse the turkey (no need to pat dry) removing the giblets and skin

Place the turkey in a container large enough to fit and cover with the brine, making sure it is completely submerged.
Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 15 hours, rotating the turkey at least once while it brines.

Rinse the turkey thoroughly and pat dry.

Mayonnaise(Dukes)/Rub 2 parts black pepper/1 salt

275

Foil with butter (1/2 stick) 90 minutes in

It took 3.5 hours for a small bird

Pull at 160IT

Next time I'm going to try and do it without wrapping to get more color. BTW, you don't taste the mayo, my wife hates mayo.
 
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cycloner29

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Dec 17, 2008
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I plan on do a 14 lb fresh bird. Waiting to hear back from Fareway as I reserved one. Plan on brining it first. I've never done a full bird on my smoker before. The hard part will be getting the skin crisp on it. I may need to spatchcock it. It may lead help get the bird done evenly. The leg and thigh joint area is usually the hardest to get done.

I did a 5 lb chicken last week and the leg and thigh still was a tad red yet. I used a apple juice/Frank's Hot Sauce mix to spray on it throughout the cook and also sprayed some under the skin and it added great flavor.
 

mj4cy

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Mar 28, 2006
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I'm basically doing this with a 12lb bird and then doing a cheap box gravy. First time trying it on my pellet grill.

 
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CoachKM

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Sep 19, 2008
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I am still learning how to effectively use my pellet smoker as well. I did a whole chicken a few weeks ago which turned out well.

Have looked at the Traeger App and web site for tips on smoking a turkey. Will try one of their recipes.
 

Gonzo

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Mar 10, 2009
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Never smoked a turkey but I'd thinking brining is an important step no matter what method of preparation is being used. Good luck.
 
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discydisc

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The wife got a free turkey from work, I'm guessing its injected with sodium. Anyone have experience doing a brine on one that already has salt added? I'm tentatively planning on giving a good rinse once thawed then doing a brine with a smaller amount of salt, citrus and sage. I did a chicken with a seasoned mayo coating last week as a test run and definitely plan on doing that as well.
 

jay moe

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Apr 10, 2006
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I inject the turkey with chicken broth and then cover it in bacon strips. Smoke at 220 degrees using cherry wood. Takes about 4 hrs or so. Comes out very tasty.
 

jdcyclone19

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Apr 14, 2017
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I have a pit barrel cooker (turkey hangs breast down). Makes a great turkey. Unless you are buying a fresh bird, most are already brined with a 8-15% solution and wet brining doesn't make much of a difference. Just not worth the hassle I've found. It is different if you use a flavor injector.

This is how we do it:
Dry off turkey 2 days prior to smoking
Let it sit uncovered in the fridge over night (we have a second garage fridge we do this in) ( doesn't dry out the bird but really helps make a crispy skin.)
Light coating of oil
Season skin liberally
Soften some butter and mix in seasoning.
Make 2 small cuts at the bottom of the breast skin, shove lots butter between skin and breast (this allows seasoning and butter to melt down over the breast as its smoking)
Takes about 3-3.5 hours for a 12-14lb bird.
Crack the lid the last 15 minutes to get hot and crisp the skin.
 

keepngoal

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I am still learning how to effectively use my pellet smoker as well. I did a whole chicken a few weeks ago which turned out well.

Have looked at the Traeger App and web site for tips on smoking a turkey. Will try one of their recipes.
This hasn't failed me yet

 
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Colorado

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Aug 29, 2008
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What’s the consensus on how long to brine? I’ve seen everything from a half day to several days. We get one of those fancy turkeys from Whole Foods so I don’t know if it will come brined or not.
 

keepngoal

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What’s the consensus on how long to brine? I’ve seen everything from a half day to several days. We get one of those fancy turkeys from Whole Foods so I don’t know if it will come brined or not.
24 hours is just fine, as is 12.
 
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cycloner29

Well-Known Member
Dec 17, 2008
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The wife got a free turkey from work, I'm guessing its injected with sodium. Anyone have experience doing a brine on one that already has salt added? I'm tentatively planning on giving a good rinse once thawed then doing a brine with a smaller amount of salt, citrus and sage. I did a chicken with a seasoned mayo coating last week as a test run and definitely plan on doing that as well.
I would only brine for around 12 hours if it already is injected with sodium. Hence the reason why I am getting a fresh one as they are not injected.
 

Tailg8er

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Feb 25, 2011
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Especially when smoking I brine for several days before hand. I rub it with butter, season it and stuff it with apples, onions and rosemary.
How do you brine several days when it's only recommended to leave in the refrigerator for 1-2 days? Or are you just a rebel like that?

I'm planning on spatchcocking for the first time ever, and smoking on the Pit Boss. Will brine the day before smoking.
 
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Colorado

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Aug 29, 2008
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How do you brine several days when it's only recommended to leave in the refrigerator for 1-2 days? Or are you just a rebel like that?

I'm planning on spatchcocking for the first time ever, and smoking on the Pit Boss. Will brine the day before smoking.
Spatchcock cuts down on cooking time considerably. Hardest part is listening to the sounds of bones crunching
 
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ISUTex

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May 25, 2012
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Thinking of doing something small scale and not smoking a whole turkey but buying some fresh Turkey legs and breasts and smoking some smaller portions. Anyone have some tips on what to do or not to do? Have one friend that has smoked a few whole turkeys and his main advices is inject it with some melted butter before putting it on the smoker. With possibly doing individual smaller pieces vs a whole bird not sure that would be necessary except maybe for breast meat. Would I want to do some kind of brine before maybe? Probably keep my flavor profile savory so rosemary, garlic, thyme, oregano, and some salt and pepper for a rub.

Just wanted to get some ideas on what others have done. Doing a whole bird at some point is my goal but wanted to start small and see how that turns out first. Plus I just don't need that much meat either.

1.Soak in a brine overnight. Easy to look up good brine recipes online. Brown sugar or maple syrup are good ingredients to use. 2. Inject or rub butter under skin. 3. baste (melted butter and apple juice/cider) the meat every once in a while while it's smoking. 4. Wrap in foil and let sit for awhile before serving.