Smoking Turkey

  • Hello,
    I thought I asked the question a few days ago, but I am not very good at using this blog business. I watched your smoked turkey demonstration & also purchased the brine mix from you for brining the turkey & the ham. The question I thought I asked, but apparently did not is this. Beyond your demonstration for smoking the turkey & the ham for that matter; After smoking the turkey (according to your specific instructions) especially, but also the ham I want to safely cool it down, travel to another area, & then heat up the individual servings (or the whole turkey && ham if necessary) safely. Is there any particular additional procedures I should follow to make this perfect? Is it better to pre-slice everything after the initial smoke & re-heat or is it better to keep them whole & heat them up later? I am wide open to any ideas, thoughts, tips, or suggestions. I will be smoking ham, turkey, oysters, stuffing, sweet potatoes, butter. I have just never done it all in advance before, then traveled, & re-heated so I want to make certain I have this down pat. I have always just done all my eating & drinking at home so whatever I cooked, we ate it here at home right away for the most part. Thank you for your help. Dave

  • Walton's Employee

    @calldoctoday I’m fairly certain you asked this question the other day in the comments section on the youtube video How To Make Homemade Smoked Turkey.

    Here was my response “For food safety reasons when reheating poultry you should get it back to 165°. If you are going to do that then you have two options for reheating in the oven. The first would be to put the whole turkey back in the oven at about 350° and wait for the internal temperature to reach the desired levels. The other option would be to slice the turkey and then put it in the oven, the advantage of that would be it would get up to temp MUCH quicker, the issue is that it is going to dry out the pieces more. Now, cooking to 165° is strictly a food safety issue and when reheating left overs a lot of people won’t cook back to that temperature as, presumably, it was already cooked to 165°. Doing that or not is up to you!”

    So to summarize, I wouldn’t slice it first as when you heat it back up it is going to dry out more than I am sure you would want it too. And you really should reheat your turkey to 165° this is some good reference material ( from the USDA

    For Ham it should be reheated to 140° Here is some reference material from the USDA for reheating Ham (

  • @calldoctoday traveling with oysters and turkey - man - living on the edge of a great meal or a bad diet plan. I don’t know what the time frame is between cooking and traveling so I will throw this out. I would recommend, at least, separating the breast and being certain that the entire turkey has cooled down before packaging. there are creative ways to warm it and keep it moist. Turkey, refrigerated, 3 days to consume (four if there are no attorneys at the meal.) Oysters and stuffing make certain that everything is completely cool (refrigerated overnight) before packing a transporting. I know a family that got sick at a Thanksgiving Dinner/Reunion…it was a long drive home for them and they chose to meet at a restaurant for Christmas.
    Jon is correct 😮 about the internal temp when rewarming

  • Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it. Yes, I have done this before & used the brines & all, but got it all cooked & then ate it. No transportation, etc. I enjoy all the cooking, I just wish I did not have to transport for the eatting part & definitely want to be safe. But also, I don’t want a dried out finally either! That would defeat the whole purpose of the pump & brine & slow smoke. Honestly, I was hoping a could cool, refrigerate, slice & place in foil pans like the caterers do & seem to keep them juicy. However, it sounds like it is best to keep everything whole (Hams, Turkeys, vegetables, & dressings), cool, pack, & re-heat. I have never been real hot on the temperatures, just working it, looking at it, etc. But, my wife keeps me at bay with that as she is just the opposite. Let me know if I misunderstood anything & if any of you have any other ideas, tips, or thoughts. I am just about tempted to try & transport my smoker with all the meat still in brining pots, etc. but that seems like even a bigger catstrophe awaiting to happen. Thanks again, Dave

  • @jonathon Yes I did. I am sorry for repeating it. However, when I was on the lookout for answers I could find neither the answer or the question. So, I thought maybe it did not take or something. I was not sure & I am not very good at this blogging business. Thanks for the response & pardon me for making you go though it all twice. Dave

  • Walton's Employee

    @calldoctoday No worries, I was looking around for it on meatgistics for 15 minutes because I KNEW I answered this question and I started worrying I had deleted it somehow! What @Departing-Contestant said is 100% accurate though, always worth being extra careful, the last thing you want is for people to get sick! I missed that you were doing oysters, be super careful with those!

