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Masterbuilt Elite Cooked 20lb Turkey in 4 hours?!?! @275°F???

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 


Hi all I’m very new to smoking and learning new things every time I smoke so be easy on me!


Degrees are in Fahrenheit unless otherwise specified.


Shorter version at the bottom!


  For Thanksgiving I wanted to smoke a turkey, I had originally planned on cutting the bird into parts and smoking it, but it turns out the bird fit, just barley but it fit. . . I was surprised.


  The MB Elite I’m using has a max temp of 275° so I had planned on smoking the bird for around 3-3.5 hours and finishing it off in the oven if the internal temp was not above 140°. So here is what I did and maybe some of you can correct me where I went wrong?


I brined the bird for around 11ish hours, I followed a recipe online that called for 1 gallon of water, 1 pound kosher salt, 1 pound honey, and 2 quarts Vegetable broth. I dumped it all in a cooler and mixed till dissolved, I then tossed in 15lbs of ice and placed the bird breast side down.




I did a bunch of reading on smoking turkeys and I fully expected this thing to take around 8ish hours to cook. I read several posts and blogs on how it’s not possible to safely smoke a 20lb bird at 225° because the internal temp would not pass 140° by the 4 hour mark. So I cranked my little MB up to 275° and planned on finishing it off in the oven at 375°.


  So I pulled the bird out of the brine at 3:30AM and rinsed it really well with cold water. I then applied the rub. I first separated the skin at the bottom of the breast and worked the rub under the skin all over the breast, after that I applied a light coat of olive oil and applied the rub all over the skin. It looked great going into the smoker!!! I did not stuff the bird with anything.




The smoker had been preheating to 275° for about an hour and was to temp. I placed the bird in the smoker and did NOT probe it, and inserted my soaked woodchips. The cold turkey combined with 35° outside temps quickly dropped the smokers temp to 100° and I started to worry a little so I continued to monitor it, and I’m glad I did. About 5 minutes into the smoke the whole unit just shut off!!! I reset the unit and monitored for about an hour and everything seemed good.


  Well my alarm went off at the 3.5 hour mark and so I headed out there to check it out. I pop open the smoker and see a not so pretty bird. . . I’m using a digital thermometer, not the inaccurate one that’s built into the unit. . .  Mistake #1, I probed the leg first (several times, both sides) and see 180° and freak out, I then probe the breast in a few places and its 165° - 170°, I didn’t actually probe the thigh!!!




[Short version]

  I brined the bird for 11 hours, smoker was preheated to its MAX temp of 275°, the  bird was placed in the smoker at 3:45 and by 7:45 the breast temps were 165° - 170°, what went wrong?!?!?! [/Short version]



The bird tasted great and was moist, I'm pretty sure the brine saved me from a dry bird. I’m smoking another because I didn’t have any leftovers from out family thanksgiving but want to correct the errors this time around. . .

Edited by Max78 - 12/1/15 at 10:17am
post #2 of 2

Glad the bird tasted great because that is one bird for the memory book! 

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