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Turkey Time!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm doing a Thanksgiving "test run" on Tuesday. I'm trying to decide what time to put the bird into the smoker to have it ready to serve by 6:00. The bird is 12.5 lbs.

I'm going to be smoking at about 275°. Even though I'm going to go by breast and thigh temperature, is there a "minutes-per-pound" rule of thumb that will help me gauge when to start smoking the bird?

Thanks!
post #2 of 12

Can you smoke a little hotter? If you can get the temp into the 300's, then you can just go by normal turkey baking guidelines. Your bird will be in long enough to get a good smoke on it. Bottom line is needs to get from 40-140 in under four hours..

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pit 4 Brains View Post

Can you smoke a little hotter? If you can get the temp into the 300's, then you can just go by normal turkey baking guidelines. Your bird will be in long enough to get a good smoke on it. Bottom line is needs to get from 40-140 in under four hours..


Pit: The recipe I'm using calls for 275.  At that temp, what would your guess be to get a 12.5 lb bird to 160 in the breast and 170 in the thigh?

 

Thanks!

post #4 of 12

I've done many 12-14 pound turkeys at lower temps around 235 and none have taken over 8 hours. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinL View Post

I've done many 12-14 pound turkeys at lower temps around 235 and none have taken over 8 hours. 


Austin: So if I'm cooking at 275, it sounds like a 12 pound bird would be done in 4-5 hours or so...at the most! Would you agree?

 

Thanks!

post #6 of 12

This time estimate will certainly get you in the ballpark.  However, I will offer this piece of advice from 5 years of smoking the Thanksgiving bird for the family:  play it safe and start the bird 1 or two hours before you think it will get done.  One of two things will happen:

 

(1) The bird stalls for some reason, the weather gods mess with you, or something to this effect (I speak from experience here).  The extra time you gave yourself will help you keep panic at bay as the guests start looking at their watches wondering when dinner is finally going to be served. 

 

(2) Everything goes according to plan and the bird finishes 1 or 2 hours early.  No worries, it's all good.  I learned from this forum that if you double wrap the bird (or whatever meat you are smoking) in aluminum foil, then wrap it in one or two towels and place the whole thing in a cooler, it will keep hot for a remarkably long time (I've gone several hours in the cooler and it was still hot to the touch).  You carve on time and everyone is happy.  This has the added advantage of allowing the juices to redistribute making the bird even juicer!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xutfuzzy View Post

This time estimate will certainly get you in the ballpark.  However, I will offer this piece of advice from 5 years of smoking the Thanksgiving bird for the family:  play it safe and start the bird 1 or two hours before you think it will get done.  One of two things will happen:

 

(1) The bird stalls for some reason, the weather gods mess with you, or something to this effect (I speak from experience here).  The extra time you gave yourself will help you keep panic at bay as the guests start looking at their watches wondering when dinner is finally going to be served. 

 

(2) Everything goes according to plan and the bird finishes 1 or 2 hours early.  No worries, it's all good.  I learned from this forum that if you double wrap the bird (or whatever meat you are smoking) in aluminum foil, then wrap it in one or two towels and place the whole thing in a cooler, it will keep hot for a remarkably long time (I've gone several hours in the cooler and it was still hot to the touch).  You carve on time and everyone is happy.  This has the added advantage of allowing the juices to redistribute making the bird even juicer!

 

I think I'm going to fire-up the smoker at noon, with the intent to have the bird smoking before 1:00. That will give me 5 hours. I'm using a "Turkey Cannon," and they're reputed to speed-up cooking time. As you said, if it's done early I'll wrap and keep it warm. My only concern is that if I keep it in a cooler while wrapped for too long, what I hope will be crispy skin will get a bit soggy.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalQ View Post

 

I think I'm going to fire-up the smoker at noon, with the intent to have the bird smoking before 1:00. That will give me 5 hours. I'm using a "Turkey Cannon," and they're reputed to speed-up cooking time. As you said, if it's done early I'll wrap and keep it warm. My only concern is that if I keep it in a cooler while wrapped for too long, what I hope will be crispy skin will get a bit soggy.

Wrapped in foil the skin WILL get soft and soggy from the steam...But...A 15-20 minute reheat in a 450-500*F oven will crisp it back up without over cooking the meat...JJ

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

Wrapped in foil the skin WILL get soft and soggy from the steam...But...A 15-20 minute reheat in a 450-500*F oven will crisp it back up without over cooking the meat...JJ


Thanks for the tip!!

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalQ View Post


Thanks for the tip!!

No problem, just don't leave it unattended. You don't want Sugar from the Brine or anything else to burn...JJ

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by xutfuzzy View Post

This time estimate will certainly get you in the ballpark.  However, I will offer this piece of advice from 5 years of smoking the Thanksgiving bird for the family:  play it safe and start the bird 1 or two hours before you think it will get done.  One of two things will happen:

 

(1) The bird stalls for some reason, the weather gods mess with you, or something to this effect (I speak from experience here).  The extra time you gave yourself will help you keep panic at bay as the guests start looking at their watches wondering when dinner is finally going to be served. 

 

(2) Everything goes according to plan and the bird finishes 1 or 2 hours early.  No worries, it's all good.  I learned from this forum that if you double wrap the bird (or whatever meat you are smoking) in aluminum foil, then wrap it in one or two towels and place the whole thing in a cooler, it will keep hot for a remarkably long time (I've gone several hours in the cooler and it was still hot to the touch).  You carve on time and everyone is happy.  This has the added advantage of allowing the juices to redistribute making the bird even juicer!


Thanks for the cooler tip. It worked perfectly!

post #12 of 12

John McLemore at Dadgumthat'sgood.com says turkey will take 18 minutes/lb. at 275. But I'm still gonna give myself some leeway.

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