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Bitter Turkey

WoodsDogWoodsDog Posts: 48
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum
I cooked a turkey today today on the Egg.  This is probably my 4th turkey since Thanksgiving.  I have used a few different recipes, but today it was rub and cook.  

it seems though, that each turkey I cook turns out slightly bitter. I don't know if that's the exact taste for it, but it's the closest I can describe it.  When i tried Mad Max's version, the gravy was this same "bitter" taste, but way strong.  It wasn't good.It was too much scorched stuff on the bottom of the pan.

I cooked them at 300 - 325 with just lump charcoal.  I've tried different types of lump, Weekend Warrior, Cowboy, Royal Oak.  Same thing.  

The turkey is certainly edible, just slightly bitter. The turkey I cooked today had a 1/2 inch ping smoke ring.  It was very juicy, texture was right.  I think I get the same taste when I do full chickens too.  

Anyone else notice this or taste this flavor? Anyone know how to reduce this bitter flavor?

I've had smoked turkeys (and chickens) elsewhere, and they don't have this flavor.

thanks for any tips!


  • Try using a fruit wood like cherry or apple. I use cherry and the sweeter flavor might help you out.
  • LitLit Posts: 6,860
    Are you letting the lump burn for 15 minutes or so once it gets to temp?
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990
    So you are only itself lump ? Is three smoke absolutely clear before you put the fowl on?
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • WoodsDogWoodsDog Posts: 48
    I probably put the bird in once it gets to temp.  It hits 300 or so, bird goes on.  The smoke might be white or a little dark when it goes on.

    I've noticed however, some of the lump I get it can take a LONG time (30 minutes to over an hour) for the smoke to go clear.

    You guys got me to thinking, I use those brick starters, and I wonder if those aren't burning all the way down either.

    Thanks guys
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990
    No matter what. The smoke must be clear or my wife hates anything I cook on the egg.
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • WoodsDogWoodsDog Posts: 48
    how long does it take to get the smoke clear?  how do you describe the taste when it's not clear?
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990
    15 to 20 minutes. Will taste bitter and nasty. Try a spatchcock chicken tomorrow and see. Also of you just use the lump from a previous cook the smoke gets clear very quickly.
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited March 2012
    Smell the smoke. It's the only way to make sure it's clean

    Those wax starters can be pretty bad. If you put the bird on the moment it hit 300, then that is the problem. Those take forever to burn off. And if they lose the flame, they will smolder for 10-15 minutes easy
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • WoodsDogWoodsDog Posts: 48
    It isn't the wax starter, it's the Big Green Egg starters.  Well, they are these:

    Rutland Fire Starters

    I am starting to wonder if this is my problem. In the reviews on Amazon, they said they were same as Big Green Egg.  But now I am wondering if they are producing some kind of stink for the first little while. 
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited March 2012
    Those are wax starters. Paraffin and pulp or sawdust. Long time to burn off and god forbid they smolder

    Smellthe smoke. If it smells good it tastes good. Those things are risky. Try another method, and/or let it burn longer at temp. You cant put the food on the second the egg hits temp with any method, really. Especially those things

    But always check the smoke
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 2,061
    I always use the rutland starters. Never had a problem. I think you just need to let the dome stabilize for 15 minutes or so. That should give the starters time to burn off.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • ribmasterribmaster Posts: 209

    Are you using a drip pan? Put one under with some water to keep dripping from scorching.  Get an electric starter.

    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • WoodsDogWoodsDog Posts: 48
    You guys are great. i dont use a drip pan and i always have charred burned studf on the platesetter.

    i got an electric start for xmas, guess its a great time to try it out.

    Ive got some great things to try out. Thanks so much for the suggestions!
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,560
    One of the many things I've learned here is to cut the wax cubes in half or thirds.  They burn up much faster and smoke clears up much quicker.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
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