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Smoked Turkey -- What Did I Do Wrong?

probe1957probe1957 Posts: 222
edited 2:24PM in EggHead Forum
I smoked a turkey the other day. Although it was good and the family was delighted, I thought the breast was a little dry.

I did not baste or use any liquid in the Egg. Cooked to 175 degrees at the thigh. I used a paste rub under the skin.

What should I do differently to get the white meat to be a little more moist?


  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    Brine it, or use Butterball turkeys. -RP
  • RebelEggRebelEgg Posts: 45
    Try injecting it. Seems to help me, end up with a very moist turkey throughout.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,014
    try mad max's turkey recipe found on the naked whizes site, theres lots of tips that help a turkey stay moist. the trick is to get the legs up to 175 while keeping the breast in the mid 160's after the rest
  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Brine it in salt water although isn't necessary. Put some ice packs on the breast before you cook. Breast is done at 160 while thighs need to go to 180 internal. By pre-chilling the breast meat, you can hit both temperatures at the same time. Try that with the Turkey also. :laugh:
  • jrterrierjrterrier Posts: 37
    I wonder how hot you had your egg. A higher temp in your egg will cook the bird faster, but, will also dry the meat. I try to keep the temperature down, and take the turkey to the recommended temp to avoid problems. I always have moist breast meat, even with cheap turkeys. I also have a very old egg, and no dome thermometer. I use one external/corded thermometer. First I get the egg temp where I want it, then I stick the food I am cooking to check the temp of it. A second probe would make it a bit easier.

    Also, I recommend buying a good cookbook, such as the Joys Of Cooking and use it as a guide to temperatures and times. Your egg is just an oven that is heated with charcoal... no difference for temperatures than a regular oven, and, times are also similar if the temperature is similar.

    Hope that helps...

    Bonnie in w. WA
  • probe1957probe1957 Posts: 222
    Thanks for all the ideas.

    I THINK my dome temp was 250. I may try brining next time as I have had good results doing that with chicken. Not sure what I have that is big enough to brine a turkey in tho. ;)
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    Like fishlessman said try this one.
  • ptrptr Posts: 24
    Brine it. ( i use alton brown's brine from the food net work) cook at a high temp, at least 350 grill temp,tent the breast with foil once it starts to brown. pull at 161 temp in the middle of the breast. rest.
  • DaleDale Posts: 41
    BRINE! Absolutely the best way to keep breast juicy, and take out at just the right temp. Also, smaller birds work better. Go to food network web site and look up Alton Brown's turkey.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 22,052
    I use this for a favorite brine I like that takes 2 to 4 days to work real magic.
    I place the turkey plus brine in a huge food safe plastic bag and seal it. Then I put it in this water cooler and then pour cold water and ice in so that the inside envelope (plastic bag with bird) actually is surrounded by ice water and will even float. Then for kicks and giggles I tape a Polder probe inside so I can monitor the temp of the water from outside.
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    Yep, I read this and thought "this is a job for Mad Max!" We'll never cook another turkey in our oven after last year's MM Thanksgiving turkey. It was easily the best we ever had.
  • Michael BMichael B Posts: 986
    + Always start with a fresh bird.

    There are several very good brine recipes.
    QBabe’s Maple Brine is one.
    Alton Brown has another posted on his Food Network site.
    There is a lot of good information on brining here.
    For a container, I put two oven roasting bags (one inside the other) in a roasting pan, put the bird in the inner bag, fill with brine, tie the bag, and put the pan in the refrigerator.
    !! Do Not Brine a bird that has already been ‘enhanced’. !! e.g.. a Butterball.

    Drain and rinse the bird, then place it on the kitchen counter/table (room temp environment) and ice the breast for 20-30 minutes.

    Cook at 325* - 350*, not 250*.
    Cooking at low temps results in even cooking throughout. The problem is that you don’t want a turkey cooked evenly. You want the breast to get to 160* when the legs and thighs are at 180*. Hotter breast meat will be dried out and cooler legs & thighs will be undercooked.

    Even without brining, many on this site will attest to the positive results they’ve had using Mad Max's Turkey and Gravy technique.
    (I say technique, because he offers much more than just a recipe.)
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Forget brining..not worth the effort. Get a Butterball and follow Mad Max Turkey. pretty much perfect every time.
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