Making a turkey for Easter.. need some tips.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mikes30911, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    I am making my first smoked turkey at easter, I was woundering if any of you have any suggestions on bird size. I was going to aim for 22 Pounds. Should I smoke the turkey stuffed or unstuffed? How long would it take to cook , how long do I need to smoke it for and how long to cook it aprox? what type of wood should I use? I will be brining it in an orange/cranberry type brine or an apple type brine. Let me know your thoughts. 

  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  3. bustintires

    bustintires Smoke Blower

    i am partiall to a 3 day soak in a basic teriyaki brine(sugar,soy sauce, ginger, garlic, pepper). i put my bird in a double garbage bag in a 5 gal bucket add water to the outside of the bag in the bucket to displace your brine kinda like a cheap seal a meal. this uses much less brine. smoke for 6 to 8 hours. finish off in a pan in the oven until you get 165-170deg. the drippings will make some super rich gravy. i ussaully cut the gravey into 3 different batches, full flavor, medium flavor and lite. best of luck.

    on another note, i just gave my new braunfels black diamond to my buddy who is a novice and today is his maiden voyage and hes doin a turkey as well[​IMG]
  4. smokinal

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

    First of all you are going to run into problems with a turkey that big. You will never be able to get it through the 40-140 zone in 4 hours. I would suggest you get 2-11 lb. turkeys or if you must use 1-22 lb turkey, the only safe way is to spatchcock it. It will get thru the zone ok then.
  5. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    I dont need to rush it in 4 hours can I not cook it for 8 hours if it is needed? Or would that be to much smoke?
  6. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    Al: , Why only 4 hours? I have all day to cook it , I planned on starting it at about 9AM , so figure 8 hours should be plenty ? I could always go with 2 birds insteed of 1, if thats what you think is best thats what I will do. 
  7. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ditto on what Al must get from 40 to 140 degrees in 4 hours or under. A big bird will never make it. Also, NEVER smoke a stuffed bird...make the stuffing on the side. I don't stuff a bird anymore even if doing it in the oven. Here's a link on the rule....  . Did a 12 pounder a few months back....took about 6 hours at 325....  . It would be best and safer to go with 2 birds. Type in smoked turkey in the handy dandy search bar for lots of of luck with the smoke
  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Al is talking about is referred to as "The Danger Zone" Your meat needs to get from 40degrees to 140 degrees within 4 hours otherwise you run the risk of any bacteria in your meat getting people sick. A bird that size is risky unless you crank the heat up well over 300 or spatchcock it otherwise you will be in the danger zone for well over 4 hours.
  9. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    To be safe I would get 2 11 lb ones and still smoke at 300 in order to get crispy skin.
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Al & Willie & Ross said.

    Or what RdKnB said.

  11. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    Thanks for all the imput guys, since this is my frist time and I would rather not get my whole family sick i have quite the large gathering showing up.. I'm going to go with a 20LB bird for the oven and a 13 to 15 LB bird for the smoker set the temp at 275 or 300? . I was going to use cherry & apple wood 1/2 and 1/2 of each. The brine is as follows and I've used it several times for my oven birds tasted great. Just hope that the smoke wont make it taste funny. 

    1Quart Orange Juice

    1Quart Cranberry Juice

    1/2 cup of honnney

    1 cup brown sugar

    3TBS coriander seeds

    3TBS fennel seeds

    6 Cinimon sticks

    1/2 cup salt

    1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger

    3 Anise stars

    4 whole cloves

    1 bunch of celantro ( optional)



    Rub - Brown sugar, Cayeen peper, smoked paprika, salt , pepper , fresh sage, fresh tyme , crushed coriander, dried oregano ( I should probably leave out the smoked prapika on the smoked bird ?) 

    I bring this to a boil, let it cool throw it in the basting bucket , add the ice , throw in the bird(s) and let them brine for about 48 hours. It usualy tastes great in the oven with my cranberry sausage stuffing , just hoping that this brine with the cherry/apple wood will taste well together. 
  12. smokinal

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

    Your really pushing the limit with a 15lb bird even at 300. The 40-140 rule MUST be followed. I would keep the size at 12lb or less. Good luck & let us know how it turns out, with Q-view of course.
  13. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    Thanks AL,  I"ll be posting the pics! One other question how many hours per pound should it take to finish a 12pound bird off? 
  14. smokinal

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

    Your probably looking at around 5 to 6 hours. This is just an estimate. It must be cooked to temp not time.
  15. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mike, what Al is refering to is 5-6 hours total time and not 5-6 hours per pound. When I smoke a turkey, it's a usually a 12 pounder, I smoke it at 270° for about 3 hours and then kick the temp up to 300° to crisp up the skin. And like Al said go by temp and not time.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  16. smokinal

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

    Thanks Dutch! I guess I should have been more specific!
  17. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    Good luck with the smoke
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks a lot Al !!!   [​IMG]

    I was planning to put a 12 pounder in on Thursday, so it would be ready for Sunday's Easter Dinner!

    Back to the drawing board!

  19. smokinal

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

    I think that's a great idea Bear. I can't wait to see the Q-view!

  20. mikes30911

    mikes30911 Newbie

    Hey guys i just realized my bradley smoker only goes up to about 250 degrees.. is this going to be a problem for my small 12 pound bird?  I could start it in my regular gas BBQ with no smoke to get from 40 to 140 in 4 hours then finish it off in the smoker for a few hours.. i'm all confused now.. I did not realize this Bradley Smoker is not strong enough.. 

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