Well, the Smoked Turkey experiment is almost done. We are fully smoked, and the picture to the left is the turkey as I unplugged the smoker. I took the temperature, and it seemed good to me by sticking the thermometer in the thigh of the turkey. The turkey is resting in the smoker right now off heat as we speak and in about 15 more minutes I am going to take it out of the smoker, and slice into her to see how she looks. Then I will determine whether or not it is edible or not. Now, for the nuances of the smoking… All my research told me the smoker should have been above 250 degrees. My smoker, the Big Chief, again with all my research, told me it will not get above 160 degrees… I was a little disappointed at that, so I started scheming about how I can get the temperature up above 200 degrees, and if I could do that and sustain it, I know that I would be happy, and . I needed to at least have an internal temperature for the bird of 175 degrees (according to everything I have read everyone said 175 — 185 degrees). That said, I put my head to work thinking about how to raise the temperature… So, I took the drip tray out of the Big Chief, and moved it above where the turkey was. This allowed me to have a lower ceiling and opening the below burner to make a hotter box in a smaller box, essentially half the size of the existing smoker to heat. In addition, the sun (and it is an August day) beats down on my deck and I know, because this is an aluminum box, that it should help to increase the heat while the sun is shining on it. And, it did. So I could monitor the temperature, I went out and bought a meat thermometer. I then drilled a small hole in the front of my smoker, and slid the meat thermometer into the hole to watch the temperature all day. Once I fired up the smoker this morning to get it up to temperature. I also slid a jar of water in to help keep the air moist. I placed the turkey in the smoker after it was up to temp. Honestly, I was immediately bummed. The temperature was not going back up, and then I realized, I put a cold turkey that I just drained the brine off of in the smoker and that it would probably take some time to get back up to temperature. Soon, the temperature was up above 165, slowly moved to 180 where it hovered for a while, and soon, with the sun beating down we were at 202 degrees. I added wood chips every 45 — 60 minutes all day. The process actually started at 7:30 a.m. this morning, and I unplugged it at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. It’s now 6:10 p.m., and and I am about to go out to the smoker (in the next 20 minutes) to take the bird out, and slice into her in a couple of places to be sure she is completely cooked through. I am not to worried about that, what I am worried about is having a bite. As an FYI, I used cherry wood to smoke the turkey, and the cherry wood chips came from Gander Mountain about a month ago. Stats:
- Cook time: 7:30 a.m. — 6:30 p.m. (includes 90 minutes of resting in the smoker)
- Technical Smoke/Cooking time: 8:30/9:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
- Turkey weight: 12lbs
- Brining period: 36 hours
- Average temperature: 185 degrees
- Highest temp: 202 degrees
By the way, I sliced off a breast and a smaller piece… Mighty tasty, although the skin is like shoe leather… Not bad for the first turkey I have ever smoked.