Whole turkey smoking HELP needed

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tcofer, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. tcofer

    tcofer Newbie

    Hello all,

    I have a 13lb turkey left over from Thanksgiving that never got cooked. It's been sitting in my freezer so I'm ready to give it a shot. I have a food saver so what doesn't get eaten will be stored for later. I have a Weber Smokey Mountain and a Chargriller Kamado Kooker; both of these I use frequently and feel comfortable cooking on. I do feel that a 13lb bird in my WSM would take a long time.....Should I cook this bird in my Kamado Kooker at higher temps? I plan to cook until internal temps are 165 but what temps should I cook/smoke this meat on and which device would be best for me? please include a general cooking times so I cal ball park it as well. Any input would be greatly appreciated!!.
  2. bear bait

    bear bait Newbie

    I smoked a 20 lb Butterball turkey at New Years.  I did not brine it, was afraid I would run out of time.  Smoked at 250  and it only took about 3 hrs and 45 minutes  total.  I used a Masterbuilt electric.  I injected the turkey with Cajan Butter, oiled and sprinkled my Chicken rub and used cherry.  I smoked it breast up the entire time and I did wrap the leg ends and wing ends with foil. 

    The drippings turned into gravy.  Fantastic. 

    I don't have any experience with the smokers that you have.  I have smoked turkeys in the past, like chicken it does not take long at all.  No low and slow with birds.

    Good luck and good eaten!!
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I smoke poultry hot. 300-350. I also spatch them.
  4. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I like to smoke turkeys in the 275-300* range, with a bump during the last half hour to 325-350* so the skin gets nice and crispy. A rule of thumb I use for time estimate is about 20-30 minutes cook time per pound. That's only a guess...with poultry I keep close tabs on the IT of the breast and thigh.

    I'd say you could get good results with either of your cookers...they'll certainly both do the job. Use the one you're more comfortable with.

    Good luck! Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am the fly in the ointment. I have used both high and low. The high is nice because you get that dry crisp skin. The low is nice because on a large bird I find that the breast seems to be tuff when smoking high. I know, I know, its just me, it must be, but I like to low and slow nearly everything. I am just old school what can I say. You know when you low and slow a turkey, all those tendon/ligaments in the leg will just pull right out? Besides I get to smell that sweet pecan smoke longer..... That's enough reason alone.

    Its not like I have to split the wood anymore, its just another hand full of pellets. I don't get dirty, I would use the electric. With a remote sensor Its not like I have to tend or watch the "smoke house".

    Basically there is no definitive answer to your question. You should be glad, this means you'll just have to try what you think best and then try the other way on the next bird. Its a win/win anyway you look at it. The only way to make a bad bird is to cook it dry from too high an internal. I think we all agree that 165 internal temperature is the magic number.

    This is my last turkey, hot and fast....LOL 275 degrees. For me that hot and fast these days.

    The tendon's didn't release, but it has crisp skin.

    You just can't lose unless the cooker gets away from you, and I am a thinkin you sound pretty competent.

    PS:: when I low and slow, I generally inject and smoke at about 210. I just don't get in a hurry anymore, not like I used to. Now I am getting more and more into just sprinkling salt and pepper, and sticking some aromatic in the cavity. The birds don't need moisture and unless you're just bored They taste pretty good when they just taste like turkeys.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  6. dutch

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

    Tcofer-You have been given some great advice. I too would spatchcock the bird and smoke it in the 275°-300° range.
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You've gotten lots of great advice already. If it were me, I think I'd crank the WSM up to 300˚ or so. I'd also brine and inject, and give it an 18-24 hour nap after the brine uncovered in the bottom of the fridge to let the skin dry out. You're probably looking at 4-5 hours at 275˚-300˚.
    I'm thinking you may want to check either your watch or your smoker temps. At 250˚ your 20lb bird should have taken a LOT longer than 3:45. Like almost double.
  8. tcofer

    tcofer Newbie

    Wow, thanks for the input everyone!! I have never spatched before so I will try that. Looks like I will brine it and let it sit until Its ready for the WSM. Seems the general consensus is 275-325 so I will most likely cook in that range. Ill let you all know how she turns out tomorrow evening!
  9. bear bait

    bear bait Newbie

    I agree, it should take longer--but I have checked the smoker, it is about right on and using a remote therm also.  The first time I did one I couldn't believe it didn't take longer.  And, the final test-eating-perfect????
  10. tcofer

    tcofer Newbie

    Lets see how she turns out! (Brined it for a day in brown sugar/salt and put a little bit of Stubbs poultry rub and pepper on it) First turkey and first time spatching
  11. Keep the pictures coming..
  12. tcofer

    tcofer Newbie

    Here's the last picture I took of it before she came off. It was amazing and turned out better than expected!! I may have been nominated to do this for Thanksgiving. Thanks everybody for your advice
  13. bear bait

    bear bait Newbie

    What was your smoking temp and how long did it take??
  14. tcofer

    tcofer Newbie

    It stayed mostly around 300 for about 4 hours
  15. bear bait

    bear bait Newbie

    Thanks, looks great-send me a drumstick??  Good job.
  16. jgorm

    jgorm Newbie

    I've been smoking 2 turkeys for each thanksgiving for many years now.  I've done all this in my cheap brickman coal smoker (dont buy one).  I do 8 hours at about 200-225.  I cover the turkey with about a pound of bacon.  I usually smoke a pork loin covered in bacon on the top rack to drip juice on the bird.  I used to brine them, but i skipped it last time and didn't know the difference.  I never smoke more than a 14lb bird. I've had lots of 'best turkey I've ever had" comments. 
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a good looking Bird, congrats!
  18. bear bait

    bear bait Newbie

    Normally I smoke a smaller than 20 lb turkey, my bride bought this one.  Worked out just fine though.  I think in the future I will stick with the smaller bird as usual.  But for .59 per pound it was a good deal.
  19. billyj571

    billyj571 Smoking Fanatic

    Awesome lookin bird
  20. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    iam also a 275 for poultry man....gotta give it the cajun suntan( rub it with butter or oil) for the nice crispy skin

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