  • @calldoctor I would cook, cool, then slice off the bone and pack the beautiful whole breasts and dark meat, whole Turkey legs in the juices in your pan you rested the turkey in originally (you didn’t throw that away did you?). When you reheat, that juice will keep everything moist.

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  • S

    @jonathon yep, shorter horn makes sense. I am mech. engineer and there are two big things wrong here: the 9.5mm (3/8") stuffer tube and its length. Most of the problem, probably, ALL could be solved by using the diameter stuffer tube for 16 mm casings. There is NO advantage to going smaller, just disadvantages. Pressure drop(in this case back pressure on the cylinder / piston goes up exponentially as diameter is reduced.

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  • S

    @jonathon It looks to me you may have missed a small point in the original post. He said he was using 16mm casings but a 3/8" stuffer tube. 3/8" is VERY small-- only 9.5 mm! He is trying to punch it through a pinhole darn near.

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  • L

    So a couple things for you here. First off you really just dont have the proper equipment to stuff 16mm casings, but you can try a couple things. Spray all your equipment with a good food grade lubricant. Inside the stuffing horn and inside the meat cylinder so meat can flow as best as possible. Second get a 1/2 inch stuffing horn. Its going to be a bit of a pain bit you will have to manually roll your 16mm casings onto your 1/2 inch stuffing horn just like you would fresh casings. Stuffing through a 1/2 inch horn is going to be eaiser than 3/8. Third as another option is to mix a small amount of vegitable oil into your meat to add some lubrication without effecting flavor. These are just a few options to try with your equipment. Let us know how it goes!

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  • Cured Sausage Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Cutting Meat Grinding Meat Stuffing Lebanon What Is Lebanon Bologna?

    Lebanon Bologna was originally made by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1800’s. Traditionally it is a dark bologna, similar to salami in appearance and texture and it has a tangy flavor. It is often eaten as cold cuts and it can be slow cured and cold smoked or smoked using more modern methods. We are going to be making a version today that will not be slow cured or cold smoked as that makes it more difficult for the average home user.

    Meat Block

    7 lb of Untrimmed Pork Butts
    3 lb of Lean Beef
    1 Bag of Lebanon Bologna Seasoning
    1 10 lb Capacity Bologna Casing
    1 Bag of Sure Gel
    Sodium Erythorbate


    Weston #12 Butcher Series Grinder
    Walton’s 11 lb Sausage Stuffer
    Weston 20 lb Meat Mixer


    If you can you should cut the fat off of your pork and grind your pork fat separately through a 3/16th plate twice. Then grind your beef and lean pork through a 3/8 plate and then through a 1/8 plate. Keep ground pork fat separate. Making sure EVERYTHING but especially your pork fat is cold before you grind it is very important here for particle definition.

    Meat Mixing

    Place lean meat in the mixer. While mixing add Lebanon Bologna seasoning, Sure Cure and Ice Cold Water. Mix for 5 minutes. Add ground fat trim, sodium erythorbate and mix for 3 more minutes. Lastly, if you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid add it during the last 60 seconds of mixing. If you add the Encapsulated Citric Acid too soon you could break the encapsulation and release the acid into the meat too soon.

    Sausage Stuffing

    Stuff your meat into fibrous casings that have been soaked for at least an hour in water that is 80 - 100° so the casings are pliable. These casings are tough and durable so don’t worry about blowouts just stuff them fully but make sure to leave enough room to get a hog ring on the open end. When stuffing larger diameter casings it is important to choose the largest of the stuffing tubes that your casing will fit over and make sure you are gripping it nice and tight, we want these casings packed nice and solid.


    You can also use Fibrous or Non-Edible Collagen casings, we chose this as it had the capacity we wanted and it presented the product well.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    To smoke start them out with 125 for 1 hour, then 140 for 1 hour then 165 for an hour and finally at 180 until the internal temperature reaches 155°.


    Place it in an ice bath or shower for 20 minutes to bring the temperature back down and then hold at room temperature for 2 hours and then move to a cooler or freezer before vacuum packing. I let this sit in a refrigerator overnight before slicing to make sure the temperature was brought all the way down.

    Wrap up

    All in all, this is very similar to making a salami or even a summer sausage, the main differences are separating out the pork fat from your lean and using the correct ratio, seasoning, and casings. The fried Bologna sandwiches were very good!

