Advantages to leaving the turkey whole?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by scooper, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    What are the advantages of leaving the bird whole besides presentation at the table?  For smoking it can only be stuffed with loose aromatic veggies, fruits and herbs.  If it is brined, there is already a lot of flavor in there.

    I have read so many posts where the breast cooks faster than the dark meat when the bird is smoked whole.  In my mind, logic tells be that this could be avoided by cutting the bird into separate drums, thighs, wings, and breast, leaving the breast whole and still attached to the breast bone.

    In my years in the restaurant biz, we always separated the bird parts.  We ended up with moist breast meat, and dark meat that was easy to deal with.

    This will be my first turkey smoke.  I separated mine before brining, and bought extra drums, thighs and wings for experimental spice rubs.

    I am curious as to what you all have to say about leaving it whole as opposed to separating it.


  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don't do whole chickens or turkeys very often for the reasons you mention. When I do, I always do beer can style & they are always moist & tender. We like thighs around here, so that's what we usually smoke.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Try putting a bag of ice on the breast region for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on size of bird. This will chill the breast and then all of bird will get done at same time.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I separate the Leg and Breast by making a diagonal cut thru the soft breast muscle from the point of the Keel bone , over top of the Legs, to the middle of the Spine. Half the spine holds the legs together and half still attached to the breast...I start the Smoke/Roast at 225...Leg section only...for 1 hour, then add the Breast to the works and complete the Cooking until  Breast IT 165*F.... the Thigh IT is always 175-180*F by then...Money!...The cool thing is IF you want the Show...The bird goes Back Together....JJ
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Another great tip from JJ!
  6. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    That's awesome, JJ!

    Flash, I would have to go buy a bag of ice for that.  My dispenser only makes enough for my evening's rum.  [​IMG]  

    Thanks for the tip, though.

    Al, I will do a beer can sometime soon.  I have done them in the Weber and oven, just not in the smoker yet.
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Now you know why I bought a portable Ice Maker. [​IMG]
  8. scooper

    scooper Smoking Fanatic

    Another great idea.  I love you guys! 
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We always cut ours up in the kitchen, and put in a couple serving platters before taking to the Dining Rm Table, so at any of my extended family's homes, there is no reason that I know of, to keep it whole.


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