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Newbie smoking a turkey for the first time.

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Posts: 2
Location: DC Area, Maryland, USA
This is my first post, so to start, I'm in the DC area in Kensington, MD and just bought a CG Duo Pro a month or two ago. I've been pretty conservative with it so far and have only done some pork chops, brats and steaks.

I'm pretty new to grilling and smoking in general, having only gotten serious about it at the beginning of this recently past summer. I've been experimenting and have turned out some pretty good meals, but I've got to be honest, the turkey is intimidating me. I've only been cooking for myself and the wife so far, but on NOV 14th we're gonna have around 20-30 people at the house for a pre-thanksgiving friend party.

Someone else is prepping the bird and all I have to do is apply the heat. The problem I'm having is regulating my temp; It seems like it takes forever to get the temp below 400. And worrying about keeping the bird moist. Also trying to decide between applewood or pecan, neither of which is exactly readily available around here and both are expensive. I'm also gonna try lump charcoal for the first time ever.

So, I guess the specific questions are:

1. Once I get my temp where I want it and get the draft set right how do I keep it from overheating when I add coals?

2. Which wood? Lumps or logs? Wet or dry?

3. Lump charcoal?

I could think of more but there are a couple of other turkey discussions that should be able to answer those questions.

Thanks.

Post Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:43 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Welcome aboard!!!!!

As far as getting your temperature right, I've always found for the most part that it's easier to raise the temperature if it's too low than it is to lower it if it's too high. In other words, I find you're better off starting out with less lit charcoal & adding more if needed. Are you using any kind of charcoal basket? If not, you may want to check out the CharGriller family thread. With a charcoal basket & minion method, you can get considerably longer burn times without adding fuel, which will help keep your temperatures more consistent.

As far as wood goes, I really like pecan, but hickory, apple, cherry, or maple (or combination of the afore mentioned) would be great. Just be careful not to use too much wood, as you can overdo it with poultry.

Not a huge fan of using lump charcoal in the CharGriller, as it burns hotter and faster than briquettes. On the flipside, ash build up is more of a problem with briquettes than it is with lump.
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Post Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:19 pm
Married_Man medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 233
Location: NC
This year will be my first turkey as well. I plan to use lump, but am not 100% locked in yet.

I agree lump tends to burn hotter and it *can* burn out faster. But, I've used lump that seems to last as long as briquettes. The main problem with lump is it's inconsistency. One brand my burn hot and fast the next hot and long. And from my reading on other forums, a brand may sell one bag made of all US hardwoods and another South American hardwoods. This forum has a lot of discussion on lump charcoal.

I would definitely not consider using lump as my first attempt to smoke turkey for a Thanksgiving party. I would be very familiar with several brands and have some smokes under my belt first.

Post Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:43 pm

Posts: 2
Location: DC Area, Maryland, USA
I've been thinking about getting a basket but don't have one yet. It sounds like I need one though.

As far as the minion method goes, I had never heard of it until I was reading through a post earlier today. I think I get the idea, but how do you incorporate wood into that? Confine it to the basket or throw some on the rest of the coals?

As for the lump charcoal vs. briquettes, the main reason I wanted to use lump was that I was under the impression that you get a better flavor from lump. I think I'm gonna stick with the briquettes though just to minimize the margin for error.

Post Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:03 pm
olewarthog well done
well done

Posts: 372
Location: South GA

For long smokes on large items like turkey or butts, briquettes will probably be the better choice. I've never been able to detect any flavor difference between lump or briqs. You definately should look into a basket of some sort. If you are using wood chunks, mix a few in with the unlit charcoal before adding the lit briqs. If you are using chips, it's best to wrap them in a foil pouch with some pencil size holes punched in to keep them for burning too quickly. I soak chips, but I believe that is wasted effort with chunks.

I haven't smoked a turkey in several years since I deep fried one. Now that is what the families demand. When I did smoke them, it was is a small vertical & I always put a small butt on the top rack with the turkey underneath. The pork dippings gave a great flavor to the turkey skin. You can probably do the same thing by putting a small butt on the warming rack in the CG. You can then surprise you guests with some pulled pork on the side.
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Post Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:25 pm
smokeybeaver well done
well done

Posts: 834
olewarthog wrote:
I haven't smoked a turkey in several years since I deep fried one. Now that is what the families demand. When I did smoke them, it was is a small vertical & I always put a small butt on the top rack with the turkey underneath. The pork dippings gave a great flavor to the turkey skin. You can probably do the same thing by putting a small butt on the warming rack in the CG. You can then surprise you guests with some pulled pork on the side.


Now this is a dynamite idea. I will have to borrow this idea.

smokenbrew medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 255
Location: Eagle, Michigan
CGFanSteve wrote:
The problem I'm having is regulating my temp; It seems like it takes forever to get the temp below 400.


Does your CG Duo Pro have a side firebox?


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