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For those that Over-Smoked their Turkey...

For those that over-smoked their turkey... how much smoke and what type of wood did you use? Am doing a post-Thanksgiving turkey today, and was planning on going with a handful of Apple/Alder chips combo. I've done Turkeys before, and have always gone with a small handful of chips, even though I felt like it could've used more.

Just curious to see where others went wrong in an over smoked turkey, and what the consensus threshold is for an over smoked turkey.


  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 2,610
    I used one plastic solo cups worth of alder. I cooked it spached, raised and direct at 350-375. 12.2 lbs took exactly 2 hours. Put 1/2 the cup on 5 mins before the bird went on and the other half about 20 mins in to the cook. 12 people present. All but my mom liked the amount of smoke -she said too much. My father said it was the best bird he ever had. Mom did not like that comment. All others said it was perfect. I believe them because last year I used 2x as much and they said it was too much. So either they lied last year or they did this year. Better to go light then too much in my opinion.
    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
    Large and MiniMax
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,194
    edited November 2013
    I'm a huge fan of cherry wood for turkey-can't beat the flavor and the skin color.  I use about one good handful of chips throughout the lump load for around a 14-15# bird.  Not overpowering!  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • flynnbobflynnbob Posts: 647
    Used 3 small apple wood chunks - Spatchcocked and it came out great.
    Milton, GA.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,644
    Same here. Combine a handful of chips 50/50 cherry/pecan works for me.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • dweebs0rdweebs0r Posts: 516
    edited December 2013
    I used 3 handfuls of apple chips and I my kids complained it was too smokey.  The adults all liked it though...  Next time I will probably go with two small handfuls.  Stupid kids and their opinions.  Who taught them to rise up against authority??  Oh wait, never mind that was me.
    -Jody Newell (LBGE & a mini BGE!)
    Location:  Munford, TN  Homepage:  Shadow photo shadow.gif
  • Haha. Hilarious. Thanks everyone. I ended up going with 1.5 handfuls. It was 2/3 Applewood and 1/3 Alder mix. Turkey turned out awesome. But truthfully, the smoke taste was minimal (if at all) with that amount of chips. Did 1 handful last year, 1.5 handfuls this year. So that means 2 handfuls next year.
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 7,943
    I used 1 handful of pecan & 1 handful if cherry scattered throughout a firebox of lump and that was for a spatch and a breast, separate cooks and thought it was just right.


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,521
    edited December 2013
    I used cherry and about 3-5 chunks. it was great the first night, but a bit much second night. I'll go with a few less chunks next time.
  • Just stay away from Hickory or Mesquite or it will be strong with smoke
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  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,508
    You can over smoke anything, but poultry is especially mild which makes it quite easy to over smoke. Over the years, I've found it is not so much how much wood you use, or whether it is chunks or chips, but rather how long you wait, after putting the wood in, to when you put the food on. I like a fist sized piece of pecan/apple or another relatively mild wood right in the hot coals….cover it up with some more charcoal, and wait at least 30 minutes and up to an hour until the smoke is blue, thin and peppery. Whether it is a handful of chips, 2 and a half handfuls of chips, or a couple chunks, the biggest way to avoid over smoking your bird is to wait until you LOVE the smell of the smoke.

    Clean smoke toya!
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  • SpaightlabsSpaightlabs Posts: 1,761
    I used 6 fist-sized chunks of cherry and it came out perfectly. Best turkey we've ever done.
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