Skip to main content

I smoked a 12 lb. Butterball turkey in my Amerique.  I've smoked several turkeys over the years but this was the first time using the Amerique.  I put it in at 275 degrees.  The breast temp reached 165 degrees at about the 3 1/2 hour point.  It took a couple of hours until the thigh temp got to 175 degrees.  Flavor was good but the breast meat was a little on the dry side.  Is there a trick to getting the thigh meat to cook faster?

Thanks, Jim

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Man, if you get this to work out, you win the Nobel Prize in cooking turkey! It is exactly the same thing that happens in my oven or smoker. I think it is because the AQ is just a well-sealed oven with a smoke generator. The dark meat simply takes longer to cook. I've tried tricks like foiling the breast to start (or to finish) to keep it from overcoooking, and I've heard but not tried starting the bird breast side down then rotating it, but juicy white and done dark meat at the same time seems to be a constant struggle few master. In a recent thread, cal has recommended spatchcocking the turkey, and that is my next experiment.

Interestlingly, with chicken, when I grill halves over low-medium heat, both breast and dark meat are tender and juicy. I'm thinking of grilling a half-turkey to see what happens. It won't be the same as smoking, but at least it will have crispy skin!

Last edited by jay1924

I used to inject my birds, and stuff the cavity with onions, oranges, celery, and herbs.  separate the skin as much as I could without tearing and then stick compound butter under the skin.  They turned out juicy and for some reason the breast and the thighs came out at the right temps.  I smoke at 300 degrees.  The last couple I have spatchcocked  and do a dry brine inside and out.  let this site uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours.  I put a layer of carrots, onions, and sweet peppers in a disposable aluminum pan for the turkey to sit on.  Then pour some chicken stock in the bottom of the pan.  Smoke at 300 degrees until it comes to temp.  Remember that you will get a 5 to 10 degree rise in temp as the bird rests.  Since I usually take the bird to a family gathering, it rests in cooler for over an hour.


Images (2)
  • 2014 turkey 1
  • turkey 11 28 19 4

Thanks for the replies.  Since then I did a couple of turkey breasts and they came out so well and tasty that I don't think I will ever bother with a whole turkey again.  Yesterday, I found a local store that carries boneless turkey breasts that do not have antibiotics, steroids, and have not been treated with any kind of a solution.  I will be smoking those between now and the end of the year.  

Meatlover:  Do a dry brine.  I do this with my spatchcocked turkeys, but it will work with whole birds.  Use a compound butter with your choice of herbs, or seasonings.  Let the bird sit for 24 hours in the fridge.  Fill the cavity with carrot, onion, celery, and herbs.  Bump your smoker temp up to 300.  Your in for a treat.

Years ago I used to cover the breast with butter soaked cheese cloth.  Leave the ends long enough to touch the pan that the turkey is in.  This turns into a self basting thing with the wicking properties of the cheese cloth.  Put the cheese cloth on for the first half of the cook or the last 3rd of the cook.  I think the evaporation of the juices will slow down the temp rise in the breast and let the legs keep cooking.  I don't have enough fridge space to wet brine, but found brine recipe that looked really good.  I am currently doing a dry brine.  I have attached bith recipes below (hopefully this works).


Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.