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Turkey Trials


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Thoughts on this turkey cook.  I cooked the turkey for 1 hour low and slow with some hickory chunks to get a good smoke profile before pumping the temp up to 325 for 2 hours, total cook time was exactly 3 hours.  The smoke profile was excellent and exactly what I was hoping for, might play with different woods in the future to mix up the taste, turkey does seem to soak that flavor up. 


I cooked an 18lb Butterball turkey that according to the package was pre-brined in 8% solution.  I did not do any additional brine.  I injected the turkey with Zatarains Cajun Injector Creole Butter.  I rubbed the skin with butter and sprinkled some salt free seasonings all over, random mix of Mrs. Dash stuff I had in the cabinet.  That was all fine and tasty.  The turkey was good, but the white meat was a little on the dry side (it's hard to keep white meat perfectly moist gravy helps).  I'm thinking next time I will use a water pan to pump up the moisture in the Akorn.  The skin didn't really crisp like I was hoping, I don't know if ramping up the temp to 425 in the last half hour might help with that, might experiment on a chicken some time.


I would love to hear some thoughts and ideas.  I didn't stuff the turkey with anything, I know some people like to throw some orange slices and apple slices in there.  Don't know what affect that might have. 


Everyone agreed that the flavor was excellent.


If you don't use a water pan at least put a drip pan in there.  My Akorn is disgusting right now from all the stuff that dripped out of that turkey and on to the diffuser stone.  Didn't occur to me to use one like I do with my pork butts.  I thought for some reason the drippings would be less, I was wrong.  Need to do a hot clean burn before I cook anything else in there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After my initial bird here I did my second bird of the season today.  I did some things differently this time to stellar results.  I injected way more of the creole butter this time, basically 2/3rds of a jar.  That's all I had left from the last one.  If I do another one the entire jar is going in the bird.  I put in a drip pan with the neck and gibblets in it to make gravy with.  I started the bird at a lower temperature 235-240 so the outside wouldn't cook as fast, 1hr at that temperature.  Ramped the temperature up to 300 after that and pretty much kept it there the whole time.  It was a smaller bird so total cook time was 2.5hrsish. The first bird was good, but this one was so much better, way more moist.  I didn't take any pics this time, but the skin didn't end up quite as mahogany this time.  I can't recommend putting as much injection as the turkey will handle and the water pan more, the results are so much better.

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Meathead's ideas at amazingribs.com have been very helpful for me. Sounds like you are getting it dialed in. 

I will always use a water or gravy pan for low and slow since the only time I didn't use one some boneless beef ribs came out dry. 

I have done one each turkey whole and spatchcocked. I am spatching this year after bringing we'll see. 

I have cooked them close to 350 for the entire cook. 

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Just what I, personally, have found with poultry in order to get a nice crisp skin.  Everything from chooks to turkey to wings and wildfowl.  Make sure it is REALLY DRY before roasting or grilling.  Just patting really dry with a paper towel before going on the grill helps, but letting it sit in the reefer overnight uncovered is WAY better. 


Ramping up the heat at the end only makes the already heat toughened skin tougher, not crisper.  At least that's what I have found.  YMMV.


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