    Additional Tips Removing the fat cap before you break down your pork butt is easier sometimes, it all depends on how it looks before you start cutting into it. I put very little smoke on this as I didn’t want that to dominate the taste so I filled my smoke tray about 1/4 of the way full. I am glad I did it this way as it allowed for the Lebanon taste to come through more. Other Notes

    I added X-Tra Hot Red Pepper to this to help give it a nice zip and to cut some of the sweetness. I used it at a ratio of 3 oz per 100 lb of meat and since I was doing 10 lb that means I used .3 of an oz.

    Watch WaltonsTV: Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna Shop for Cured Sausage Seasoning Shop for Meat Grinders Shop for High-Temp Cheese

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  • Specialty Sausage Specialty Sausage 101: What is Specialty Sausage?

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    What is Specialty Sausage?

    As much as you might love bratwurst, summer sausages and snack sticks sometimes you want a sausage that is a bit more unique. It might be a recipe you tried once in another country, one that your grandparents used to make or something just sounds really exotic like blood sausage. Recipes and knowledge of how to make these types of sausage are often passed down from generation to generation.

    For whatever reason, these types of sausages have fallen out of favor and are sadly relegated to the specialty stores of the home processor. Maybe opinions have changed on the type of meat used, the way it is cooked or the seasoning or spices used in the original seasoning. The good thing about this is it gives you the opportunity to “rediscover” plenty of types of amazing sausages.

    Types of Meat Required

    Sourcing the meat might be a little harder for this than a normal sausage but a quality butcher should easily be able to get you pork liver, trim and even pork blood that you will need to make some of these. Others like Lebanon bologna and some landjaeger only require a mix of pork and beef and a special seasoning.


    Many specialty sausages will also require a special or a specific casing to be used. Braunschweiger has a special plastic casing specifically for the production of that product and others like landjaegar simply require that you use a natural casing like hog or sheep intestine.


    Smoking and cooking will also be different with a lot of these sausages, a normal smoke schedule might not work for your needs on these products. We will be making Landjaegr, Lebanon Bologna and Blood Sausage in the 10’s and then go for some even more out there products in the advanced classes

    Shop for Jerky Seasonings Shop for Vertical Smokers Shop for Weston Dehydrator 160L Pro Series

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  • Weekly Blog Post - PreThanksgiving & Specialty Sausage

    Find out what's going on at Walton's and Meatgistics this week. We will have a loose schedule for soon to be released videos, what we are working on long-term and maybe a few quick tips and tricks that are on our mind!

    What Videos are being released soon?

    We just released our Pre Thanksgiving Sales that will be good through Friday so you should absolutely check that out. You will also see that we have reduced shipping on orders over $5 all week.

    ThanksBlackMonday - This is the “fun” video that we do every year! This year we split it into thirds so the first round of sales will be good from 11/19-11/26, the second round starts on Black Friday (11/22) and ends on Cyber Monday and the third round is Cyber Monday only!

    Specialty Sausage 101 & 102 - In these two videos we will be going over specialty sausage as a category and then showing you detailed steps on making Lebanon Bologna. Ours came out amazing so if you are planning on making any this year watch the video for some tips on how to make a delicious Lebanon Bologna!

    What Projects are we looking ahead at?

    Specialty Sausage 103: Landjaeger - We made Landjaeger or a version of it at least! It came out tasting excellent but the appearance wasn’t exactly what we were going for, for more details keep an eye out for this video in the next few weeks.

    Specialty Sausage 104: Blood Sausage - We haven’t made this year and it is going to have to wait until at least after Thanksgiving but hopefully we will get to it soon! We are excited about this as it’s a true odd-ball in America and we want to see if we can make some improvements to it!

    What’s on our Mind?

    It is almost Thanksgiving time and I’m going home for the first time in years! Like everyone else, I am excited to see family and friends and eat delicious food! Don’t forget to take a few minutes this Thanksgiving to really concentrate on what you are thankful for. For me, a huge thing I am thankful for is this job, I really love what I do here! I mean, who wouldn’t love talking, filming and answering questions about meat processing all day!

    New Products

    The Talsa K50 Bowl Chopper and the Talsa K80 Bowl Chopper are two brand new choppers from Talsa. These are large commercial pieces of equipment that allow you to do everything from a rough chop to an emulsification of your meat products. Either of these machines will work on everything from pulled pork to hot dogs!

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