Smokin a turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by brewtoomuch, May 26, 2010.

  1. brewtoomuch

    brewtoomuch Newbie

    Can I smoke a 20 lb. turkey or is it to large.  I think I read no bigger than 13-14 lbs. or else it is not safe.  Any help would be great, thanks.
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The problem with a large bird is getting it out of the danger zone (40°-140°) in less than 4 hours. You need to have the internal temp at least 140° in that time to be in the safe zone. I don't think a big bird will heat-up that quick.
  3. mythmaster

    mythmaster Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Depending on what kind of smoker you have, you might be able to get the temps up to roasting or baking levels to begin with in order to get through the danger zone, then drop them back down to smoking temps (225-ish) to finish it off.
  4. ecodork

    ecodork Fire Starter

    Maybe try quartering the bird?
  5. brewtoomuch

    brewtoomuch Newbie

    I have a propane smoker so I guess I could start hotter than cool down for the long haul.
  6. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thats what I would do to get past danger zone
  7. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoked up to 22 lb birds w/o a problem in the Weber kettle with the indirect method.  Don't stuff the bird.  beautiful smoke ring, no sick loved ones!  I believe that bird took close to 5 hours, if memory serves me....  I would not hesitate to smoke in a gasser where temp is easy to control & maintain.  Treat it just like you would your oven when it comes to temps; just add the wood for the smoke.
  8. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. ecodork

    ecodork Fire Starter

    I have a gasser too and think adiochiro3's got the right idea....but still 22 pounds is huge.  Maybe butterfly the bird?  Last few times I did turkey I got parts instead of a whole bird and it was much, much easier to deal with.  EZ to brine and smoking time was a fraction of doing a whole bird.  And you can take the various parts off when done instead of having to time the whole thing just right.  Of course you loose the whole "Thanksgiving presentation" aspect, but that doesn't bother me too much.
  10. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    There are two ways to deal with a bird that size. Personally I use high heat for all my poultry smokes. I smoke at 325-350 the entire smoke and get a nice crispy skin. The other thing you could do is spatchcock the bird basically cut the backbone out and lay the bird flat
  11. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with Pineywoods on this one and if you spatchcock the Turkey you should be able to get the bird to heat up quite enough I think. I always keep my smoked birds to around 12lbs or so.

Share This Page